The Somatic Performer

Erika Berland

Rose Bruford College, London, England

Date and Time

July 6-10 2020


This workshop is an introduction to the Experiential Anatomy material of Body Mind Centering(BMC)® and Developmental Technique™ as a foundation for both movement and psychophysical research applied to performance. The workshop will offer research tools to identify and choreograph from these somatic sources and to map somatic imagery and developmental states to text, character or situation. Participants will be encouraged to apply the somatic material during the workshop by generating small choreographic or acting/devising studies, or to investigate mixing choreography with physical states of acting depending on interest and background.

As an introduction, the workshop will identify the 6 anatomical systems—skeletal, muscular, organ, gland(endocrine), fluid, nervous—and the basic developmental vocabulary of locomotion from prone and supine pre-spinal to vertical bipedal. Over the course of the workshop, we will apply the tools of breath, sound and movement as the means to more deeply research one or more of the anatomical systems and integrate the experiential anatomy work into the developmental patterns.    

Intructor's Bio

Erika Berland, is a founding faculty and co-creator of the unique movement curriculum of the MFA Theater: Contemporary Performance Program at Naropa University. She has been in the forefront of creating new techniques and applications of Bonnie Cohen’s ground breaking work (Body Mind Centering®), and post-modern dance techniques in the service of a new aesthetic—fully integrating psycho-physical sources of the actor, and clarity of form, and articulation of the dancer. Erika was instrumental in the development of the first application of movement analysis to fitness training at Sports Training Institute and Plus One Fitness in NYC where among her many clients were, Robin Williams, Kevin Kline, Joel Grey and Glenn Close.  An early student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the meditation master and founder of Naropa University, and longtime teacher of meditation, Erika has researched the integration of meditation practice and view in the Buddhist tradition with performance techniques and holistic support for the performer. She is a Certified Practitioner of Body-Mind Centering® , Licensed Massage Therapist, and  Registered Movement Therapist Her publications include chapters on performance training in Movement for Actors, 2nd ed. (Allworth Press 2017) and Physical Dramaturgy (Routledge Press 2018). Her first book, Sitting: The Physical Art of Meditation, was published in 2017.

ekberland [at] gmail [dot] com