Practices. Protocols. Approaches. Techniques. These are the words movement pioneers reach for when they are trying to describe what they do. Coining a term for a new method gives you the right to teach it your way. Persona. Panache. Mojo. Mystique. We use these terms to grasp at the essence of a mentor’s soul. When enough people label a person remarkable, a reputation is earned. Modalities is the catch-all word we use to describe the genre. Some are amorphous processes that invite improvised facilitation, while others have specific moves or techniques that can be codified, memorized, and taught.
This is a living, working document. Please post comments, corrections and additions below.
AcroYoga A blend of yoga, acrobatics, and Thai massage conceived by Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer Klein. A practice of trust and playfulness popular at ecstatic dances.
Action Theater Improvisational theater training and performance method founded by Ruth Zaporah. Embodied exercises lead to sponta- neous and artful communication.
Afro-Energy Dance Well-established in Taiwan, this form created by Chandra Barbagallo is an ecstatic blend of drumming, dancing, and group energy work.
AfroFlow Yoga Debbie Steingesser’s union of Hatha yoga and traditional West African dance. An exploration of self through dance, live drumming, chanting, and meditation.
Alexander Technique Australian actor F.M. Alexander developed this technique for creating balance in the relationship between neck and head. A simple and practical method that changes everyday habits to improve freedom of movement.
Alivemotion Rhonda Clarke’s programs and concerts awaken and heal through dance and music. Based in Alberta, Canada, with programs that include children and teens.
Aston Kinetics Forms of movement, bodywork, and fitness developed by somatic pioneer Judith Aston. Includes education for daily activities and specialized trainings in Pilates, yoga, golf, music, and more.
Authentic Movement A self-directed form developed by dance therapy pioneer Mary Starks Whitehouse in the 1950s. Involves gaining access and giving creative expression to the inner life through movement, drawing, processing, and witnessing.
Azul A path of personal transformation and conscious movement practice created by Amara Pagano. Azul harnesses the body’s intelligence to facilitate inner healing and evolution and utilizes movement combined with a psycho-spiritual approach as a vehicle for exploration.
Bar Method A body sculpting workout regimen created by former journalist Burr Leonard. Based on the pioneering work of Lotte Berk.
Bartenieff Fundamentals An extension of Laban Movement Analysis developed by Irmgard Bartenieff. Exercises that apply Laban’s movement theory to the functioning of the human body in motion.
BeachDance Synchronized iPods are the key to this ecstatic dance innovation led by Lisa Evans on the shores of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Free dancing in sand, sun, and surf to playlists provided in advance.
Bellyfit A fusion-fitness experience created by Vancouver-based Alice Bracegirdle that embrace elements of Pilates, yoga, and meditation practices. Combines Western style cardio with dances from India, Asia, and Africa.
Bikram Yoga Also known as “hot yoga,” the system developed by Bikram Choudhury is practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees. A strenuous practice of 26 standardized postures.
Biodanza In encountering yourself and others through movement, dance, physical contact, and sharing, Biodanza classes have strong spiritual and emotional components, designed to heighten the experience of being alive in the here and now. Created by Rolando Toro Araneda.
Body-Mind Centering An influential process of creative embodiment developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. Hands-on re-patterning and movement education principles are complementary to virtually any movement modality.
Body NVC A movement and awareness technique in which the body’s spontaneous movements are connected to feelings and desires. Based on Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication work during the Civil Rights Movement.
Body of Sound A playful journey into rhythm, voice, and movement developed by San Francisco based Alyssa de Caro. Elements of body percussion, vocal toning, Contact Improvisation, and Balinese kecak (monkey chants) are used.
Body Tales The work of Olivia Corson and Lysa Castro evokes meaningful personal stories through intuitive movement, spoken word, and supportive witnessing.
Boogie Box Fitness Created by dancer and choreographer Dede Barbantí, this is an intense workout for athletic training.
Breath Experience Middendorf breath work is a gentle somatic practice that develops the theme of letting the breath come and go on its own accord.
Breema A protocol of over 300 self and partner exercises that bear resemblance to both Thai massage and Contact Improvisation. Jon Schreiber’s system of nine principles of harmony applies to all aspects of life.
Chakradance Australians Natalie Southgate and Douglas Channing use music and high-energy dance as the energetic gateway to the seven major chakras of the body.
Concréa Co-created by Antje Martina Schaeffer and Wren LaFeet in 2013, Cocréa is an improvisational form of partner dance designed to support participants in developing presence, opening to creativity and generating authentic relationship and to empower mindful leaders and followers in community.
Conscious Movement Holistic package offered by fitness giant Equinox. Includes diverse modules such as Inten-Sati, Budokan, Animal Moves, and Power-Nap.
Contact Improvisation This internationally practiced open source modality was originated by Steve Paxton and Nancy Stark-Smith.
Continuum Emilie Conrad founded Continuum in 1967, based on the idea that in the process of activating our fluid intelligence, it is possible to live more vibrant lives.
Core Connexion An approach to dance as movement meditation and healing art developed by mentor Eva Vigran. This innovative practice leads to creative expression from the core through connection to body, breath, and sensation.
Dance/Movement Therapy The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) defines dance/movement therapy as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual.” Although roots can be traced back to Jung’s active imagination work in 1916, Marion Chace is credited with developing the profession in the 1950s.
Dance of Liberation Blindfolds are used in the shamanic tradition to allow inner creativity to break free. Parashakti created this form to free emotional, mental, and spiritual blockages through ritual dance.
Dance Your Bliss A lighthearted approach to body-centered expressive therapy created by SF-based Rachel Fleischman. Music, movement, and vocalization complement creative art making and journaling.
DanceMeditation An integrated movement meditation system that is offered both as a personal path and a dynamic community process. Founder Dunya Dianne McPherson cultivates embodied awareness using the premise that the body is spiritual intelligence.
Dances of Universal Peace First developed by Sufi teacher Samuel Lewis as a path toward peace through the arts. Selections from a library of more than 3,000 traditional folk and circle dances from all cultures are explored at weekly gatherings worldwide.
Dancing Freedom A form of full-spectrum manifestation through movement created by West Coast facilitator Samantha Sweetwater. Soul-activating dance journeys, workshops, and retreats with music that is fresh and diverse.
Dancing with Pain Natural healing and holistic pain management through dance. Journalist and writer Loolwa Khazzoom developed this method based on the amazing results she received through dancing during her search for relief from pain.
Danyasa A flowing movement practice created by Costa Rica retreat Bamboo YogaPlay founder Sofiah Thom. Unites the rejuvenating essence of Vinyasa with the uplifting energy of dance.
DolphinDance An aquatic and sub-aquatic exploration developed by Lollia Cangemi for partners or “pods.” Nose-clips offer the safety to dive into the ecstatic three-dimensionality of the undersea dolphin universe.
Exuberant Animal Functional fitness that promotes physical happiness. Play-based exercise created by Frank Forencich.
5Rhythms Gabrielle Roth birthed an enduring metaphor at Esalen in the 1970s. The heart of the practice is looking at life as a series of waves, comprised of five basic rhythms, to be moved through.
Fire Dancing Any form of body-centered movement that involves manipulation of flaming wicks.
Feldenkrais The methods of Moshe Feldenkrais guide people of all abilities through precisely structured movement explorations. The active expression is called Awareness Through Movement.
Flow Arts A catch-all term for various spinning modalities such as Maori poi and staff work.
Groove Method Modern high-energy music workout created by Canadians Misty Tripoli and Mélanie Guertin.
Gyrotonic Expansion System Romanian ballet dancer Juliu Horvath devised this system in response to his own injuries. Gyrotonics is done on specialized equipment and Gyrokinesis takes place on mats.
Hellerwork A system of somatic education that follows Ida Rolf’s lineage of Structural Integration. Joseph Heller based his interpretation on the inseparability of body, mind, and spirit.
Hoop Dance The general term for all forms of hula hooping. Hoops are used for performance, meditation, and fitness. Teacher trainings and workshops are offered by Hoopnotica, Herohoops, Hoopgirl, and many more.
I Am Body A living full-spectrum approach to fitness arts that integrates awareness and movement created by Portland-based teacher and coach Siere Munro.
Ideokinesis Lulu Sweigart and Barbara Clark evolved the work of their teacher Mabel Elsworth Todd into this protocol popular with dance professionals. Somatic approach involves sustained mental focus on imagined actions.
Integral Transformative Practice Conceived by human potential pioneer George Leonard and Esalen Institute founder Michael Murphy, this long-term program effects positive change through a series of body-mind-spirit exercises and other daily practices.
InterPlay Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter began their collaboration in the Body and Soul dance company in 1979. Through improvisation they to translate the body’s innate wisdom through practice, play, and performance.
Jazzercize Phenomenally successful fitness format started by Judi Sheppard Missett. In 1969, this just-for-fun take on jazz has evolved to bundle in moves from hip hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz kickboxing, and resistance training.
JourneyDance A typical class journeys from prayer to celebration and includes tuning the chakras, guided imagery, affirmations, interaction, creativity and high energy dance. Founded by Toni Bergins in 1997.
Kijo A comprehensive mind-body fitness program designed by Shelly Ross. It includes interval, strength, and core training; creative and spontaneous movement; balance; alignment; and floor work.
Kinetic Awareness A guided experiential study of the fundamentals of human movement created by dancer-choreographer Elaine Summers. Relies on inflatables and is also known as The Ball Work.
Kivo Connection with the kinetic voice is the intention behind the spirited practice developed by musician-dancer Lis Addison. Ecstatic circles of heart-opening dance, movement, and rhythmic body chants.
Kundalini Dance Shamanic ritual-dance created by Australian Leyolah Antara Dekanic. Often led by facilitator-DJ duos, this deeply transformative and sometimes cathartic experience is popular in Canada and on the festival circuit.
Laban Movement Analysis A vocabulary and analytic framework for the description of human movement originally devised by Rudolf Laban. The work is applied in diverse elds such as health care, the performing arts, sports, and education.
Laughter Yoga This uproarious approach to yoga developed by the “Giggle Guru” Dr. Madan Kataria in India is an international sensation. Fans have launched over 6,000 free laughter clubs in 60 countries.
Let Your Yoga Dance An exuberant form of yoga and breath-based movement practice developed by Kripalu senior trainer Megha Nancy Buttenheim. Powerful moves in an atmosphere of levity.
Life/Art Process As a cancer survivor in the late 80s, Anna Halprin’s life and art became one when she embraced her dance practice as a healing art. Using movement and art to release blockages and foster well-being, a session may involve drawing/painting, dancing, witnessing, journaling, and dialogue. Group processes may include performance and ceremony.
LivingDance A unique approach to dance/movement therapy created by seasoned therapist Danielle Fraenkel at the Kinections center in Rochester, NY. Uses natural elements of dance for self-confidence and creative discovery.
Lomi Lomi A Hawaiian “dance of massage” originally translated to Westerners by native healer Auntie Margaret Machado. Original apprentice Tamara Conlan Mondragon carries on the tradition.
Lotte Berk Method Lydia Bach carries on the work of German ballet dancer Lotte Berk. Polyamorous before her time, Berk chose provocative names like “The French Lavatory” and “The Prostitute” for her exercises. This bar method predecessor has similarities to Pilates and yoga.
Matrix Energetics A form of energy work using somatic techniques and quantum healing frequencies developed by Dr. Richard Bartlett.
Medicine Dance The work of Fred Sugarman at UCLA explores inner-directed movement for healing. Open classes are offered, and a current academic study is focusing on the well-being of breast cancer survivors.
Nalini Method A dynamic workout with Eastern influences created by Rupa Mehta. One energetic aspect is Nalinimetrics, an active dance form.
Natural Rhythms A program for cultivating the wisdom found in the core forces of creation developed by coach and author Lisa Michaels.
Nia blends nine movement forms from dance arts, martial arts, and healing arts, in an approach aimed at changing bodies and lives through the sensations of pleasure and joy. Nia FreeDance, a sub-genre, forgoes choreography.
NurtureDance Safe connections are formed through touch with this contact-friendly form developed by Ken Martini aka DJ Deepflow.
Pilates The core fitness program of Joseph Pilates began at the turn of the century with NY City Ballet members as test subjects. Today over ten million people practice worldwide.
Prana Flow The energetic living vinyasa of yoga phenomenon Shiva Rea. Students are empowered to experience prana as the navigating source of vital living.
Psycho-Physical Therapy Movement innovator Bill Bowen’s approach to body-centered psychotherapy enhances awareness and well-being through somatic resourcing.
Pure Barre Created by dancer, choreographer, and fitness guru Carrie Rezabek. A complete full-body workout with elements of ballet, Pilates, and resistance training.
Rolfing Movement Integration The system of Ida Rolf restores structure by changing the movement habits that perpetuate imbalance. Also known as Rolfing Structural Integration.
Rosen Method Created over the course of 50 years of practice by somatic innovator Marion Rosen. Bodywork and movement aimed at creating more space for effortless breathing and graceful living.
Sensory Awareness An active mindfulness practice popularized by Charlotte Selver, who taught daily until her death at 102 in 2003. Active practitioners worldwide.
Shake Your Soul Through the mediums of music and movement, Dan Leven’s body and spirit expression teaches that the joy of dance is healing and available to all.
Shin Somatics Land to Water Yoga is a gentle practice that uses somatic principles and yoga philosophy for optimal living and healing.
Silvestre Technique Brazilian native Rosangela Silvestre’s in uential dance technique. Builds on the elements of nature and the intuition, balance, and expression of the body.
SomaSoul A body-centered dialogue with somatic/sensory awareness developed by Dan Leven. Resolves stress and trauma by synthesizing the energies of right-brain creativity with left-brain language.
Somato-respiratory Integration A protocol that combines breath, touch, and dialogue to reunite self with repressed, shamed, or forgotten areas held in the body.
Soul Motion The spiritually evocative “movement ministry” of Vinn Martí has a devoted following and is highly influential to other facilitators. A creative musical odyssey of human relations and divine dialogue.
Soul Sweat Varied choreography is coupled with diverse musical genres in Boulder-ite Chantal Pierrat’s signature fitness program.
Spiritweaves The self-proclaimed spirit child of 5Rhythms and Soul Motion. Michael and Anneli Molin-Skelton create ritual space for shape shifting in a modern, urban context.
SpiritsDancing An inspirational metaphysical workout for body and soul created by Moving Ventures founder Ellen Watson.
Surfing The Creative A seven-phased rite-of-passage process created by Boulder-based Melissa Michaels aimed at liberating the creative life force through embodiment.
TaKeTiNa Reinhard and Cornelia Flatischler created this group rhythm meditation. Beginning with simple repetitive steps, then adding claps and basic sounds, the idea is to play with the edge of entrainment and chaos, integrating the hemispheres of the brain.
Tantsu This land-based practice combines tantra and shiatsu. Developed by Watsu founder Harold Dull.
Trager Approach The somatic methods of Dr. Milton Trager include Mentastics, the movement form of Trager Psychophysical Bodywork.
Trance Dance Archaic form often done with blindfolds in a ritual setting, this deeply transformative journey is currently translated by Wilbert Alix and others.
Transdance Potent and prayer-full experience integrates elements of tribal motion, freeform jamming, and imagination. Led by Temple Arts Institute founder Heather Munro-Pierce.
Uzazu Formerly known as The 16 Ways, Dylan Newcomb’s language of energy is a somatic polarity practice aligned with the Spiral Dynamics work developed by Clare Graves.
Vivid Existence A life practice and inquiry into embodiment through dance devised by Vancouver-based therapist Leela Francis.
Waterdance Partner movement in a pool heated to body temperature. Nose plugs allow for underwater hydro-dynamic pressure release on joints and muscles.
Watsu The original form of water shiatsu created by Harbin Hot Springs teacher Harold Dull. Ultimate relaxation and release from floating and stretching in warm water.
Wowzacise The breakthrough process of Elisa Lodge. An exploration into the physiology of youthful aliveness through rolling and bouncing on yoga balls.
Yamuna Body Rolling Uses specially designed balls to elongate muscles and roll tissue. Yamuna Zake’s practice allows self-directed bodywork that follows the body’s own logic.
Yoga Booty Ballet A dynamic fusion of yoga, booty sculpting, and cardio-dance created by celebrity fitness personalities Gillian Marloth and Teigh McDonough.
Yoga Meets Dance Engaging form of moving yoga practice and philoso- phy created by Sedona-based medita- tion instructor Beth Rigby.
Yoga Trance Dance High-energy yoga/dance fusion made popular by superstar Shiva Rea.
YogaFit Founder Beth Shaw developed this yoga/fitness hybrid to appeal to every age and ability. “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
Zumba Created by Beto Perez in the 90s, Zumba’s energetic vibe, pumping music party atmosphere are all about having fun falling in love with your body.