Bartenieff Fundamentals

The Miracle Child - a 45 minute film worth watching

I urge you to take the time to watch this film. 

Why?  For one, because the story told is incredibly inspiring. 

Also, because it is an insightful look at the hard work that happens in the human body from the time when we are undifferentiated infant bodies to the time in our process when we become crawling babies and then, when possible, walking toddlers to walking adults.  Although this film is about one boy's experience, it also is a reminder that this movement stuff that most adults do every day didn't just happen by accident.  In Aiden's journey we can see the progression of skills and knowledge that are available (and important) to all of us as humans .   The exercises that these practitioners are using to help Aiden's brain and body learn are developmentally wired patterns of movement. 

As you watch the film I invite you to consider that the majority of us learned these extremely challenging skills long before we learned to talk.  Most of us learned them so early, in fact, that we don't consciously remember them and take their existence completely for granted until something - like injury or aging - forces us to pay attention.  The fundamental and foundational aspects  of our daily complex movement is usually invisible to most of us. And yet, as this film shows, they are still accessible to us to explore and learn from long after our first few years.

This film is such an awesome look into the relationship between physical movement and mental health, and the process of change.  Aiden starts from a place of significant movement deficit but with steady, titrated, personalized movement support and practice (and full support and belief by his mama), he transforms over the period of two years  He not only changes how he moves but also who he is!  I am in awe of the physical changes he makes, but even more I am inspired by how his engagement with life, with the world around him, is transformed.  As he is able to access more complex movements, he becomes more actively connected to the Outer world and as he becomes more engaged, he is able to physically move more freely!  A beautiful example of how Function and Expression in movement enliven and support one another!

It was affirming for me to stumble across this film and then to see in it parts of the work (Bartenieff Fundamentals BF) that I offer. In the film the practitioners are incorporating BF and the concepts of Laban Movement Analysis to support Aiden's re-patterning.  It reminds me to never lose sight of the bravery of those individuals with a wide range of challenging limitations who trust me to support them as they explore moving themselves more freely. 

Often, when people first talk to me about their impressions of my work as a somatic movement educator they, for the most part, focus on physical movement solely.   And my work does involve the physical action of movement; however, it is this enhancing people's engagement-with-life piece that is the core motivation for the workshops and private work that I do.   When I say that I offer somatic movement education to support you in moving with more integration and ease, I am not just talking about your physical movement. I am talking about the act of living life more fully through conscious, active embodiment!  As a somatic movement educator I am offering the opportunity for any curious, interested person at any age to safely explore new ways of moving and being, within themselves and in relationship with the world and other humans.   Because of this I am grateful and inspired by the work done being done by the somatic practitioners at the Spiral Movement Center.   I am honored and thrilled to be part of such an awesome profession!


The Practice of Finding Safety Within and of Reaching Out with Confidence

When we use phrases like "going within," "getting in touch with myself," and "reaching out for help" we are cognitively calling on physical actions that are supported by the Bartenieff Fundamentals, especially the use of Developmental Progression and Connectivity.  Developmental Progression is one of the twelve basic Bartenieff Principles of dynamic movement.  It is the series of basic movement patterns established within your body through stage-specific developmental sequencing from conception until about two years of age.  

These patterns of this early life development are then access by all human movers throughout the entirety of their life span:  the adult version of these early development skills are called
Patterns of Total Connectivity.   These Patterns of Connectivity are an active component of all that I share in my somatic movement work, whether I explicitly talk about them or not!

When we use phrases about getting in touch with ourselves or reaching out to another we are more specifically cognitively calling on our physical inner wisdom that is supported by the Pattern of Total Connectivity called Core Distal or Navel Radiation.  This pattern develops early in the womb and builds on the growing/shrinking foundational pattern of Breath, our very first developmental building block of movement!


Physically, Core-Distal is the pattern that supports us in moving toward the Core or Navel area of our bodies as well as in radiating outward to the farthest reaches of our Distal points of fingers, toes, tail and head.  Our ability to withdraw into ourselves and to extend to the farthest limits of our personal space is dependent on this early pattern.

Psychologically, Core-Distal is the developmental and connectivity pattern that supports us in safely going within and claiming our sense of self.  It is the skill of safely and comfortably going within that allows us to more confidently find connection with and move out into the Outer world.

Enhancing your skills of consciously moving with your Breath and Core-Distal Patterns of Connectivity supports you to more fully and resiliently move in all your more-complex activities of daily living!


Recently I have had several wonderful opportunities to introduce and explore the Breath and Core-Distal Patterns of Connectivity with folks at the Heart, Body and Soul Mindful Move Groove class,  in my monthly Movement Fundamentals workshop, as well as with some of my private clients In both the clinical and in the somatic education settings.  This blog post is my way of supporting the home exploration and practice experience of those who have moved with me recently as well as introducing this basic and yet powerful movement concept to those who didn't have a chance to be a part of one of these sessions.

To support your understanding of this pattern, I offer three videos.

In this first video she gives a brief explanation and then she moves the basic action of Core-Distal movement.

In this second video the dancer uses the Core-Distal pattern as his inspiration to create a series of complex movement phrases.

In this final video we have the opportunity to see several different young dancers exploring and sharing their perspective of moving with the Core-Distal Pattern of Connectivity (which they call Navel Radiation) as well as moving the other more complex patterns in the developmental sequence.

I hope that these videos are helpful to inform your understanding of this small basic part of the more dynamic and encompassing Principles of the Bartenieff Fundamentals.  I also hope that they inspire you to move yourself more consciously, whether with my support or otherwise!

As you move, I invite you to ask yourself:  do I move from my Core, or is my movement usually initiated by my appendages and/or, possibly, things outside of my Self? 

I wish for you, in all ways, to move so that you can Live Life More Fully!

If you have questions or comments, please share below or email me.  I look forward to moving with you in some way very soon!