Workshops & Lectures

The Workshops (Thu and Fri)

Workhop 1:
Ritual 2.0 – Embodiments of the collective in dance / movement therapy
Fabian Chyle

Throughout the entire life cycle, humans learn and develop on the basis of movement sequences. These ‘choreographies’ are inscribed, learned, passed on and can be understood as performative acts that regulate every form of interaction and being together. In this respect, these choreographies always order and generate processes of communitarizing. In ‘Ritual 2.0’, we will investigate, on the basis of embryological movement patterns and methods from dance therapy, how inscribed choreographic processes can serve as communal vessels for personal and collective transitions and support development and transformation.

Workshop 2:
Into the Blue: Challenges and possibilities of dramatherapy in times of climate change
Bonnie Harnden

This workshop will present current research on awe and gratitude and demonstrate how, when harnessed, they have the capacity to heal our nervous systems, and promote health and wellness throughout our lives. They are positive emotions and emotions that provoke action. When harnessed through drama therapy, they help us mobilize into action and engagement. Through this we can move out of states of freeze and disengagement and work to address climate change and to develop sustainability inside and out. As we heal our nervous systems and our bodies, in turn, we can heal the environment.

This innovative, 2-day presentation combines lecture, video, performance, and experiential group learning. Theory and research on trauma and the nervous system are presented in order to give context to the application of the research on awe and gratitude. Our planet is suffering in many different ways and we will examine how trauma keeps in in cycles of consumption, inaction and despair and how awe and gratitude can mobilize us out of these states.

Day 1 will give an overview of the nervous system and the impact of trauma, illustrated through theatrical performance and imagery as well as the direct presentation of clinical research. The use of storytelling and physical movement will help each participant come to a personal understanding of the material while having an opportunity to process reactions and to discuss the research as a group.

Day 2 will present the research on gratitude, continuing to share the material through lecture and performance. As we navigate a changing world which fills us with grief and despair we will explore how touching deeply into gratitude and awe are the counterpoints and solutions. Together, we will assemble a toolkit of resources and activities that are available for participants to apply directly to personal and clinical practice.

Workshop 3:
Systemic Nature Therapy: Healing embodiment of the connection between human and nature
Astrid Habiba Kreszmeier

Through constellation work, mythodrama and nature experiences, I invite you on a research journey to the history of humanity and its connectedness to earth, its landscapes and elements. We begin with the questions that arise here and now, travel through myths of written culture to early mythical forms of oral culture and on to the pre-linguistic and yet so rich forms of mimesis: facial expressions, gestures, body and sound language. With a little luck, we can sense and remember images from the unhurt spaces of human history, which give so important impulses for our living together until today: for a joyful, meaningful living together with ourselves, with other people in the world made by us, and above all: with the world of the given, constantly becoming nature.

In other words, these two days will introduce the nature dialogue approach and show practical ways to expand our self-image and community image beyond the human world, and to encounter life and the world in it soulfulness.

Workshop 4
Trance Phenomena in Ritual & Healing: “Dry brains don’t fall into trance”
Ingrid Lutz

This workshop is based on the results of decades of research into the nature and structure of the connection between ritual and healing and how it can be made usable for ‘modern’ drama therapy. The approach presented here understands the development of rituals as a human capacity, physiologically anchored in body knowledge and used for thousands of years, to provide collective structures for transitions that fulfill 2 functions at the same time:

  1. They provide a structure for leaving something behind, completing a ‘form’, and bearing the void in which the old is no longer and the new is not yet there– they make it possible to face the frightening unknown and doing so not to freeze in a fear reaction, but to remain able to act and live. They thus create an essential prerequisite for (further) development.
  2. At the same time, they have the task of ensuring that personal and collective identity is maintained in crises, ruptures and disasters by establishing connections both on the horizontal level to the collective and on the vertical/transpersonal level to a larger whole.

Trance phenomena are apparently essential for rituals to be effective – they seem to be evolutionarily grounded in the human body/brain, to be able to access human potentials and inner self-healing processes in a state of widened consciousness and perception, which -for good reasons- are not accessible to ‘normal’ consciousness. ‘Normal’ consciousness is limited by family and social imprints and taboos, but existential crises are characterized precisely by the failure of previously learned coping mechanisms.

In this workshop, we will work with a variety of very simple trance-inducing methods, drawing on skills that we all had at our disposal as children – it does not require witchcraft or mystifications to dive into the knowledge of life and development processes stored in our cells and to find a living relatedness to existential topics between birth and death beyond the daily neurotic happenings in us and around us.

Workshop 5:
Ritual Actions & the Body Energy Centres
Ryszard Nieoczym

‘Ritual Actions’ has been a research project for over 30 years asking one fundamental question: is it possible to create Rituals which can heal the body, mind, spirit and soul. And by soul I mean what James Hillman articulates: soul is not a substance as in traditional theology of many religions, but a function of imagination.

Today we live in a world dominated by frenetic Urban Rhythms and as a result we have lost connections with our own body’s organic rhythms, our own sources of energy.

This workshop will introduce the group into a process of Play to awaken the body centres: the whole Body in Movement, the Head Centre: imagination visualization fantasy, the Vocal, emotional and Sex Centre.

The intermingling of energies from the centres forms a River of Energy with many layers. It is essential to recognize that all feelings are just different forms of energy: anger rage joy sorrow love hate etc.

In our play process we’ll explore if the individual body centres can act as transformers of the energies which emanate from nature (trees, rivers, wind, rocks, fire) and further, if our human bodies can connect in some way to the Universal Energy that keeps the whole universe spinning and vibrating and transform it into a healing process for oneself with and for others.

Workshop 6:
Playing with archetypes: Exploring Angel, Muse and Duende as catalysts of psychological processes in dramatherapy
Susana Pendzik

The creative process holds dimensions of wisdom and multiplicity of meanings that often lead us to unique insights. Federico Garcia Lorca speaks about three forms of artistic inspiration: Angel, Muse, and Duende. Coming from above, the Angel grants, protects, and illuminates; the Muse inspires, structures and engages the intellect, creating stylishly impressive forms. The Duende challenges and dares; it comes from below, raising up from the earth, irrupting in the artist’s body through the sole of the feet, and triggering burning emotions. Although these invisible forces are external, they pass through the artist, affecting everyone present.

This workshop seeks to reinforce the connection of the participants with their Inner Artist by exploring these archetypes in the context of dramatherapeutic practice, looking at them as potential accelerators and catalysts of psychological process. Using dramatic resonances, embodied imagery, movement, text, and ritual structures, we will create a dialogue with our Inner Artist and broaden its ways of expression in ourselves and our knowledge of its therapeutic potential in our practice.

Workshop 7:
Life in death / Death in life: dramatherapy in the context of death and dying
Anna Seymour

How do we live with the many ‚deaths‘, both literal and metaphorical that we experience in life? Roger Grainger, the distinguished dramatherapy scholar who died suddenly in a car crash in 2015, regarded engagement in theatre as a way of ‚being‘ that might help a person become more themselves. Working with embodied metaphor, dramatic and other texts, this workshop will use Dramatherapy methods to explore how we can ‚be‘ with death and dying both professionally and personally. It will create structures where participants can explore narratives of loss, holding and letting go and gain sustenance from the group experience.

Workshop 8:
Nava Rasa Sadhana 
G. Venu

Navarasa sadhana (‘Sadhana’ means ‘Ritual’) is the systematic practice of the Nine Rasa-s – the nine sentiments that have been developed and practiced since more than two thousand years in India: the erotic, the comic, the pathetic, the furious, the heroic, the terrible, the odious, the marvelous and the state of tranquility. The workshop guides the participants through the experience of the Nine Rasa-s through a combination of „codified“ (or guided) embodiment and an opening of inner processes.

Having been conceived in the vedic – context, the Nava Rasa-s traditionally grew out of the temple-context, to elaborate themes of Hindu Gods and Mythology. Sri Venu G.’ s Nava rasa Ritual/Sadhana preserves the knowledge on the relationship of physicality and transpersonality and at the same time opens the practice to non-traditional performers. He codified the system of Sadhana in a way so that actors from all kind of performance genres, also from western traditions, will be able to incorporate the practice of the Nine Rasa-s into their own trainings.

The workshop offers an insight into this contemporary approach to an Indian Performance Tradition and – through Sri Venu G’s vast experience in the field of transcultural performance exchange – offers the chance of contextualising it in a global performance context.


Saturday Lectures

Lecture 1:
William Sax – Theatrical Rituals as Collective Therapy

The borders between ritual, therapy, and drama are very fluid: ritual has therapeutic effects, therapy makes use of dramatic forms, and drama takes ritual forms. In this paper I discuss the dramatic/theatrical aspects of ghost exorcisms as collective rituals among the Dalits (the former ‚untouchables‘) of Uttarakhand in the Western Himalaya and advance my theory, why ritual is often therapeutic.

Lecture 2:
Annette Hornbacher – Possession as a Medium of Diagnose and Therapy: Dance and Transgression in Bali

Dancers and performers in Bali (and Java) are not media for conveying human emotions but media of the manifestation of an – otherwise invisible – reality of ancestors and spirits.

For this reason, dance and trance posession often merge here, and these performative dissociations are neither seen as pathological behaviors nor as a reduction of personal stress but as ‘windows’ through which the community can enter into exchange with the divine. A therapeutic effect is not aimed at for individuals, but for the whole group.

Lecture 3:
Susana Pendzik – The Invisible in Dramatherapy

This speech explores the notion of the ‘invisible’ in dramatherapy, in dialogue with four interrelated bodies of knowledge: shamanism, theatre, psychotherapy, and spirituality.

It looks at the ‘invisible’ as a source of healing, inspiration, insight, and wisdom in these fields, and as a cardinal feature in dramatherapy.