Studies Project: Social Wounds in the BodyMind: Somatic & Trauma-Informed practices for Collective Healing

This Studies Project was a part of the Movement Research Festival Fall 2019: ComeUnion. It took place on December 8, 2019 at Movement Research on First Avenue in New York City.

Moderated by Ni’Ja Whitson
Panelists: Cheryl Clark, Martha Eddy, Kayvon Pourazar, and Sangeeta Vallabhan.

Listen to the podcast here!

This Studies Project explored how social injustices impact people’s lives and communities; who has access to healing and somatic practices; how we as somatics practitioners are working with offering trauma-informed approaches to our communities.
This event brought together artists and practitioners whose individual somatic and trauma-informed practices were generated from their personal journeys, commitment to healing themselves, and process of sharing their research to hold space for others. Through this conversation we attempted to address how to generate more inclusive, collective and fully accessible healing spaces.

Studies Project is an artist-curated series of panel discussions, performances, and/or other formats that focus on provocative and timely issues of aesthetics and philosophy in the intersection of dance and social politics, confronted and instigated by the dance and performance community.

The Fall 2019 Festival ComeUnion was curated around the intersection of somatic practices, social justice and trauma-informed pedagogies. This five-day festival offered a variety of formats to celebrate and investigate how somatic practices inform and enhance how we commune, heal, and address social justice issues.

“ComeUnion is an invitation to explore the intersectionality of somatic practices and social justice, community building and care, and trauma informed frameworks for pedagogy and performance. We have invited artists, somatic practitioners, activists, and healers whose practices are led by deep inquiries into these matters. Come join us in this exploration and celebration of the somatics of subversion, the embodiment of resistance, and the poetics of revolution.”

During the Fall 2018 Movement Research Festival, iele paloumpis and Jaime Ortega together curated an evening of performance at Danspace Project. This initiated an investigation into shared interests in somatic practice and social justice, which they then continued during a Winter MELT 2019 Workshop focusing on how we navigate individual and group needs through the experience of the inner body in the context of the collective whole. In late spring of 2019, Marielys Burgos Meléndez joined Jaime and iele in this investigation, and together they have curated a space for research and appreciation of somatic and trauma-informed frameworks, and their capacity to heal the individual and our communities at large.

Movement Research Festivals, curated by a team of artists, explore contemporary dance forms through performances, classes, workshops, and discursive events. MR Festivals allow for a varied investigation and exploration into current artistic concerns and reflect Movement Research’s mission of valuing artists, their creative process, and their vital role within society. The Fall Festival centers around performances at our long-time festival home, Danspace Project.

For more information on Movement Research please visit