Dance. Connect. Play.
“As members of the human species, “we” humans are not owners or inhabitants of material bodies. We are bodies, but not even. For the bodies that we are are not things. They/we are movement. In the curves and contours of our bodily selves, in every scale and dimension, we are patterns of movement – bodily becoming.” – Kimerer L. Lamothe, Why We Dance
Dance is a way in which we know our selves and the world; it is a form of bodily becoming – not just for some bodies, but all bodies. The embodied aspect of human experience is vast and includes not just alignment of bones and efficiency of movements but also self-reflection, understanding, imagination, healing, interconnectivity, creativity and this changing moment. Therefore, my classes layer image-rich, somatic approaches with the investigation of dance technique. Dance is a dialogue with the nonverbal body, which holds memory and identities. As a teacher, I aim to support, encourage and empower the bodily conversations within individual and group expressions.
Dancing, we do being. We cultivate a sensory awareness of the movement we are making now. We are aware of how movements feel in our bodies- pleasurable or painful- in an effort to better understand body mechanics, injury prevention and release practices. We pause, try, reflect and try again in order to open to dancing that aligns with our bodies’ potential each day. It is my aim that over time, these somatic discoveries presence the dancer to a new form of communication and understanding within their own dancing selves. A knowledge found in sensations, alert and timed to the pounding of our hearts, the nuances in the touch of air and our full deep breathes as our feet give way to gravity, rooted and light, we open to the wisdom of our moving bodies.
My studies in contemporary dance, yoga, butoh, improvisation, and breathe-work form the basis for my personal physical training in addition to my classes, workshops and community projects in the arts and healing. From long-term residencies to individual workshops and performances, I offer a variety of programs that are customized to meet the needs of different ages, schools, and classrooms. I’ve been teaching for the past ten years across NYC, Portland, Bali, Hawaii, Europe and my current home in San Diego. I am a strong advocate for making dance and yoga accessible to all members of my community.
WHAT IS BODYBOCA?
Bodyboca offers classes, workshops and performance opportunities aimed at increasing your connection to your own authentic movement and body. The class uses breath work, guided improvisations, Butoh, image work and intentions to assist the dancer in exploring one’s own movement. This is an excellent class for those new to dance as well as professional dancers. The idea of the class is take a break from technique (or any practiced exercise) and listen to the body. The class is structured in such a way that creates an opportunity for deep exploration of the body, healing and new choreography.
“After all, the mind and the body are basically the same thing, so it doesn’t really matter where you start. The important thing is to listen for the link between the two aspects.” – Lorna Marshall from The Body Speaks
Body + Boca (Spanish for mouth,) is about honoring the creative expression that every body holds. The BodyBoca Project’s mission is to empower participants to listen to their natural body through the creation of authentic, community-inclusive, multi-disconplinary dance.
BodyBoca came to be as a result of my intensive travels with dance to different cultures and my teaching experiences working with dancers from various backgrounds and abilities. During my dance residency in Bali, I found a culture where dance, spirituality and celebration are intertwined into the community. Dance performances included everyone – dancers from age 5 to 65- dancing together in a performance that used sound and voice, character and theater and of course dance. As a dancer, with trainings in theatre, voice and visual art, I was deeply inspired. As a dance teacher of children, disabled young adults and beginner dancers, I was shown the power of inclusivity. And as a yoga teacher and healer, I rediscovered the spiritual power of dance and community. Bali forever impacted how I create, envision and approach my art form.
After my time in Bali, I spent several years working in Europe. A culture, although in different ways, also mirrors Bali with its inclusivity and importance on community as well as integration with art forms. In Berlin at Ponderosa and in northern Spain at Espacio Espiral, I was lucky enough to study and work with fellow artists also exploring multi-disciplinary performance as well as new ways to engage audiences and expand the dance community. I began to develop my own practices, drawing from dance and theatre, Bali and Europe, performance and healing arts, that movers of any background could use to generate new work.
In these practices, I found that choreography could be created from intentions and improvisations about listening to the body. I came to discover that bodies hold our wisdom, insight, stories, pain and pleasure. Moreover, the act of consciously moving the body is not only a beneficial physical practice, it is also a creative means of communication and healing.
As Pina Bausch so accurately said, “When I first began choreographing, I never thought of it as choreography but as expressing feelings. Though every piece is different, they are all trying to get at certain things that are difficult to put into words.”
Many people express a desire to dance or create dances but claim that they do not know how or are not capable. I created BodyBoca for these people. Bodyboca projects and performances aim to include dancers of various ages and abilities. Through the course of weekly classes over a few months, workshops and intensives, we will build a strong mind-body connection and then create movement. The process is accessible and simple. The results of the work can be transformative, surprising and empowering.
Bodyboca aims to provide tools for dancers to deepen their relationship with their body and their community. Come join the adventure. Find more images, articles and things on BodyBoca blog
Once of the best of my life. Working with you/Body Boca has been six months of pure joy in creating through improvisation, collaboration and creating. I can keenly identify with your aesthetic and philosophy of inclusiveness, bringing so called ordinary people confidently into an extraordinary context to create and transform together.-Tony Allard
The greatest benefit from your teaching was how you believed in me. I had never done anything like this before and, at times, wanted to give up, but you spoke so much life into me, it motivated me to continue on, and that lesson has continued on in my life. Performing was a great accomplishment for me. I was in front of strangers and was able to be “me,” stand tall, and dance from a place of experience, growth, and unity with the rest of the performers. It was amazing! – Laura Lee Bonde
I loved the sense of community you were able to develop among the group and I truly enjoyed being with everyone.- Shannon Waltz
“Transforming” and at 65 yrs, I do not often use that label. – Manuel Gonzalez
Noticing what it takes to work successfully with many different people and how much work is needed. My level of appreciation for all movers has grown exponentially due to your service. A compassionate experience. A respectable event that shined a new light on dance-making. Also a humbling one that gave me a glimpse of what it takes to produce something to that scale. I now see the importance of holding a community inclusive project. – Cynthia Gutteriuz
Growth: THAT was my experience.- Laura Lee Bonde
Your talents are multifaceted. Working with you is an exciting proposition. The trust that you placed in me, could only be shared with great courage and for that, you engendered in me a most open sense of friendship.- Manuel Gonzalez
Renewed sense of play and connection with inner artist- Alisha Solan, PhD
Opportunity for wholesome creative expression in a loving group- Jade Solan, PhD
The way you handled difficult adults was amazing!! Your smile lights up the atmosphere, the darkest mood, the deepest thought. Watching you teach was like watching an angel. I loved how you let us…our personalities…form the movement of the show. You drew out of us what seemed lost. You turned on the light in areas of our lives where it seemed vacant. You never gave up. You always encouraged us through. You believed every step of the way. You have a lot to offer men, women, and children. You’re amazing!- Laura Lee Bonde
Aurora is an adaptable, confirming, and respectful leader and a patient teacher. She is gracious, and open to input and exploration while also maintaining clear goals and boundaries.- Jade and Alisha Solan PhD
It is kind of a buzz word in the art world but it is apt here and that is a relational aesthetic, meaning the work relates intimately with its context, i.e. daily life processes and site specific experiences. One of the quickest ways to get beyond habituated thought and action patterns is to get related to your immediate environment by simply beginning to play much like a child does, unpremeditated and profoundly free of expectation of a particular outcome. BodyBoca provided me the opportunity to reclaim this beautiful moment we call the here and now and participate in the creation of novel, never-before-experienced states of mind and being. The combination of Butoh, contact improvisation, your fantastic imagination and ordinary movement was powerful and is something I will take with me into my daily life and art making.-Tony Allard
There were so many “types” of people involved in this performance: young, old, broken, shy, joyful, outgoing. BodyBoca encompassed a group that, without the opportunity, might not have ever interacted and have now become friends. It was an experience to remember, to reflect on, to grow from, even afterwards.-Laura Lee Bonde
Aurora delegates responsibilities, both creative ones and practical ones, with confidence and productive results. Leadership in a collaborative artistic venture requires the leader to have a great deal of charisma and a definite ability to be continually enrolling the performers in the spirit and purpose of the project. You consistently sustained just such an ability in each rehearsal and this was so important to me in terms of being hungry for more when I would come to the next session. Your sense of surprise and delight in the discovery process of creating something together is a natural part of being a powerful leader and you have an abundance of this ability. You use your power freely and don’t store it up to force an outcome.- Jade and Alisha Solan, PhD
I trusted you in mile 4 of a hike in the midst of mountain lion growls and hours before performing when you yelled…”Manuel calm down, ground yourself”. I would probably listen to you if I was in labor.- Manuel Gonzalez
Your ability to bring out and skillfully develop the dancer/mover in someone who is not a dancer/mover. I benefitted from six months of your guidance and encouragement to discovery and create non-habituated actions and gestures. Inhibitions based on body image and expectation were quickly abandoned in favor of your astute observations moment to moment of what I/we needed to do in order to open up the space and time of boundless improvisation. I benefitted most from your keen imagination and playful ability to combine expression with action! – Tony Allard
We found the whole experience inspiring, rewarding and enjoyable on multiple levels – Jade and Alisha Solan, PhD