Mandy Herrick '02

Major: Theatre/Dance, English

Mandy is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist with ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association) who works with all bodies and abilities. Her passion is integrating alignment techniques, breath and restorative bodywork with women in pregnancy. Her website can be found here.

Upon entering the Theatre/Dance program, and specifically the Movement Fundamentals curriculum, what were your initial reactions/feelings/thoughts? Upon leaving?

I had two years at Luther with the more traditional program of Ballet, Jazz, Modern, etc. I felt hesitant to embrace the new MF curriculum because I didn’t feel ready to explore my body in this new way. Upon leaving, I am very grateful for this change in curriculum. Learning the depth of movement coming from an internal place not only awakened my sensorial palatte, but also helped to integrate the dancing I already knew how to do. The change in curriculum also led me down a different path of dance and lifestyle that I likely would not have found otherwise.

What is your current career/life path?

Dance Artist, Mother, Bodyworker, Advocate for people with disabilities.

How does the MF curriculum inform this career/ do you use MF in your day-to-day life?

Because I found Improvisation and Somatics to be much more accessible than other dance opportunities, I sought out and followed options that offered dancing through a lens of body exploration, experimentation and trust of capability. I have taught and created dance works using Contact Improvisation as source and real material, I became trained in GlobalSomatics ™as a Global Somatics Practitioner, and have been re-learning developmental movement patterns from my 6 month old son (first learned through the MF curriculum).

In a paragraph, how would you describe the core philosophy of the MF curriculum at Luther?

The curriculum offers a chance to find the body not as a tool to show off or display, but rather to investigate, question, and creatively source through mind/body engagement.

Through these practices, a dancer finds more freedom and integration in not only his/her dancing but also day-to-day life.

What part of the curriculum was most valuable to you?

While the philosophy impacted me greatly, the specific time we spent with Peggy Hackney’s Making Connections plus the Contact Improvisation courses were the morsels that fueled me to live and work at Earthdance, a movement arts retreat center in New England. While there, I found an even deeper appreciation and love for Contact as there were frequent Jams and workshops with many local, national and international teachers and students. Hackney’s material certainly led me to my practice with Somatics and spawned my curiosity of human development, which continues to enthrall me every day.