Theatre/Dance and English
Eau Claire, WI
While Mandy was a part of dance department, the program was redirected and it became a huge influence on her as a student. She writes, “After my second year there, the department made a dramatic shift in pedagogy and class structure focusing more on body awareness practices as technique, somatic explorations of the body, improvisation, and performing and choreographing with emphasis on integrating self-research from all the above.” This change not only altered the program’s focus, but challenged students to open their minds to a new perspective of dance as well. She continues saying that the insights she gained led her, “into the field of Somatics, into the birth world, and to a place of consciousness within my body that is not only effective in understanding the mind/body connection on a personal level but also to truly feel ecstatism and awe in the workings of our complex yet delicate human body.”
Though she was accepted into an MFA program following Luther, she chose to complete a two-year practitioner certification in Global Somatics, a program based in the Body-Mind Centering™ approach. She spent six years dancing professionally in the Twin Cities in addition to freelance performance with local artists and cofounding and choreographing with The Ready At Will (RAW) Dance Collective. She practiced Minneapolis as a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (Registered with ISMETA, International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association) and Global Somatics Practitioner™, and she hopes to continue practicing in Viroqua, WI, where she just relocated. She explains that she specializes, “in pregnancy and birth where I focus on the pyscho/physical component of the body including Energy work, Craniosacral Therapy, Embodied Massage, Alignment Techniques, and Developmental Repatterning.” In addition, she is a Movement Educator and has started to workshop combining Prenatal Yoga with somatic explorations. She taught and assisted with a modern dance company for youth called Young Dance in Minneapolis and is continuing to teach creative movement and dance to kids in Viroqua.
Her training and the Movement Fundamentals program sparked another interest in her as well, “I am also very passionate about the developmental stages and reflexes of babies and how these early movement patterns influence our physical and emotional potential as adults.” The devotion she has for somantics emanates in the way she cares for the body through its many stages. Her journey since Luther is beautiful and inspiring to budding dance students and practicing artists alike. And the little boy in her picture? “Most heartwarmingly, I am the mother to my 3 year old son whom I proudly birthed in my living room in a tub of water (yes on purpose!). I am a natural birth advocate there is little else in the world that will transform/support a woman’s mind and body other than childbirth. It is another unfolding dance.”
Did you travel while in school?
I traveled to London and Greece during a J-term to study how ancient Greek art, architecture and poetry played an role in Western culture. Paideia very much turned me on to Greek history and art.
What were your extracurricular activities at Luther?
Most of my non-class time was spent in dance rehearsals or studying. Rehearsals were not credited courses at the time, so they felt extracurricular.
Favorite place in Decorah?
Either the Hay Market or the Oneota Food Co-op
More information about Mandy Herrick and her work can be found on her website.