Soma Studies

A Lifetime of Exploration

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Lessons in Dancer Undone:

  1. 1 Welcome!

    Objective: This talk will introduce you to Dancer Undone and the Awareness Through Movement approach for recovery to reduce unwanted pain and injury. I'll address what is needed for each lesson and what to expect from each lesson. I hope you enjoy the beginning of your process with these body-altering movement lessons!

  2. 2 ATM 1: Free The Back

    Objective: Free your back for an easier arabesque as you gently roll into the feeling of length and lightness. You’ll stabilize your skeletal contact as you push through one leg to find the most efficient trajectory onto your side while softening the muscles around your ribs. There is such helpful information to learn in this lesson about how to release unnecessary hip and back tension.

  3. 3 Talk: Free to Feel

    Objective: This talk urges the importance of pushing the pause button on the normal flow of life so that one can experience the difference between thinking through movement versus feeling your way through movement - or, the moment.

  4. 4 ATM 2: Fold into Flexion

    Objective: This lesson will inform your abdominal connection without strain. It is possible to feel both strength and lightness from this lesson, making it very important for any movement investigation. Explore how to soften the front, lengthen the back, and stay focused within your center.

  5. 5 Talk: Total Vision

    Objective: This talk addresses how we can work to slowly smooth out the rough corners and slow down so we can re-imagine and re-feel our whole use of self.

  6. 6 ATM 3: Side Bending

    Objective: Clarify your rib cage placement and stabilize your standing leg with this wonderful side bending lesson. You’ll explore how to soften your torso, track foot to pelvic connection, and encourage head to foot engagement to create your own physical insight. This lesson is a gift for any dancer who negotiates how to hold their rib cage in various dance techniques.

  7. 7 Talk: Push For Personal Potency

    Objective: Are you stuck molding and shaping your body so you can look like the projected image of the perfect dancer? If so, please stop. Instead of allowing the projected image to proclaim how you prosper, I believe there's a way to shape your form from a different perspective - tune in to this talk to listen how to shift perspective to gain personal potency.

  8. 8 ATM 4: Reach and Rotate

    Objective: Go bit by bit with this lesson to reveal the final step which will provide a surprising end result in your standing with ease. It’s simple and direct with no pushing needed which is what this work is about - providing you with postural adjustments that help connect your overall self-use.    

  9. 9 ATM 5: Rolling from Side to Back

    Objective: The organization of this lesson will offer stability for standing leg work and mobility for the back and upper chest. This lesson is concise and full of connection!

  10. 10 Talk: Inside Intelligence

    Objective: During this talk I share a personal story about two different learning environments that helped me and my intelligence to thrive. Not all dance environments are healthy learning environments and I urge people to know the difference between the helpful and unhelpful atmospheres so you too can learn where your intelligence thrives.

  11. 11 ATM 6: Breathing - Upper and Lower

    Objective: Explore breathing variations with this lesson by inhaling into the upper region and exhaling into the lower region. With every different position, you’ll experience the relief that attentive breath work can offer. Muscles soften, inner momentum quiets and your structure can fall into place with this simple breathing lesson. 

  12. 12 ATM 7: Breathing - Seesaw

    Objective: The second breathing lesson is stimulating and packed full of challenging learning opportunities. The Feldenkrais seesaw sequence is introduced and muscular holding patterns that surround the act of breathing will release. 

  13. 13 Talk: Gatekeeper

    Objective: It is helpful to take a moment to consider all aspects of your life in connection to your journey into healthy action. During recovery, you not only need to tend to your body but you must also tend to the space, environment, and people around you. In this talk, I bring up the importance of observing what becomes harmful noise and stress to your recovery process. 

  14. 14 ATM 8: Free Your Back from the Front

    Objective: Test your torso and abdominal coordinations with this lesson while playing with center and sequential initiations. As you engage the learning from the first lesson, you’ll roll yourself into full motion connection!  

  15. 15 Talk: Presence

    Objective: Movement has always been the invitation into my deepest connection of self and life. In this final talk for Dancer Undone, I navigate through stage presence, personal presence, and touch upon the profound connection gained through the body and the act of moving.

Lessons in Fluency For Life:

  1. 1 Welcome to Fluency For Life

    Objective: This talk welcomes you to Fluency For Life and will introduce you to the 8 ATM lessons in this program which all focus on rotation and releasing the spine!

  2. 2 ATM 1: Crossing Knees & Twisting the Back

    Objective: Release back and upper neck tension with this rotational lesson as you slowly engage different ways to explore a spinal twist. You’ll play with coordinations to let go of holding patterns and to introduce new physical results. Notice how your posture and quality of being upright will shift after this lesson.

  3. 3 ATM 2: Head Under Gap - Supine

    Objective: This lesson offers a tremendous upper spine release. Work with rippling through your body to create a wave like motion that will help to smooth out your movement from foot to head. Stand up afterwards to experience the structural reset which naturally falls into place.

  4. 4 Talk: Fluently Free

    Objective: During this talk I share my personal story that weaves together dance, stuttering, recovery, and The Feldenkrais Method. I reveal the heart of this work by revealing my own journey. Thank you for sharing and listening.

  5. 5 ATM 3: Arm Circles - Side Lying

    Objective: Include more movement to create more ease in rotation. This lesson will help to provide understanding of how the legs, pelvis, torso, and arms can work together so that your spine can soften into a twist. As this lesson unfolds, you’ll connect through the torso and unwind the back in a gentle way to release unnecessary muscular holding.

  6. 6 ATM 4: Breathing Variations

    Objective: Challenge your assumptions of what correct breathing means by exploring a wide range of breathing variations. This lesson can reduce muscle tension, enhance lung capacity, and even assist better skeletal organization by aligning yourself with the flow and fluency of breathing in different directions.

  7. 7 Talk: Attentive Articulations

    Objective: This talk delves into the meaning of articulation within the body and beyond the body. Just as your skeleton articulately moves, so can your life. Take a moment to listen and think about your life in relation to healthy articulation.

  8. 8 ATM 5: Rocking - Prone

    Objective: Free the upper back and revive yourself with this rocking lesson. Experience a complete change in a small amount of time with the significant spinal articulation in this lesson. The interesting spinal exploration coupled with the rocking easily inspires feelings of rejuvenation and clarity.

  9. 9 ATM 6: Seated Twist

    Objective: This lesson offers the ability to experience a profound shift in spinal rotation and a greater range of motion. While zoomed into the spine, you’ll articulate up and down through the spine and you’ll be given the opportunity to work on not working so hard while you connect and integrate through the spine. It’s possible to feel the back muscles significantly soften and release which will offer surprising results.

  10. 10 Talk: Fluency Undone

    Objective: During this talk I dive into the failures, the falls, the undone moments in life. Fluency, flow, and articulation can’t be constant because life naturally dips and curves. I address the importance of recovering from undone moments so fluency and flow can resume again and of course I express how the body plays an important role in this recovery process.

  11. 11 ATM 7: Tilting Legs into Sitting - Prone

    Objective: Walk away from this lesson feeling very centered and strong as it deeply articulates the spine by way of activation. Strength and softness will be explored while mobility and stability will be experienced. This lesson works through spinal rotation from the prone position and connects the entire use of self so that the experience of being deeply rooted into the ground and into your physical experience is very common to feel after this work.

  12. 12 ATM 8 - Making Connections

    Objective: Feel the integration sink in as you connect the dots from previous lessons learned to help articulate this movement from feet to hands. Strength and softness are revealed through the power of the spinal rotation just as fluency and articulation will linger within the lesson.

Lessons in Live Class + Recordings:

  1. 1 Brief INTRO

    Objective: Important information about LIVE ONLINE CLASSES.

  2. 2 January 31, 2021

    Objective: AUDIO Live Recording

About Soma Studies

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Catrina Choate-Heretoiu is a somatic practitioner and dance educator who works with recovery and learning through movement. Throughout Catrina’s life, movement has been the trusted language of communication and upon departing from a professional ballet career, Catrina’s path folded and unfolded in ways that merged dance, somatics, and intellectual inquiries. She has a B.A. degree in English Literature, an MFA Degree in Dance, and is certified in the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education.

Catrina understands and upholds that a somatic conversation through movement can reveal unexpected experiences that can promote learning, growth, relief, and ultimately connection.

What Our Members Have to Say:

“"The students at NCDC were lucky to have the opportunity to train with Ms Catrina in ballet. Her somatic knowledge, kindness and process allowed them to progress technically in a supportive and nurturing environment. Through her work, the students gained a deeper understanding on how to increase their alignment, flexibility and overall strength safely."” ― Jen Bradford,  Founder / Executive  Director of Northern California Dance Conservatory
“"Catrina shares her special brand of wisdom through these relatable stories, and she poses relevant questions to spark the imagination of anyone who hopes to learn more about connection, intuition, and recovery. I love her calm voice and I can even hear the ease in her body as she talks, which is a testament to her years of somatic discovery.

I feel more alive in my own body's intuitive capabilities after listening to her."” ― Buffy Barfoot ~ Yoga Instructor
“Catrina's Awareness Through Movement classes offer pathways to increased body knowledge and a harmonious and peaceful mind-body connection.” ― Cynthia Drayer School Director, The School of Sacramento Ballet
“Catrina touches on every nuance of what it means to be a dancer, internally and in the deepest sense. The joys of eternally searching for the unattainable ideal of perfection, the battles with the self-image, the discouragement and loss of confidence that occurs when one is injured, and the often deeply spiritual experience of being onstage ; all are covered here as Catrina relates her deeply personal experiences of her own professional ballet career in a way that will surely go to the heart of every dancer. 

Catrina Choate's calm, soothing voice carries within it a quiet strength that asks questions and gently encourages the listening dancer to tune in, slow down, and listen to the wisdom of one's own body. The Feldenkrais lessons offered here are well chosen and present the participant with the opportunity to go even deeper into the realm of the senses in order to experience the fascinating process of what to means to learn, to play, to fail, and to begin again, in the delightful dance of becoming one's best partner and ultimately, one's own teacher. 

As a former dancer who often fought unmercilessly to turn her body into what brilliant and sometime maniacal choreographers wanted of me, I found myself wishing that I had had such a valuable resource as SomaStudies available to me during my own performing career.” ― Alice Brydges ~  Founding Member of Alonzo King's Lines Ballet San Francisco, Feldenkrais Practitioner, Tai Chi Instructor
“I danced professionally for 21 years, and I credit the Feldenkrais work with the fact that I remained injury free for nearly my entire career. The physical impact I experienced was clearly evident in the increased sensitivity to and understanding of the physical nuances of my personal body mechanics, but it also deepened my understanding of movement and its origins.

With this understanding, I felt as if I was able to approach roles from different perspectives, responding to choreography and music from a more honest, personal place.

The awareness brought to me through Awareness Through Movement as well as Functional Integration sessions gave me the opportunity to fully inhabit my performances, allowing me to be truly present whether in rehearsal or onstage, and in the years since I have retired from performing, the gift of being present in my own life has remained with me.” ― Deanna Seay ~ Faculty Member at the School of the Richmond Ballet; Former principal dancer of Miami City Ballet
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