Rebecca Nordstrom, professor of dance, holds a BA degree in Art (with a concentration in Dance) from Antioch College, an M.F.A. in Dance from Smith College, and is certified as a Laban Movement Analyst by the Laban Bartenieff Institute for Movement Study in New York City.
Early in her career she was a member of Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians in New York City, and a co-founder of Collaboration Danceworks in Putney, Vermont. She has performed throughout the U.S. and in Europe and is currently a member of Chaos Theory Dance Company directed by UMass colleague Billbob Brown.
Areas of interest and teaching include modern dance technique, improvisation, choreography, and movement analysis.
In our increasingly fast-paced, multi-tasking technological culture, did you ever wonder what happens to the body? Falling out of sync, or losing touch with one's physical and sensory self can cause a host of problems including stress, injury and a decreased sense of wellbeing. These problems can also dampen creativity and undermine technique. What's a body to do? This course introduces students to several body based disciplines that offer helpful strategies for sustaining a healthy and creative body/mind. Some practices are deeply meditative and slow moving, others vigorous and action oriented. All share the goal of keeping your personal human "eco-system" in balance. Learn techniques that will help you cope with environmental stressors and rise to creative challenges. Study current literature from sustainability science to search for ideas that inform your explorations of body/mind sustainability. Investigate the principles and philosophies behind somatic practices such as Bartenieff Fundamentals and The Alexander Technique. For the final project, you will have the opportunity to independently research a somatic discipline or sustainability issue of your choosing. This course is open to all students and though prior experience in any movement practice is not required, students must be willing to engage fully, deeply, and energetically in a range of guided movement activities.
Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) is a dynamic system for describing, classifying and understanding human movement. Developed by Rudolf Laban, an important scholar and visionary in the field of movement studies, LMA addresses both quantitative and qualitative characteristics of movement. Through study and physical exploration of Body, Space, Effort and Shape concepts, students will examine their own movement patterns and preferences (with the potential for expanding personal repertoire), and develop skill in observing and analyzing the movement of others within a range of artistic, social and cultural contexts. The course material is of value to students working in a range of disciplines (such as dance, theater, psychology, education, physical education, non-verbal communication, kinesiology, anthropology, cultural studies, etc.) and there will be ample opportunity for exploration and application of LMA concepts to a wide range of individual interests. Prior experience in dance or other kinds of movement trainings are welcomed but not required, however students must be willing to engage fully and energetically in all the movement activities.
In our increasingly fast-paced and multi-tasking culture, what happens to the body? Disembodiment, being out of sync with one's own body, can cause a host of problems including stress, injury and a decreased sense of wellbeing. And for artists and performers these problems can dampen creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness as well as undermine technique. Different somatic disciplines offer a range of strategies for increasing body/mind integration and all share the goal of helping bring people back to themselves and to their senses. In this course we will explore principles, theories and philosophies behind a few of these somatic disciplines with the goal of experiencing what they awaken in us somatically and how they help us better cope with environmental stimuli and stressors, and creative challenges. Students will also have the opportunity to independently research a somatic discipline of their choosing for the final project. This course may be of interest to students planning to concentrate in dance/performance arts, or who have a serious interest in the martial arts, athletics or yoga. Prior experience in any movement practice is welcomed but not required, however students must be willing to engage fully, deeply, and energetically in a range of movement activities.
Professor of Dance
Mail Code DB
Music and Dance Building 3
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002