Tag Archives: Contact Improv

UnWinding the Social Nervous System: 4 Week Learning Lab in Motion

Dance Event Photo 1Exploring social change and personal healing through somatics and contact improvisation.


In this 4 week learning lab we will use contact improvisation, somatic techniques, and lessons in neurobiology to create a vibrant lab for learning. We will use this container to explore how oppression resides in our bodies, how it manifests in our interactions with one another and how our society manipulates the social nervous system to maintain control. We will also explore the social nervous system’s power as a resource for authentic expression and creation, both for the self and community. 

Participants will be guided in a supportive space to understand the complicated dance of internalizing or enacting oppression and to play, explore and discover how to transform these patterns and co-create justice and healing.

During this 4 week lab we will:

> Co-create a safe, nourishing and non-judgmental space to play, explore and heal

> Develop proficiency in somatic techniques such as grounding, tracking bodily sensations and split attention tracking

> ‘Hack’ our neurobiology by learning about the body’s fight/flight/freeze responses, parasympathetic nervous system engagement/disengagement, and affect states (emotions)

> Discover how your sensations relate to neurobiological shifts in your body, how your neurobiology relates to how you feel, and how you feel affects how you can connect to others

> Learn about the neurobiology of touch

> Learn how to shift the body’s neurobiology individually and in a group through tricks, shifts in attention, and state-based work with movement

> Co-create rituals which contribute to a culture of social justice and healing

To honor the health of our bodies and that of the planet, this will be a scent-free event! This venue is wheelchair accessible.

4 Thursdays, February 19th – March 26th, 7 pm -9:30 pm , Subterranean Art House,

Cost: $120-160.

Contact Jote to register. jotemahern@gmail.com

Please contact us if you are in need of a scholarship or work trade arrangement. NOTAFLOF

This is an experimental collaboration between BodyEclectic and Underneath Us 


Mordecai and Jote will be co-facilitating.
Learn more about us:

Gentle outlaw and gender transcender, Mordecai Cohen Ettinger, MA, has over 20 years experience as a healer, educator, ritualist and social justice change maker. He serves as adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies. His academic research focuses on the neurobiology of the social nervous system, collective trauma and healing. Trained in Somatic Experiencing, Reiki, and Cranial Sacral therapy, he has studied with Peter Levine, Bessel van der Kolk and Raja Selvam.

For Jote Mahern of Underneath Us dance and touch have been imperative to grounding myself in community with folks where I feel I can risk being my fullest self. The practice of dance and touch have also allowed me to grow into a person who can stand to bear witness and engage with the vastness of injustice in the world without collapsing under the weight of it all. For the past ten years, I have been exploring the flow of subtle energies in partner dance through contact improvisation and more traditional upright forms like tango, blues, contra, and swing. I think a lot about impulse, desire, and action- where our emotions begin, end, and what is happening in between- how the subtle shifts in attention and nervous system functioning can lead to vastly different possibilities for connection and collaboration.