From our President; Somaticist, Intuitive Consultant, and Artist
Ms.Morris Margaret Morris
My 20 years of professional experience in the Somatics field have taught me to encourage self sensitivity in those well practiced at ignoring their bodies, as is often the case in corporatized colonized culture. My background is kinesiologically and energetically informed by an intensive professional background in contemporary choreography, theater, reiki energy work, classical vocal techniques, and teaching yoga and pilates. I provide communities with tools to integrate the musculoskeletal and neurological systems with the expression of the whole self, setting Westernized hierarchies of the mind/emotions/body/libido aside to honor the fully integrated human. The tools I have utilized within the processes of building performances are the same processes I use with clients. I provide frameworks in which self-acceptance, affirmation, and connection with self and other open you up to flow into your unique version of success.
In 2006 I was awarded the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award, and have had the honor of being supported by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Ragdale Foundation among others. I utilize my knowledge of somatic forms including Contact Improvisation; Post Modern Improvisation techniques; Bartenieff Fundamentals; Authentic Movement; Limon Technique; various approaches to Yoga including Jivamukti, Ashtanga, C-yoga, and Sivananda; Contemporary Pilates; West African Dance; Ballet; Release based techniques influenced by Skinner Releasing, Alexander Technique, Feldenkreis, Body Mind Centering, and neurological studies of developmental movement; Viola Spolin based physical acting improvisational techniques; vocal sounding techniques influenced by my childhood years of competitive bel canto and negro spiritual singing as well as self guided studies in throat singing and professional experience jazz and funk vocal expression working with groups in universities, community gardens, dance/yoga/arts studios, art galleries and churches, as well as one on one with clients.
As a survivor of childhood trauma which caused several injuries over the course of my formative years; I value and cherish both the delicate nature of the human body and the miraculously resilient nature of the human spirit. I came to somatic awareness through breath and postural work as an award winning classical vocal soloist in the Whitney M, Young Concert Choir under the direction of the Maestra Gloria Brown, and more deeply as college dance student. At the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago I fell in love with release based approaches to movement. I had been living with varying degrees of underlying tension and pain carried from childhood. The same somatic approaches that I share today made it possible for me to move through the world with a sense of well being and expressiveness that I had never experienced before my early adulthood. I thank my internationally acclaimed illustrious teachers. Jan Erkert, author of the textbook on modern dance, Harnessing the Wind, taught me experiential anatomy, Laban technique, introduced me to kinesiology and took my class to a cadaver lab to deepen our understanding of the relationships between the viscera and expression. Anna Paskevska, one of the foremost ballet pedagogues of our time, introduced me to the energetic subtleties embedded within strong technique. Shaman, playwright and reiki mistress Geryll Robinson helped me to more deeply understand the powers of healing that can be transmitted through the voice, eye gaze and touch. Eduardo Vilaro, now artistic director of Ballet Hispanico, drew from me an experiential knowledge of duende—understanding that the libido and heart are inextricably linked within the spirit and expressed through the body in relation with environmental and architectural space and in relation with others. As a dancer in the Daoist energy work based performances of Ayako Kato’s Art Union Humanscape, I refined my understanding of the power of clear intention in gathering and distributing the energies which circulate in nature. Banu Ogan, a veteran of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, helped me to understand the necessity of authentic and organic expressions in even the most regimented of circumstances. Finally, my deepest respect to the mothers of modern dance in Chicago, Nana Shineflug, founder of the Chicago Moving Company whom I mopped sweat off wood floors for and mentee’d under; and Shirley Mordine, the founder of the Dance Center of Columbia College, where I received my BFA (2005), and of Mordine and Company Dance Theater, where I guest choreographed and assistant directed the youth dance company. Both Nana and Shirley facilitated healthy integration of the root and sacral energies to propel the complex ecologies of people in movement.
I grew up in a home with a vast literary and psychological library. Most notable were works by and about Freud, Jung, the archetypal studies of Joseph Campbel, and Gestalt based approaches to reading people and the world, Platonic dialogues for coming to understand the nature of being, African folk tales, poetry of the Black Arts Movement, and a love of jazz music informed me that there is far more to reality than that which meets the eye. Though I am not a therapist, these underpinnings of mystical and psycho-therapeutic approaches to understanding well being formed the way I see people, and form an aspect of the lenses through which I interpret the needs of my clients. However, I am not a therapist and do not see people in terms of pathologies. I see us in terms of needs which need to be met, and share my expertise as a means for wholeing and healing.
Listen, if a little voice in you tries to say you are not physically inclined enough for somatic play, don’t listen to ‘em. If you can move at all, somatics will benefit you.
As a Somaticist and Intuitive Consultant I provide you with an invitation to my improvisational toolbox for life so that we can organically come to the modalities which benefit you, your relationships, and/or your community group or employee group to the highest benefit. Some of the effects of my sessions include evolving balance between empathy with other and response to personal needs; increased sense of physical and emotional well being; increased balance, strength and agility; increased trust in your intuition; a sense of well-being while moving through the world’s challenges, self-trust and flow. In addition to the vast benefits to individuals, my services organically trigger bonding among groups, deepen bonding for couples, and are particularly powerful for personal and societal wellness amidst diverse populations.
Related training additional to professional experience in the field:
Center for Conflict Resolution Mediation Certification 2023
Cuddlist Training 2020
The Lab Chicago | Chicago, IL
200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification with focuses on Intelligent Sequencing and Hands on Adjustment 2016
The Fitness Guru NYC Brooklyn, NY 500 hours Comprehensive Contemporary Pilates Apparatus Certification and Mat Certification 2014
Five Directions Wellness with Dr. G. Love | New Orleans, LA | Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Level 2 2012
Abhaya Yoga Brooklyn, NY 100 hour Anusara Immersions cycle
Qualification to teach Anusara Inspired yoga 2011
Zen Shiatsu Chicago in Evanston, IL 267 Hours Zen Shiatsu Levels I-III and all requisite courses up to and including public Clinics 2008
Ouvre’s Samaya Sacred Practice Space with Miles Miaeda Chicago, IL Usui Ryoho Reiki Level 1 2007
Columbia College | Chicago, IL BFA Dance Composition/Improvisation with emphasis on Developmental Movement, Release based somatic techniques and experiential anatomy 2005
Mills College, Oakland, CA | Vocal Improvisation | Creative NonFiction | Modern Dance | 2001
Columbia College | Chicago, IL | Dance Improvisation | Modern Dance | Solo Theatrical Performance | Kinesiology | Pedagogy | Choreography 2000
Illinois Wesleyan University | Bloomington, IL | Classical Vocal Performance | 1999
Merit School of Music | Chicago, IL | Classical Vocal Performance | highschool
More notable training:
Movement Composition with Terre O’Conner, Partnering with Kathleen Hermesdorf, Ballet for contemporary dancers with Janet Panetta, “Playing in the Extremes” with Bruno Caverna, “Stand Up” with Barbara Kraus, “Methods of Rebuilding” with Hooman Sharifi and Jean-Luc Ducourt, Afro-Modern technique with Germaine Acogny, Delicious Movement with Eiko, Motion technique with Kathleen Hermesdorf, Ballet with Natalie Rast, Improvisation and composition with Ishmael Houston Jones, Contact Improvisation with Kathleen Maltese, Release based modern technique with Juliette Mapp, Modern dance technique with Bebe Miller and Angie Hauser, Release technique with Yvonne Meier, Modern technique and composition with Robert Moses, Improvisation and direct audience contact with Felix Ruckert, Modern dance technique with Nana Shineflug, Improvisation with text from Sarah Wookey, Modern dance technique with Jowole Willa Jo Zollar and various dancers from Urban Bush Women, Mind Body Centering with KJ Holmes, Classical Vocal training with Carmen Mehta