Movement Fundamentals

The Movement Fundamentals (MF) curriculum is distinct to dance at Luther College. The MF curriculum focuses on the body as a site for critical, social, cultural, ideological, biological, and psychological embodied discourse through somatic and scientific movement education and artistic expression. Movement Fundamentals teaches dancers to see their bodies as intelligent. That bodies are sources of movement. This practice teaches that people of every age and ability can dance.

Themes highlighted in Movement Fundamentals are

  • Healing
  • Sense of Community
  • Functionality
  • Connection
  • Communication
  • Progress
  • Understanding of Self 

In our classes, improvisation exercises, such as the Four Phases, lead to choreography.

Through Movement Fundamentals, our students find that everything can become a dance, and everyone can dance, and that the MF curriculum cultivates "self-hood" and "individual artistry within community."

Facing a Pandemic in Dance

"Grounded in the unique stories and perspectives of the body, the Movement Fundamentals paradigm relies upon the lived experiences of the participant as a valid and primary source. We start with the premise that the body is the text and worthy of guiding research, development, creating, regenerating, and innovating dance and movement artistry. Movement Fundamentals centers and flows out of the individual within the collective wisdom of embodied practice. If you are interested in learning about somatic and scientific embodied pedagogy through the Movement Fundamentals paradigm, please join us as this Pandemic is providing great source material for all things dance!"

-Jane Hawley, founder of Movement Fundamentals


National Recognition

Created by Luther dance instructor Jane Hawley in 1996, MF has gained global and national recognition for it's groundbreaking philosophy. MF highlights are:

  • MF curriculum is presented for Neuroscience students and Kinesiology Teachers at the International Association for Dance, Medicine, and Science Conference in 2008. 
  • MF curriculum is presented to the faculty and graduate students of the largest dance school in the nation, Arizona State University School of Dance in 2012.
  • MF curriculum is highlighted as one of the twelve dance curricula in higher education currently in practice for the year 2050 at the Fostering the Future: Dance Curricula Development Sessions hosted by NYU: Tisch School of Performing Arts and Movement Research of NYC in 2014.
  • Students research and present MF at the National Dance Education Organization in Phoenix, AZ in 2015.

Luther offers a specialized track in Movement Fundamentals through an Individualized Interdisciplinary Major. This course provides students with a wide diversity of movement and performance training, as well as helping students develop as artists, scholars, and educators.

Thirty Luther College dance alumni and fourteen non-Luther dance and movement professionals have inquired about starting a Movement Fundamentals Institute.

For information about MF certification, please visit:

Alumni Perspectives

Read an article about the combination of the Movement Fundamentals Curriculum and a senior project. Christie Owen's '16

“The Movement Fundamental's Curriculum is an anatomical, somatic approach to exploring dance, movement, and being in the world. The three core classes: practices of alignment and function, range and efficiency, and vocabulary and intention liberate students to explore their body as a tool in which to create organic, authentic movement."

 —Calli Micale '13

“Movement Fundamentals is an organic & holistic training focused on movement exploration that empowers people of all ages, shapes, & abilities to be intelligent, perceptive, & innovative dance artists and lifelong movers.”

Mike Moran '12

Movement Fundamentals—Liberating Practices for the Dance Artist, copyright Jane Hawley, 2001.

Luther now offers an Individualized Interdisciplinary major in Movement Fundamentals.

Certification in Movement Fundamentals is highly recommended with this specialized major. For information about becoming certified, visit the professional website.