Amanda Moran '12

Theatre/Dance with a Minor in English

What were your initial responses upon entering the Theatre/Dance and Movement Fundamentals (MF) Curriculum? Upon leaving?

Upon entering I felt surprised, enlightened, excited, challenged, and inspired. Upon leaving, I felt empowered with the tools and confidence to take care of my body and be somatically present in whatever postgraduate lifestyle and career I sought after.

Experiencing the wonder of connecting with my somatic reality grounded, enlivened, and focused the knowledge, skills, and love for dance that I already had coming into the program and gave me an entirely new lens for experiencing the world. I remember being very excited by the notion that people could understand and appreciate their bodies fundamentally first. Then, they could learn dance styles and forms without being limited by those styles' patterns, vocabularies, and aesthetics later on. Most importantly, these people could grow and flourish in a certain style of dance or in any physical activity while always having a basis for body awareness/listening, self-care, and respect for themselves and others. It was clear that I wanted to pursue teaching children in this way.

Over the four years of my Luther career, those classes evolved to incorporate my love for storytelling; I created my own curriculum, Body of Stories that encourages children to express their emotional experiences through dance, drawing, writing, and storytelling. I presented my curriculum at Borton Magnet School in Tuscon, Arizona, at the American College Dance Festival in Springfield, Missouri, as well as on Luther’s campus as part of the Student Research Symposium. I found that my favorite part of teaching was reaching emotional depth with individual students. I became curious about psychology and all that I had yet to learn about working with an individual through difficult emotional experiences. And then it was time to graduate. Upon leaving, I felt incredibly grateful for and empowered by the information I had learned, the relationships I’d formed with the faculty, and I felt driven to continue body-based work.

This is how the extraordinarily foundational and beautifully focused Movement Fundamentals curriculum provided a new map that I used to shape my life path.

What is your current career/life path? How does the MF curriculum inform this?

In the fall of 2014, I am beginning my first year of graduate study at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. I am pursuing my MA in Somatic Counseling Psychology with the intention of becoming a licensed professional counselor, dance/movement therapist, and body psychotherapist. I am passionate about working with young children, encouraging them to express their life stories through creative movement and dance and to listen to and respect their bodies. I plan to work toward this mission nationally and internationally while raising a family with my husband, Mike Moran.

My experiences in the Movement Fundamentals curriculum completely redefined how I see, think about, and want to work in the world. Professionally, it freed me to conduct my own research and cutivate my specific interests under the somatic umbrella. If not for the MF curriculum, I would never have ventured down the path to Naropa University toward becoming a dance/movement therapist. I feel well prepared for the holistic Somatic Counseling Psycholgy graduate program because of the rigorous theoretical and experiential components of the MF curriculum. Before I decided to go to graduate school, I was attracted to a life of performance in Los Angeles, California where I moved with my husband and favorite performance partner, Mike Moran. Working in a variety of jobs, experiencing the cultures of LA, and finding where my priorities and loves direct my attention, one of the most grounding forces for me was the MF curriculum, which, when internalized, is with you wherever you are, in whatever you are doing. The MF curriculum laid a framework for me to take care of my body, to understand and be present with my personal process, and to express myself.

What part of the curriculum was most valuable to you?

The most valuable concept that I learned from Movement Fundamentals is that my body is my most valuable primary source about my life. Movement Fundamentals offered tools to approach my inner self with unjudging curiosity and methods to use what I find for empowerment, creativity, expression, crafting performance, and reaching out to others. It taught me how to be present with myself while also contributing to and learning from my community. The curriculum taught me how to be open while discerning and to be trusting while responsible. It taught me how to move through fear, and how to follow my body while maintaining integrity and choice.

Movement Fundamentals champions the ever-flowing, body-learning journey on which we all embark at birth. I am very blessed to have experienced/be experiencing the MF curriculum, and I highly recommend the Dance major to anyone who is invested in furthering their knowledge of the moving body in all of its vast possibility.

Jane Hawley is the generous creator of this curriculum. She has crafted it, researched it, nurtured it, and let it grow freely and naturally. After carefully witnessing this growth, she finely sculpted the curriculum into a rich, succinct, and impactful training for students. This very hard-working, life-loving, tenacious, and trailblazing visionary encourages the personalization of a curriculum that is available for everyone’s benefit. Jane has created a curriculum that clearly comes from her yet can uniquely stand on its own. The diversity of art, wellness, and creativity that springs from her students is a testament to the success of the curriculum.