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Physical Empathy is a creative process workshop designed specifically for differently-abled youth, adults, and their caregivers. During each 1- to 2-hour session, members of New Dialect work led participants in a movement generation game using visual and auditory prompts. Participants are encouraged to use these prompts to create their own self-expressive gesture phrase. These individual phrases are then incorporated into a group performance.

Workshop material is based on the themes and choreographic games used by Banning Bouldin during the invention and composition of The Triangle.

Physical Empathy with Metro’s Dancing with Parkinson’s class

Physical Empathy with Metro’s Dancing with Parkinson’s class

Physical Empathy public workshop at 21c Museum and Hotel

Physical Empathy public workshop at 21c Museum and Hotel


TESTIMONIAL

“Banning- I want to thank you all for generously devoting time to teach, share and inspire on Friday during the workshop at 21C. What a gift it was. I work as a family therapist with children and adolescents who experience severe anxiety disorders and OCD in a partial hospitalization setting. I spend many hours of my day, every day, holding space for others. I often bring movement into my groups and I love observing how the kids completely transform during the process. Parents come to me at the end of every movement session and ask, “What did you DO??” It’s astounding what can happen when we free what is stored in our bodies, and all without even (speaking) a word.  Now I have even more tools to play with and for that, I thank you. I myself experience performance anxiety so I take opportunities to immerse myself in situations that make me uncomfortable, challenge my unhelpful thoughts and fears in an effort to move through it all. I also experience severe degenerative disc disease and a few times a year, I have spasms, a stuckness. Ironically, a wave came through my body as we were doing our first warm up exercise and that sharp electricity and intermittent pain stayed with me for the duration. It was surreal- I thought, “Why NOW? No not HERE!” But I have no say in the matter. So I wrote about it, and did the best I could with moving, in it, with it, modifying to protect. I found a way. I want to thank you for sharing your own story of transformation. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for bringing gorgeousness and golden light to Nashville! I’m moved to tears at every performance.” 

- Ashley Smith


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Physical Empathy broadcast at Monroe Carell Jr. Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. This particular workshop was recorded live inside the hospital’s Seacrest Studios and simultaneously broadcast to every room in the hospital so that young patients and their caregivers could all participate.