Find the space

Image credit – Rosemary Spencer and Sophie Alder

Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT), if you’ve never been introduced to it before, is in my humble opinion, the hidden gem of somatic inclined movement techniques. It never fails to find freedom in my skeletal patterning, invigorates my creativity and calms the inner Charlotte. 

I chanced upon Skinner quite by accident – an extracurricular class that I attended in either my first or second year of dance training at The Dance Studio Leeds. And since that day, I haven’t looked back. That first class was either in 2014 or 2015, so it’s taken me around 5 years to complete the introductory series of fifteen classes. On the face of it, that seems like relatively little exposure to a technique in relation to the time taken to be singing the praises of it, but on contraire reader this is a special technique. 

Admittedly, naivety and the lack of mental stamina contributed to the downfall of my Feldenkrais and Alexander Technique lessons during training, but in general I find it hard to release and connect to my soma, often too occupied with the external aesthetic and physicality of my movement. My issue, or sticking point with some somatic practices is that they serve well as stand-alone exercises that provide release or enlightenment. Very rarely, are these somatic practices, in my experience, surrounded by practical application in dance, encircled by an inclusive improvisation practice to really delve into the depths of the release and then the space to reflect in non-physical methods. SRT achieves all of this, and to my shame I keep forgetting in between classes just how great it is, and how it makes my body and mind feel. 

This week I attended, for the second time, Moving Landscapes – a five day, Skinner Releasing workshop led by teachers Rosemary Spencer and Sophie Alder. With a blend of SRT lessons, improvisation and trips to Timble Forest and Brimham Rocks, the course allows you the time and space to explore the landscape of both Yorkshire and your physical body. It also allows you space to check in with your mental wellbeing. Sat, nestled on an alcove of one of Brimham’s wonderful rocks, looking over Nidderdale, I was struck by the fact that I am over-packing my life. Caught between the freedom of being in the UK, surrounded by friends and family to visit and the burden of my income being half of what it used to be now that I’m freelancing, I’ve been filling my time with work and travel in a bid to be busy. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing short term, but busy doesn’t equate to successful dance artist and now entering eight months of freelancing it’s starting to take its toll. 

Slow down, calm down, find the space in your schedule, and in your jaw. Comb the muscle fibres, and let your skull seek up and your legs float freely. Allow that time to sit and do nothing. To immerse yourself in nature and to just be. Remember that you love Skinner for the physical, mental and creative ways it invigorates your system, and tell everyone that they should try it too.

Find out more here: 
Skinner Releasing Technique Leeds

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