This week, I was honoured to interview Interdisciplinary Dance Artist and Somatic Movement Practitioner & Teacher, Marina Tsartsara. Greek born and living in Barcelona, she was kind enough to talk to us about her life as both a performer and Somatic movement teacher & therapist.
“So what brings you to Barcelona?” Was my first question as I noted her gorgeous Greek features.
“I first came here when I was 20 years old. I came to study Fine Arts. I was studying sculpture and I also worked for a small dance company. I stayed in Barcelona for five years before moving on to Brighton, England, to study my BA in ‘Dance and Visual Arts’ and eventually, after 11 years of being there, I came back to Barcelona.” She told me.
“It’s extraordinary how much experience you’ve acquired. When did your investment in dance begin?” I continued on to question.
Marina expressed herself. “It’s been with me all my life. I started ballet as a child and I always knew I wanted to work with the body in relation to movement, internal expression and fine arts. On my way there I studied, worked, performed and tried all sorts of techniques and eventually found my ‘core’ through an American somatic practice called Body-Mind Centering®.”
I felt especially drawn to hear more about this deep philosophical connection to the body so asked Marina to tell me about it.
“Body-Mind Centering® is about experiencing anatomy and what inhabits the person as a whole. It’s about awareness. Personal, transpersonal and collective. We work with the body and with the tissues at a cellular level. it is a different way to embody aspects of ourselves that have to do with who we are, how we relate with others and how we experience the world. It’s really beautiful work. One of my current passions is embryology; how we come to create ourselves. Studying this and offering embodiment around it is magic.” She said.
“I mean, this is a very big topic, integrating mind, body and soul. How does it look in practice?” I asked.
“I work with people individually or in groups. The sessions can take place as something therapeutic or for people who wish to connect with and integrate body, mind and emotions. We work through movement, voice, touch and art materials. The purpose is to sense, listen and connect with your body systems and self as a whole, as well as with others. We learn to be able to be with what is there, give it space, embody it and integrate it.” Marina told me.
Your sessions sound very healing and revealing.” I said as I noted how intimate they appeared to be. I went on to ask Marina what benefits were found from them.
“The sessions are all different but the aim is to guide people to restore their natural potential for self-healing and wellbeing, reconnection to life and the joy of sharing humanity. They enhance their creativity and the feeling of being fully present and alive. On another level, people often find themselves in better physical health, with restored stress levels, reduction in pain and an increased ability to remain calm and connected. People often go away from the sessions, after being in a caring container, feeling all sorts of emotions. It allows them to reflect, stay with the material and find ways to apply it to everyday life.” She said.
Although her sessions were open to anyone, it appeared that one should be prepared to be open to working with others. “It must be a very powerful tool, learning to touch.” I added with what appeared to be knowingly.
“Oh yes.” She said. “Touch is an incredibly important thing. It can be an uncomfortable and a very deeply rooted issue for some which can also result from different cultural backgrounds or past experiences. I feel we really need to learn more about different ways of touch and how it allows us to listen and connect to ourselves and others, using it as a tool for finding personal space and healthy limits, trust, deep expression, support and comfort. By approaching touch from a human, respectful and caring place we can reach deeper re-connection and healing.” Marina sounded very wise.
“I understand that you’re also a performing artist?” I asked and let her free to express herself.
“Yes, I have created and performed for the last 15 years. Through art making I connect with something deep and fluid, a timeless space where I feel free to experiment, play, express and communicate the personal experience and politics of becoming a body, having a body, owning a body, sharing a body, treating a body and sensing a body. I make performances that include choreography or improvisation and bring together dance and visual arts such as video, art materials, objects and I mostly call them live installations. The latest performance I made was at L’Estruch in Sabadell, where I was a resident artist for 4 months. The performance was about the beauty of pathology and an exploration of the qualities of ‘absent’ parts in pathological bodies. The work was auto-ethnographic based on personal experiences of dis-ease by myself and other four women from Catalunya. It was honest and powerful.” She enthused.
I was extremely inspired by Marina and the healing, joy and deep connections she was creating with people through dance and movement. I asked her what she had planned for the future.
“My future has the word connection. This word comes to me on many levels. I think the world at the moment is in a very fragile state. Re-connection with nature, with others and ourselves can support us all. We are always in process and support is about regaining connection with the present moment, the wisdom and resources of our bodies, and human connection with others. I intend to work further with workshops in Barcelona, UK and Greece and I’d love to create a space in nature in Greece later on. Nature is our mother as we come from it and are part of it. In BMC®, we look at the evolution of nature in relation to human evolution, and this is amazingly spacious and deeply inspiring!” Marina said which inspired me some more.
With that reflection of my own, I thanked Marina for her time, for her very interesting perspective and for sharing her lovely experience with us.
When I arrived home I checked out her list of current workshops, and may I add, was I left keen to dance.
If you’d like to see them yourself, here they are:
Anneka and Teresa