4 – 11 AUGUST 2024 | Laughter Somatics
with Antoinette Helbing
Laughter Somatics is a way of deepening your understanding of laughter and a possibility to meet yourself within laughter, which is a forcefully intimate place to be.
It is the workshop format in which choreographer, performer, educator and Feldenkrais practitioner Antoinette Helbing shares a somatic approach to laughter as a connective physical practice.
This practice has been developed by Antoinette over the past 7 years and lays ground for a series of works that circulate around laughter as embodied practice of letting go – letting go of excess tension and of emotional imbalance. Both her laughter works that are currently touring – the solo The Laughing Game and the group piece The Laughing Crowd stem from this practice.
The workshop begins with a shaking practice that helps the participants transition into a state of openness, calmness and readiness. The central somatic point of departure of the workshop is the Feldenkrais method, which as a somatic learning method, practices embodied self-reflection through movement. The method has a non-goal approach that encourages the participants to be playful and curious – not expecting any result or arriving at a specific point by the end of the lesson.
Nothing is to be done well – nothing can be measured in terms of good or bad. Non-hurry and taking time are some of the main principles for practicing – the participants explore basic movement patterns in unfamiliar configurations to observe and unravel patterns of movement, thought, emotion and action.
Accepting their current level of ability and practicing care and softness towards themselves.
Thereafter a set of physical voice exercises will prepare to use the voice as movement and give movement a voice – through laughter. Those voice exercises are touching upon both – breathing exercises as well as singing together. Only for the last hour the participants will practice laughter – as this practice needs the participants to be in a soft, gentle, non-judging and fully connected state for the laughter practice to be easily accessible.
Core of the practice are tools that trigger laughter for “no reason” and fully put the action “laughing” in the center of all attention – leaving the social and psychological aspects of laughter aside.
The exercises and methods applied, take point of departure in laughter yoga as it is practiced widely in India. This practice will guide the participants into a state of pure and genuine laughter – which then can more and more be manipulated, distorted, synthesized and exaggerated during the course of the workshop days.
Restorative practices addressing both body and voice will round off the laughter practice.
The workshop is an invitation to extend the perception of what laughter is or could be – the participants will be diving into an embodied journey through laughter’s force of nature – learning to control the uncontrollable and letting go of control when it’s not needed.
Laughter as a form of pre-lingual communication is deeply rooted in being human – regardless of cultural or social background. All of us are forming and reforming our individual laughter constantly throughout our lives – and we basically accumulate a collection of laughter choreographies over time. In a way all of us are creating a self-portrait through laughter – without necessarily being aware of that.
The Feldenkrais Method® was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) as a gentle and intricate embodied educational process concerned with self-awareness and improved capacity. It uses movement, sensation and reflective experience as coherent learning modes to support the ability to interact with the world in new ways with comfort, ease and curiosity. As a somatic movement practice it expands the ability to rediscover and retune. The method invites to slow down and to listen and to playfully explore the world of internal sensation. Supporting the nervous system to form new pathways beyond its habitual capacities. The Feldenkrais Method® is taught in ‘Awareness Through Movement’® group lessons, guided through verbal instruction, and one-to-one touch-based ‘Functional Integration’® lessons as dialogues between learner and practitioner.
What to expect:
| Exploring voice, body, sensation and dance around the theme of laughter – putting the action of laughing into the center of all attention – approaching laughter as a connective physical practice from a somatic point of view.
| Diving into an investigation of your laughter – both into the internal and external experience of it.
| Reflecting upon laughters’ fun parts as well as the more serious ones.
| Blending body and voice work into one entity – setting the voice in motion and working with the movement of the voice. In other words we’re applying a fully embodied approach towards exploring breathing, singing and laughing.
| Practicing tools that trigger laughter for “no reason” – based on the Indian tradition of laughter yoga.
| Laughter will be the center of all dance and all choreographies we’ll create – the movement material we’ll be exploring, derives from manipulated, distorted, synthesized and exaggerated laughter.
Antoinette Helbing (she/her) is a German dance artist and member of the artist-run platform Dance CooperativE in Copenhagen (DK).
All Unplugged Dance workshops are open to everyone who wants to meet, share, dance and self-explore through movement and creative process. There is no need for previous experience in dance classes, although if there is one, it is welcome.
“Laughter Somatics” shares the week with “Sculpting Body-Images” workshop