applied theatre & interpersonal somatics practitioner
I use applied theatre and interpersonal somatics to help changemakers find the personal and relational liberation they need in order to liberate others and to deepen their impact in the world. I have spent over a decade democratizing creative arts and holding sacred space for dishabituation. I have worked with many hundreds of individuals, couples, and families from around the world, teaching at the nexus point of creative arts, personal and social change, experiential spirituality, and applied neuroscience. My current areas of interest include conflict fluency, solidarity, and silliness. My work is influenced and informed by Theatre of the Oppressed, Theatre for Living, Social Presencing Theater, Dance/Movement Therapy, and theatrical clown.
I hold a space that extends beyond regulation and into creation, beyond body connection and into synthesis of self, beyond the window of tolerance and through the doorway of possibility, beyond fixing and into building, beyond connection and into solidarity, beyond passive object and into active subject, beyond the visible and into the unseen, the imagined, the impossible, the infinite, and beyond personal practice and into the collective duty of feeding our living communities.
earned degrees in sociology (focus: health, race, labor) and psychosocial health intervention
performed, published, and exhibited my own visual art, music, poetry, and essays
completed studies in applied neuroscience, therapeutic movement, violence prevention, neurosensorimotor therapy, and trauma
worked in care/outreach: hospice, transitional housing, wish granting for sick children, theatre for homeless youth
coaching/healing: creative expression,
arts, energy work,
voicework, play, sacred circle, ritual
Some of my teachers:
Mikhail Usov, Clara Cenoz, Jonathan Kay, Don Colliver, Eric Davis, Jon Davison
THEATRE FOR SOCIAL CHANGE:
Arawana Hayashi, Jiwon Chung, David Diamond, Uri Noy-Meir
THERAPEUTIC MOVEMENT, SOMATICS, VOICEWORK:
Actors Academy Finland, Frankie Armstrong, Center for Creative Arts Therapy, Rena Kornblum, Hanna Poikonen, Annie Brook, Jane Clapp, RMTi, MNRI, Michael Hamm, Joanne Lara
"but, Laura, what do you do?"
Listen, your trauma is not stuck in your body. What happened to you is not you, not hiding in you, and not trapped in your tissues. There is nothing in you that needs digging out. You are not a walking ghost of your past. You do not need an exorcism. You are not ruined, wrecked, or poisoned. The trauma-is-trapped framework can perpetuate victimhood, prolong wounding, and paint us as broken. It is reminiscent of a theology that creates "healed" as a destination, mistrusts flesh, and demands that we excise the sin within to achieve a material and spiritual purity. It is reminiscent of a colonialist approach to life as mere parts that can be cut up and cut out, rather than an intricate symphony of interdependent wholeness.
Just like the entire universe, we are made of rhythms. We are in rhythms and patterns that began as brilliantly adaptive strategies, and we move from rhythm to rhythm all the time. If we see ourselves as patterns and rhythms rather than "holders of trauma," I believe we would be more likely to seek people, movements, activities, experiences, and nourishment that provide the entrainment of a more preferred rhythm. We would seek demechanization, dishabituation, and novelty in order to shake loose the patterns that are no longer life-giving and welcome the next right rhythm. We would seek fun and play. Paradoxically, we would be more open to both acceptance and change.
"A machine can be controlled; a living system, according the systemic understanding of life, can only be disturbed." -Fritjof Capra
Social systems work the same way. We access collective change through changing patterns that change structures. We cannot cut out oppression, drive out trauma, reject violence, or overthrow the dictator and expect to arrive somewhere new. We must reach the patterns and rhythms that grow the violence, groom the predator, and reward domination.
And so I help you find new rhythms.
New rhythms are found in so many ways: repetition until mastery and release, rehearsal and practice, interpersonal entrainment, agency through artistry, freedom through mythic distance, supernatural jolts, and many more. I use a broad combination of methods including the foundational work of neurodevelopmental repatterning and primitive reflex integration, the creative work of mask, clown, movement, voice, improvisation, and liberatory theatre practices, the relational work of social field sensitivity, conflict fluency, somatic nonviolence, and generative collaboration, as well as the mystical work of Akashic access, intuitive development, somatic prayer, and the creation of holy moments.
more about me (and you)
I was born in the smiling mouth, in the little sister, in the station wagon and AM radio. I was born in the snowy mountain military and reborn in the heat of the three rivers. I was born dancing the Shag on Sundays. I was born wrapped in macramé and corduroy. Once I was born a jelly bean, round and sweet and small, until I was mistaken for a blueberry by a hungry bear and disappeared for a long time. I was born the neck of a Martin guitar strummed on a back porch lit with cigarettes that float their smoke straight out to a dark marsh. I was born best friends with quartz and mica. I was born a baptismal font, splish-sploshing my prayers onto the tile below. I was born my favorite tree in my favorite woods just hidden off the bike path. I was born at the moment you were born. And we were both born to burn.