My work in Spiral Praxis began over twenty five years ago. I found a partner, Stephanie Gottlob, as a modern dance student at Ohio State University where I enrolled after my physics undergraduate degree at Cornell University. We were polar opposites… she was the body and I was the mind… but united in our love for dance! We were very influenced by the Judson School of Modern Dance—Steve Paxton, Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainier, etc.—and inspired by the minimalist art of 20th century artists like Beuys, Pollack, and Rothko. Those artists were primarily concerned with perceptual experiments and the subtle variations of their works gave us an enormous field to explore.
We started our somatic work from scratch, beginning by trying to devise a modern dance training system that respected the natural flow and spontaneity of dance. This spiral dance technique was based on the oscillations of the body in different equilibrium positions which, when gradually amplified, would resolve into different kinds of locomotive movements. Besides being a choreographic tool, we noticed that moving in these spiral motions led us to various kinds of heightened states of consciousness—we felt easy, free and flowing after our rehearsals. Trying to evoke this state in other life situations created the seed for our work in Spiral Praxis.
Later in our dance career, we were asked to build a motor curriculum for children with special needs. This small project soon blossomed into an entirely larger field of action. Our children began to make tremendous progress through movement and parents and teachers were very grateful to us. We realized that perhaps our dance-inspired principles could have a much larger social significance. In the intervening years, we spent a large amount of time—including two years of solitary sojourns in the desert—trying to make our techniques more universal and comprehensive, so that they could be used by anyone. My science background imparted a need for rigor in our work; Stephanie’s artistic side imparted a need for free individual exploration.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Fast forwards 25 years. Stephanie has gone on to develop a form of environmental dance and I am pushing forwards to bring the somatic vision forwards. The last few years of research with our crew here at the Spiral Movement Center has brought the art and science of Spiral Praxis to fruition. At our studio today we work with people who have been profoundly injured and also with people who have strong, unexpressed aspirations in areas of mediation, work, art, athletics and more. The methods we’ve developed in Spiral Praxis are not compilations of old techniques but a self-consistent, coherent system that makes use of spiral dynamics to deal with all bodymind phenomena. We truly believe we have discovered a radically new bodymind paradigm that is practical, profound and will help many people learn how to self-direct their inner functioning. Currently our work is being passionately documented and we are entering into a phase of training a new generation of Spiral Praxis students. We invite you to join us in our global journey. Whether you bring support or criticism, questions or confusion, passion or ambition, you will find bodymind demystified and honored through Spiral Praxis. Viva la bodymind!