Photo © 2009. Nannette Bertschy & Ann Moradian.

looking at the world and challenging our assumptions, definitions and creation of it through the lense of the body, movement, the arts and science.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Few Thoughts on Interdisciplinary Work

"The Final Gate" © Ann Moradian, 2018.

This path 
is not for everyone.

When we work across disciplines, we are opening up to information outside our own domain(s) of knowledge, experience and expertise. Regardless of the degree to which we retain hierarchical structures of organization, the very concept of working together with those from other domains implies exposure to a certain amount of new information, and with that comes a certain amount of disruption to old patterns, structures, and ideas. We are human, and this can be uncomfortable.

"Your brain craves certainty and avoids uncertainty like it's pain."
(Rock, 2009)

Uncertainty can trigger limbic system to respond as if it were under threat. Interdisciplinary exchange ‘messes with’ this. The objectives in opening up to interdisciplinary or collaborative work might be to expand knowledge and understanding, find new synergies, map out new territories, or develop new forms. These shared adventures are, inevitably, journeys of discovery. If you only search for what you already know, or think you know, you will miss a lot. (I must admit, however, that this is the only viable approach I have found when looking for a lost contact lens.) 

In my experience, it is when we open up to the unknown, and the uncertainty it brings along with it, that things start to get interesting – and hopefully, eventually, also fun! There seems to be a curious balancing act, however, between receptiveness and active engagement that is called for to ensure productivity. I suspect there must be an art to this aspect of collaboration, because there is definitely no reliable manual for it! 

Interdisciplinary work is inherently collaborative – not in the negative sense of the word as in ‘cooperation with an enemy,’ but in the more constructive use of the word that implies working together toward a shared goal or vision. This demands a willingness to share power, and to be open to the unforeseen and unforeseeable. It also demands a willingness to step forward – to risk exposure of our ideas, our wishes, our needs... If you imagine you will be able to do this kind of work without ever feeling vulnerable or uncomfortable, or without ever having to examine your assumptions, you are sorely mistaken. 

Having a shared goal or vision is vital. It is this shared aim that gives us the courage to advance in these unchartered domains, no matter what we encounter. As the martial strategist Miyamoto Musashi said: 

“There is more than one way to the top of the mountain.”

On such a journey, our differences become a strength, rather than a handicap or threat. There should be at least a moment when each person can step forward to shine, and many times when we allow the others to share their knowledge, strengths or skills. A willingness to learn from each other is important. A willingness to share power is essential. This includes knowing when it is necessary to hold one’s ground, and when it is viable or necessary to adjust. 

In my experience, it has been important to collaborate with those who have different but complementary skill sets and experience from my own. In addition, I have found it critical that each member in the team truly wants to be there. This suggests that not only do they have something to contribute through their participation, but they also have something to learn or gain through the venture. 

As we explore the frontiers of our knowing, we will be changed by the experience. If we chose to embark on the adventure of interdisciplinary collaboration, testing out new pathways and possibilities, we will leave an impression of our passing on the terrain. Whether we encounter our own discomforts (which can be richly revealing when we explore it carefully), or new and wondrous marvels, we will not leave this experience unmarked ourselves. And if we are very lucky, when we stumble or are lost in the maze of possibilities – and this may happen many times – we learn to help each other through. 

“Traveler, there are no paths. Paths are made by walking.” 
(Australian Aboriginal saying)

Ann Moradian
26 September 2019


Rock, David (2009). “A Hunger for Certainty,” in Psychology Today. Published 25 October 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2019 from

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Dancing Through Time and Space

Yellowstone night sky,
A Retreat to Remember
Jackson Hole, Wyoming (near Yellowstone National Park)
June 29 - July 3, 2019, $550

I am delighted to be joining forces with atmospheric scientist, geologist and avid night-sky gazer, Scott Denning, and his science education nonprofit organization,, to develop this once in a lifetime retreat for you. In addition to daily movement, breathing practices and self (and nature) awareness practices, we anticipate exploring the geology and ecology of this extraordinary region during the day, and nature's open galaxy under the very dark night skies of the new moon. 

We will explore the natural history of the Earth from its origins in the clouds of cosmic dust through the formation of our atmosphere and oceans, the origin and evolution of life and biochemistry, to the many episodes of mountain building and erosion that have produced the spectacular topography and landscapes of the Rocky Mountain region. We will see the effects of ice ages and flora and fauna that have transformed the region’s ecology. We will see how glaciers and rivers and life have sculpted the land, and we will explore how modern climate change will impose rapid changes in the decades to come. 

Throughout these explorations, we will include structured movement to become centered in and aware of our bodies as parts of the natural world, through which matter and energy flow. We will come too truly understand how we are a part of nature, rather than apart from it. Participants will experience a broader view of the concept of nature that includes a deeper appreciation of the science of origin and destiny well as a deeply personal sense of dwelling both in one's embodied being, in nature, and in the larger cosmos. 

$550 includes the retreat program and very simple shared, dorm-style rooms (with 4 beds and a private bathroom). It is possible to upgrade to a private room (at approximately an additional $110/night, depending on availability). Food and transportation are not included. 

To reserve your place, please contact Ann or Scott directly.

Friday, June 15, 2018

ChildhoodNature in Motion: The Ground for Learning

This chapter, co-authored by Ann Moradian and somatics expert Martha Eddy, "aims to establish embodied movement as both the physical and metaphysical grounds for learning, including aesthetic learning in an ecological context. We advocate the moving body as critical to celebrating and deepening childhood nature... We suggest that developing a lifelong somatic relationship with our bodies in motion, a relation in which we bring our attention to our lived (psychosensory-motor) experience, is a powerful way to reclaim that wholeness which allows us to care and connect for self and others, to feel a sense of place and belonging, and to self-regulate our behavior for optimal interaction with our world..."

To link to the abstract and online publication, click here.

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
Eddy, M.H., Moradian, A.L. (2018), Childhoodnature in Motion:  The Ground for Learning. In Cutter-Mackenzie A., Malone K.,  Barratt Hacking E. (eds) Research Handbook for Childhoodnature. Springer International Handbooks of Education, Springer, Cham

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Global Water Dances (Paris) - March 22, 2018

World Water Day
22 mars de 15h00-18h00
dans la grotte avec la cascade
au Parc des Buttes Chaumont (Metro Botzaris)

Nous dansons notre reconnaissance pour l'eau. Mashol, que est venu à Paris de Ecuador, partage avec nous le Chanson pour l'Eau elle a apris a Columbia. Bienvenue!

Des questions? contactez Ann: perspectivesinmotion(a)

The best way to find the grotte and cascade is from the Laumière stop on the Metro line 5. Follow avenue Laumière and enter in front of the 'Maririe due 19ème' rue Manin, then follow the little lake, the grotte is next to the lake.

March 22nd from 15h00-18h00
in the grotte (cave) with the waterfall (cascade or chute d'eau) 
in Parc des Buttes Chaumont (Metro Botzaris)

Everyone is welcome as we gather to dance our gratitude for the water. Mashol, who is here from Ecuador, will also share with us the Song for the Water which she learned in Columbia. Feel warmly welcome to just show up. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Ann:  perspectivesinmotion(a)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

IMPRESSION: Sisters & Monster Mechanism

Elsa Wolliaston (foreground) and Roser Mantle Guberna in Sisters.
Photo (c) Christophe Raynaud de Lage. 

Sisters:  "While feet and fingers flutter like thoughts, and elbows and ankles anchor and thrust, the life of Guberna's character spreads out in a smooth and endless spiral through space like thick, soft butter. Wolliaston, in her chair, becomes a magnet that orients, a home to return to."  

Sherwood Chen and Yuko Kaseki in Monster Mechanism. Photo (c) Sigel Eschkol.

Monster Mechanism:  "The only effective section is what I call the “kiss and smoosh" bit. Here the performer’s mouths target each other like missiles. They connect momentarily only to slide fiercely off-track, leaving trails of lipstick all over each other’s faces. Performing with single-minded attention, the duo veers directly toward the absurd... When a performer aggressively shoves their ass in your face, it had better be clear — at least by the end — why. If not, the gesture remains simply grotesque.

To read the full article, click here.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sandra Abouav's "A bouche que veux tu?" at L'Etoile du Nord, Paris

Photo © Patrick André.

Okay, I confess: I set out in search of escape. While the world collapses in the face of human greed and violence, the often-bloated self-importance of artists has grated on my nerves. Sandra Abouav’s À bouche que veux-tu, a study of yawning and its metamorphoses, sounded like a pleasant diversion...

Abouav comes forward to teach us how to cut a(n imaginary) pear, on a plate that slips out of mind into suspended, yawning moments of mental wandering, like Salvador Dali’s melting clocks. It is a delightful immersion in the surreal, and it is, indeed, absurd. Words stretch out-of-phrase so far they no longer mean anything. They’re just sounds unfolding around and through you. This section is my favorite.

“To cut a pear in two” (couper la poire en deux) is a French expression for reaching a compromise. While Abouav talks, the group yawns themselves into sleep, first politely melting into one another, and then, eventually, completely entwined with bottoms and arms, necks and feet fitting together in a ridiculously improper merging of body parts..."

To read the full Impression, published by The Dance Enthusiast, click here.