1st Edition

Reflections on Authentic Movement Theory, Practice and Arts-Led Research

By Eila Goldhahn Copyright 2022
    186 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This ground-breaking book advances the existing literature on Authentic Movement with an arts practice-led research monograph. It explores the history, practice and theory of Authentic Movement which integrates the fields of dance, movement and psychotherapy.

    Providing a contemporary and new perspective, the book moves beyond the purely therapeutic and spiritual aims of Authentic Movement and opens it up to new applications. The first part of the book introduces the history and practice of Authentic Movement, describing and illustrating origins, forms and specific expert terminology and explaining their rationale. It then develops an in-depth analysis of particular aspects of Authentic Movement, from the perspective of an expert practitioner using philosophy and the lens of art making. Case studies exemplify how the practices and qualities of Authentic Movement can aid creative, reflective research processes in dance, movement, therapy and research as well as in choreography, pedagogy, psychotherapy and natural sciences. The book emphasises a philosophical and scholarly approach which is rooted in interdisciplinary arts practices and psychotherapy.

    The book offers a solid grounding and guide to Authentic Movement will be accessible to scholars and students of Dance Movement Therapy, as well as counsellors, dancers, choreographers, psychotherapists and researchers in the arts and humanities.

    List of figures



    Part 1 Coming to Authentic Movement.

    1 An introduction to Authentic Movement

    2 A Personal Narrative of Authentic Movement

    3 Authentic Movement: A guide to Practice

    Part 2 The art of the MoverWitness

    4 Visualising Authentic Movement's mover and witness in art-led research.

    5 Being Seen Digitally: a film of a Long Circle in Authentic Movement.

    6 Sculptural Installations on the theme of obliteration: a response to themes embodied in Authentic Movement.

    Part 3 What is authentic ?

    7 Is 'authentic' a meaningful name for the practice of Authentic Movement?

    8 Towards a new ontology and name for 'Authentic Movement'.

    Part 4 Authentic Movement's new applications: the MoverWitness

    9 The MoverWitness: dancers' move to self-agency.

    10 Collaborative Choreography: Experimenting with a multi-modal approach.

    Eila Goldhahn, Soili Hämäläinen, Leena Rouhiainen

    11 Being seen digitally: exploring macro and micro perspectives.

    12 Authentic Movement and science: an ecological turn?



    Eila Goldhahn is an independent artist and writer and the author of Reflections in Authentic Movement: Theory, Practice and Arts-Led Research (2021). Her website is www.sharedhabitat.net.

    "This is a welcome addition to the Discipline of Authentic Movement. The four parts to this volume hold new essays and edited articles which are varied and still pertinent today despite having been published elsewhere. The author provides a personal history of her journey towards Authentic Movement, a focus on her original concept of the MoverWitness exchange together with an in-depth historical context of, and practical guidance to, the Discipline of Authentic Movement. In particular, the author takes Authentic Movement into the field of the arts and arts-led research, an adaption of the discipline to various arts media including film, painting, photography, and sculpture offering a refreshing and different orientation to the literature thus far. The author tells her own professional and personal development story with all the various influences from, for example, dance and Authentic Movement training. An overview of the various practice formats in Authentic Movement is supplemented with reference to the digital age, for example. The book is recommended reading for artists interested in engaging with Authentic Movement for their own creative outputs and others from education, recreational and health fields who would like to understand more about the adaptive nature of the MoverWitness in Authentic Movement. This inter-disciplinary book provides the reader with a comprehensive pathway to the theory and practice of the Discipline of Authentic Movement."

    - Dr Helen Payne, PhD, Professor of Psychotherapy, University of Hertfordshire.

    “Eila Goldhahn contributes to the Authentic Movement literature though a carefully considered re-framing of the practice, naming it the MoverWitness, while highlighting a unique creative perspective of the practice with her essays on arts-led research. This book gives the field a fresh application of AM, centered firmly in its rich and fertile history.”

    Marcia Plevin, Arts Therapy Italiana, Bologna.

    "Eila Goldhahn offers a rich and sensitive framework for rethinking the contemporary discipline Authentic Movement. The reader is guided through the various components of the method with maintained respect for the legacy of ideas. Goldhahn creates a lucid web of knowledge rather than analysing components one-by-one, beautifully conveying a sense of what the discipline of Authentic Movement is all about. Knowledge emerges with a linguistic simplicity that does not simplify complex matters. This book will certainly serve students on their learning path within the field of Dance Movement Therapy. The guidelines in chapter three also offer university teachers in DMT an embodied frame of thought that is far more helpful than what a concrete step-by-step manual-based instruction would be. Goldhahn’s approach highlights the value of human communication within university learning. For students, teachers as well as readers outside of the academy who are interested in Authentic Movement – this book is a gift!"

    Eva Tillberg, registrered dance movement therapist, licensed psychotherapist, supervisor and university teacher in psychotherapy and in DMT, Karlstad University, Sweden.

    "With vivid descriptions, penetrating and clear language, Dr.  Goldhahn's outstanding body of work is at last readily accessible to the global audience of Authentic Movement scholars and practitioners. It is a profoundly original undertaking, one that not only maps the history of the practice and the discipline, but also expands it through art as well as performative research. Dr. Goldhahn's writing rhythm, sometimes syncopated, at other times fluidly poetic, makes reading her book a pleasure. She paints artistry as witnessing and object-making as dancing movement. Her installations bridge life, death, and ritual, reminding us how private and public spaces in Authentic Movement come to be­—through shared experiences. Dance, imagination, interpretation, and inner witnessing take on deeper meaning and scope via her "camera-witnessing" technique. In her search for an ontologically adequate and methodologically correct term, Dr. Goldhahn merged the constant experience of opposites in Authentic Movement into one fluid expanse of possible relationships and connections she named MoverWitness. Her holistic merging of science, aesthetics, kinesthesia and proprioception uproots Cartesian dualism. This allows us becoming one with, and at the same time, micro-focusing on elements of the urban environments or natural habitats. At the end, Dr. Goldhahn invites us to explore MoverWitness for its ecological clarion call to stop the destruction of our world. She is devoted to communicating "the realization of the interconnectedness and dependencies of all ecologies" in her strong belief that "creative embodiment, empathy, and non-judgmental way to use language" in collaborative relationships will foster and shape a new world for all living creatures."

    - Patrizia Pallaro, Moving the Self Psychotherapy Center, Annapolis, MD


    "Eila Goldhahn takes readers on a captivating journey while they are sitting with the book in their hands: it includes Authentic Movement’s history, acknowledges its roots in dance and the cultural processes of its time, in visual arts, Freudian psychoanalysis, Jungian psychology and the shaping up of a quite specific discipline of its own. As readers traverse the book pages, doors open to enrich their knowledge and understanding even for those not solely focused on Authentic Movement training."

    - Hilda Wengrower, Psy. D., Registered Dance Movement Therapist and Clinical Supervisor

    "I have just finished the book!  What a beautiful offering. It was clear throughout how thorough and wide the depth of Eila’s thinking expanded, the reach into science and art and philosophy.” 

    - Janet Adler (1941-2023), founder of the Discipline of Authentic Movement