Friday, April 28, 2017

Efficacy of ReWire – Dancing States Movement Technique in Mixed-Ability Populations

I had always looked for a mentor in the dance improvisation world in the USA after graduation from the North Karelia Institute in Finland and then I met Nina Martin. She blew me away with her precise, well-thought practice of improvisational dance. Something that I had missed ever since leaving Finland. I found that all in Nina Martin’s work. Her technique and language for studying dance improvisation is something I strive for.

So, when we at Body Shift were thinking who to bring to teach our intensive in 2014, we all thought that Nina would be perfect, especially since dance improvisation plays a big role in the way we create performances. She would be just the right person to push us to the next level of creating in the moment. Nina was excited but a little hesitant when we asked her. She had never taught mixed-ability groups before and yet we were able to convince her to come. After all, Body Shift would make sure she had everything she needed to feel comfortable and have a successful experience. Nina taught her ReWire – Dancing States and Ensemble Thinking for the first time at that year’s intensive.
Nina Martin explaining ensemble thinking in Body Shift's 2014 intensive
Little did we know, her work had surprising impacts on participants with cerebral palsy. In fact, her “fussy baby” work was changing bodies right before our eyes. It was amazing! Some dancers said their ability to get into a relaxed state and stay there improved. Others said their body alignment and fine motor skills were better. Body Shift honored this life-changing moment and invited Nina to come back to Austin twice more that fall.

I saw Nina again at the Texas Dance Improvisation Festival, which is an amazing dance festival you can find more information about on their Facebook page, in Huntsville in the fall of 2016. She said that she wanted to meet with Body Shift again to conduct a pilot research study on the efficacy of ReWire – Dancing States on people living with cerebral palsy. Of course we jumped at the chance and finished our second weekend of the pilot study at the beginning of April. The results were even more astounding, we were onto something big!

“Living with cerebral palsy is like trying to embrace chaos without a road map. It’s next to impossible sometimes. I’m always fighting against my spasticity pleading with my body to cooperate. My mind and body are forever searching for moments of synchronicity,” said Body Shift dancer Tanya Winters. “Fussy baby and the ReWire work gives me the road map I need to delve into the chaos, explore it, and make sense of it. I am learning that my body can tell me what it needs. I feel empowered and can’t wait to know more. Thank you Nina!”

Nina will present this work at the Body Mind Centering Conference this July in San Marcos. I hope you can join us there!
Dancers participating in Body Shift intensive with Nina Martin


  1. Thank you Silva for your post! Looking forward to continuing our work!

  2. Thank you Silva for yours and Tanya's comments. The work with Body Shift has had a big impact on the direction of my research.