Monday, October 13, 2014

Dance as science and way of life

Exploring movement mechanics and different cultures 

Christina has been involved in the dance field many years now, by perfotming and studying as well as conducting research in movement mechanincs. 
After Greece and London, she now lives in Amsterdam, building up on her own movement methods and doing sessions for dancers, athletes and amateurs. 

by Aqvilon

Name:   Christina Mastori
Age:      24
From:   Athens, Greece
To:       Amsterdam, the Netherlands
For:      Movement & Bodywork workshops and sessions

1. Your basic education and interest.

With dance and movement exploration being my paramount interest I studied Dance, Sports and Exercise Science at Roehampton university in London, UK with a focus on performance biomechanics and injury prevention training.

I continued my studies with a masters in Dance Science, from Trinity Laban conservatoire of Music & Dance in London,UK where I focused on Neuroscience, Somatics & Physiology.

2. You and dance. The start and the development of this relationship. 

I started training in classical ballet from my early childhood and it didn’t take long for me to start exploring contemporary dance techniques as well.
At the university I concentrated in a partnering dance form called Contact Improvisation where touch and physical laws such as gravity, momentum,inertia, etc are the main principles.
As it happens frequently with dancers, I had a number of injuries that prevented me from dancing for extended periods of time. For that reason I decided to study the mechanics of movement and explore the variety of possibilities that the human body offers.

3. London. How long did you stay and what did you do. 

I was born in London, therefore my connection with the city was already strong. But during my adult years I stayed there for 4.5 adventurous years. I studied, met people, generally enjoyed myself to the fullest and it definitely re-shaped my point of view for the world.

4. The most important thing you took from London. 

The feeling of being able to be yourself and express your ideas and opinions freely. Individuality is always strongly encouraged!

by Aqvilon

5. Amsterdam. The most exciting thing about it.

A very multi-cultural city I would say. You have the chance to meet people from numerous parts of the world. Share your ideas and even some traditions. After spending some time here you have a small but useful knowledge of more than 4 languages that you normally wouldn’t learn, in any other case.

6. Your motivation to change city once again. 

Connecting with people and experiencing different cultures. Opening yourself to new possibilities.

7. What do you try for in this city.  Or what do you do. 

I have recently started my own practice and I am collaborating and sharing the space with an Art Healer.
 I am teaching body awareness and movement refinement through bodywork and movement sessions. I also offer a kinetic training and biomechanics programme designed for athletes and dancers that want to understand their bodies and enhance their exercise performance.

8. How would you like to personally contribute in the dance sphere and the human-dance interaction.

I am interested in assisting people re-connecting with their bodies, re-gaining balance and control while moving more ergonomically. It is very fascinating to see people exploring their movement possibilities through personal expressive dance.

9. Your greatest achievement so far.  Or the most intense memory.

I could consider an achievement being able to follow my dreams and interests while traveling and exploring multiple parts of our world. But I would definitely not take the whole credit for it.
Almost every memory on stage is intense for me. Performing is a strong mental and physical experience that activates your survival instincts.

10. In what way dance may have cure dynamics? 

When you are dancing it’s because you are eager to move. It’s a creative act which engages you in a number of ways; physically, emotionally, instinctively,etc. Therefore, dance could be considered more of a holistic approach than any other kind of physical therapy, in the form of exercise repetitions. Moreover, when you are dancing you become aware of your movement possibilities and limitations. You pay more attention on how your body feels and you become more able to identify problematic areas that cause discomfort and tension. This is happening for the simple reason of exploring your movement potentials and enriching your movement “vocabulary”.

11. Have you developed your own methods?

Yes. During my masters degree I started developing a neuro-movement programme based on the effects of touch and sensory awareness called Somanatomics. In my practice the main focus is given on the feedback that you receive from your body when you move. In order to get rid of all the habitual patterns that may cause discomfort in your every day and stop you from experiencing your life fully. We develop these habits in order to cope with the fast pace of our lives and we end up using our bodies automatically. We wake up, change our clothes, brush our teeth and walk to work in the same way everyday. With bodywork and movement sessions you retrain your mind to control the muscle activity, consciously engage and relax muscles. To achieve this you will have to learn how to take a step back, observe yourself and understand the signals you receive from your body.

12. Artists and situations that inspire you. 

I will say that most of the dancers,athletes that I have met have inspired me. Due to their strong will, athletic excellence, their discipline and achieving effortless visual results while being in serious physical strain. I would say that Sylvie Guillem has definitely raised my expectations for dance performance and Pina Bausch has planted a seed for individual expression and pushing my physical and mental limits further.
Thomas Hanna and his revolutionary work in the Somatics field have also been a major influence and inspiration for my work.
And I find the neuroscience findings and applications thrilling and they have proven to be a great impetus for me.

13. The most difficult thing to get used to in the Netherlands.

That would be the lack of delicious vegetables and fruits, but that is an expectation you give up when you leave Greece!
Another difficult thing to get used to would be considering as “the sea” any kind of dark coloured water.

14. Where do you see yourself in the future. 

Not easy to say. I would like to keep experiencing new cultures and keep my possibilities open.

15. Your personal definition of “home”

Home is anywhere I feel comfortable, happy and I am able to do the things that I love. A place that challenges me and offers me new experiences.

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