An Inclusive Experiential Movement Programme

in Higher Education


 Proposal and Curriculum of Two Inclusive Training Programs 

for Higher Education

 This study has been initiated and been published DOOL – Dance Out of Line – Project, founded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union



In the first part of our study, we aim to summarize the history and key lessons learned of a promising initiative that aspires to implement an inclusive practice in higher education. Under a cooperation agreement between the ArtMan Association and the Bárczi Gusztáv College and later ELTE University in Budapest, Ildikó Bóta led self-awareness groups, first in seminars and then in the form of courses, with students from special education and other faculties and disabled members of the ArtMan Association’s ‘Tánceánia’ Dance Ensemble for almost eight years between 2008 and 2016. 

This programme has been an important developmental stage in the experiments that have been taking place in the ArtMan Association (and its predecessors) since 1998, aimed at involving groups excluded from almost all areas of development due to their severe and cumulative disabilities in artistic creation, thus supporting their personal development by developing means of expression through movement, improvisation and communication, suitable for mutual dialogue with nondisabled partners. A performing arts programme has grown out of the developmental focus and a broader mission to help break down social and cultural barriers between people with disabilities and mainstream society, and mental barriers to integration. 

The university programme was also groundbreaking in the history of Hungarian higher education, where students, including those preparing for a career in special education, were able to meet young adults with multiple disabilities „face to face” for the first time, and at the same time were given the space to reflect honestly on their experiences, difficulties and recognitions. In their feedback, they often refer to these sessions as a catharsis for life, highlighting the unique experience of the communication competence, empathy and maturity with which the disabled participants of Tánceánia supported the involvement and deepening of students who may be new to movement improvisation or even self-awareness work.   

Unfortunately, despite the growing interest and appreciation of the students, the programme has encountered increasing difficulties on the part of the university as time has gone by. The internal faculty did not take much notice of the programme’s values, did not reflect on it, and the programme was left to flounder year after year in the gears of the university’s large-scale operation, until the programme was finally shut down due to the constant erosion of the framework. It seemed that the idea of giving disabled people competent, leadership roles within higher education had failed, but the initiative later resurfaced with an internal staff member advocating the principle of inclusion in the context of ‘participatory education’, hopefully with more lasting success! The education is carried out with the involvement of fellow educators with disabilities, including an Artman member who was involved in the previous eight years of work. 

In the second part of our study, we present our proposal outlining a higher education curriculum to train inclusive dance and community art professionals. The content is based on our previous experience and our new experience in the DOOL programme. We hope that our work will provide inspiration, inspiration and practical help for the launch and implementation of a series of similar initiatives. We hope that their success will be as lasting as possible, and that their impact will permeate public education, culture and other areas and levels of social life in Hungary and around the world! 



ILDIKÓ BÓTA:   Inclusive Experiential Movement Programme in Higher Education

page 3-24

  1. The framework
    1. The launch of the pilot programme
    2. The physical framework of higher education
    3.  Statistics and timeframes
    4. Our place in the education structure
  1. Content issues
    1.  Development of the content of the programme
    2.  The registered syllabus of the course 
    3.  Concise description of the course from a professional point 
  1. Typical topics and issues encountered in the groups
    1.  Direct contact and communication with people living with disabilities
    2.  ArtMan members with disabilities in leading roles
    3.  Feedback on general self-awareness issues
    4.  Fears, anxieties
    5.  Feedback on method, dance, and touch
    6.  Impact on ArtMan members and work within the ensemble
  1. Tamás Barkó: Being in a teacher’s role as a disabled person – in reference to the Bárczi Programme and DOOL together, separately and in relation to each other
  1. Károly Tóth: Thoughts about the ArtMan-Bárczi programme and participative education  –Exerpt of an interview with Károly Tóth
  1. Lesson and course plan of a 5-6 classes course
  1. Outline of a 3 sessions condensed process  


ArtMan ASSOCIATION:     Somatic Art Specialist with an Inclusive Perspective

Curriculum for               1. Inclusive Community Art Assistant Training and 

2. Inclusive Somatic Art Practitioners Training

page 25-41 

  • Description of the training programmes
  • Tables of teaching unites Semesters I-II and Semesters III-IV 
  • Course descriptions
  • General competencies to be acquired competencies during the course


ILDIKÓ BÓTA:  An Inclusive Experiential Movement Programme in Higher Education

  1. The framework
  1. The launch of the pilot programme

The original intention of the Inclusive Experiential Movement Programme launched in collaboration between the ArtMan Association and the Bárczi G. College of Special Education (later University), was to introduce special education students to the work of the Tánceánia Ensemble and to involve them in an artistic process where participants with severe mobility impairments, communication barriers and able-bodied participants work in partnership to create public dance performances. The background to the initiative was that at that time, even students of special education had not interacted with people with disabilities until the last year of their studies, when they had to work as interns in various institutions for the care of the disabled. However, they had no experience at all of working with such severely affected disabled people, not as facilitators, but as equal partners with full competence.

The pilot programme was attended by a mix of students from different year groups and disciplines, with a wide range of interests, leaving open the question of how the experiences gained on the course would be useful to them. The participants of the pilot programme attended rehearsals of the integrated dance company Tánceánia (ArtMan) as an optional course in the framework of an 8-session block seminar. They took part in the warm-up and creative exercises, followed by a final process discussion. A good number of students later joined Tánceánia Ensemble and participated in the work for some years or became members for even longer terms.  

Already while organising the pilot programme, an important framework issue came to the fore which kept being an isssue in later years too: the number of groups. The essential element of the working method used in ArtMan is to provide a framework for reflecting on personal and group experiences after the physical/movement work mode: to formulate, to discuss with the peers, to make them aware and find their context.  

The number of participants in a group should be determined taking into account the space available for movement (space requirements for wheelchair participants) and the time the group can sustain in order to give everyone the same opportunity to give feedback or other verbal communication. Increased communication time should be expected if (as in the case of ArtMan) the group includes participants with verbal communication impairments: people with dysarthria (distorted articulation), people using alternative communication devices such as a typeface. Particular attention is required if the group includes members who communicate exclusively non-verbally and who require what is known as „sounding out”, i.e. they can only express their message by giving yes/no signals to the ideas offered by the group. The increased time needed for the audio narration of movement exercises should also be taken into account when blind and partially sighted group members are involved.

Student feedback on the pilot programme: 

It gives a knowledge that could never be experienced within the school walls, not learned from books. 

We approached ourselves and each other from a previously unknown angle as we tried to express ourselves through movement. A new channel of communication has opened up to us, which we will obviously benefit from. Another great merit of the course was that we were able to meet people with severe and multiple disabilities as equal partners, which made our relationship much more personal, this way we could tune our attention to a more subtle and sensitive level. It is a valuable experience for all of us to be able to step out of the role of the intact superior and relate to people with disabilities as equal partners. (2008.)

  1. The physical framework of higher education

From the following semester, the college organised the seminar on its own campus. From then on, the framework of the programme was determined by the college’s educational policy, the timing, the location of the classes, the handling of applications, the technical service and accessibility, over which we had less and less influence. Regrettably, the hall (gymnasium) provided by the college was accessible by wheelchair only via a service road from the back of the building, stumbling between service functions. There were no accessible restrooms in the vicinity of the gymnasium and in the 8 years of our project no steps have been taken to provide accessibility, despite the fact that since 1998 public institutions have been required by law to do so. Therefore, wheelchair users arrived at least half an hour earlier than students arriving without wheelchairs. 

Physical accessibility of higher education institutions is still unsolved these days therefore many young people are excluded from continuing their studies after high school. The fact that the university does or does not provide a culturally accessible venue for the sessions where disabled participants can arrive and work in comfort and dignity is a message and a measure of the credibility of the programme. Equally telling is the difficulty in finding the course in the protocol for the course and the potential for students to be informed when taking the course.

Student feedback:

Unfortunately, without a course description, I was left guessing what I would be exposed to in class. Well, I can be forgiven for guessing too much, but I have absolutely no regrets. (2011.)

Unfortunately, the codes and course names in Neptune (online registration system of Hungarian higher education) are not verbose enough to give enough information to make a choice. (2013.)

I was placed in the third group. I was a bit frustrated because I would have preferred to „get it over with” sooner, given the exam period…  (2014.)

The only thing I could mention as a negative was the timing. It’s not a good idea to take a self-study course just before the exam period, because you don’t always have the privilege of putting everything aside and relaxing and reflecting on yourself and the world. Perhaps it would have been a bit more relaxing if I hadn’t felt like I was doing something „more important”, although, when I think about it, I was having important experiences, not wasting my time. (2014.)

  1.  Statistics and timeframes

In the early years of the programme, there were five to six sessions per block, with occasional 3-hour sessions. Later, the university required an increase in the number of participants, which could only be accommodated by splitting the applicants into smaller groups. Since it was not possible to run parallel groups, the group programme was condensed into three sessions and the groups followed each other throughout the semester to allow for meaningful work in the three three-hour sessions. To keep the structure of the method opening circle, movement section, reflection circle, and to tolerate the longer necessary times due to changed communication skills and to allow for the exploration-digging-in and summarising steps in the series of sessions.

Over the whole duration of the programme, more than 200 students have participated in the courses, which have varied in each year as described above: Fall 2009/7 students; Spring 2010/5 students; Fall 2010/16 students; Spring 2011/6 students; Fall 2011/10 students; Spring 2012/(6+6) 12 students; Fall 2012/(5+11) 16 students; Spring 2013/(6+6+6) 18 persons; Autumn 2013/(7+8+8) 23 persons; Spring 2014/(7+7+7) 21 persons; Autumn 2014/(7+7+8) 22 persons; Spring 2015/(6+7+7) 20 persons; Autumn 2015/(6+7+7) 20 persons. (This statement is not complete because the instructor web interface is no longer available to obtain accurate data.)

Student feedback

During the recruitment process, I was always worried about whether I would get into the course, as the number of applicants was well above the maximum number of places. Later, I began to fear that the class might not start at all, because in the last days before the deadline for enrolment, more than half of the students who had applied gradually disappeared from the list (as it turned out, due to conflicts with other – specialised – courses). (2012.)

We got to know each other in the first class, which I liked because most classes have 200 of us sitting in a lecture, but here there were only a few of us, so it was much easier to talk about our feelings and experiences later. (2013.)

I’ve taken several experiential arts courses during my studies, but this was only three sessions. (…) This short time together was more like a very small slice of insight, which is not too little, but longer, and more courses like this are needed here, and I think in all areas of education where teacher training or training in any field of social care is involved. (…) Thank you very much for the experience, it was a very unique opportunity! (2015.)

The sessions never seemed too long. At the beginning I didn’t know exactly what to expect and I was afraid of how I would manage to stay together for several hours. But later, once we were in the thick of things, you couldn’t help noticing how quickly the time flew by. But the time between two sessions, the fact that we only met every two weeks, made it difficult to revive the previous moods, to return to them and to continue from there. (2012.) 

My traumatic experience was having to leave the second half of the class on two occasions. It was terribly frustrating to have to leave the only class I had enjoyed, and I could not even wrap up what I had experienced. This is not a class that you just walk in and out of at will. This is hardcore. (2010.)

Usually, I just listen to myself and I’m used to doing that. But in this class, it was like a second dimension of my attention opened up and I wasn’t necessarily interested in myself.  I had no idea that so little time could reveal so much! But if it were up to me, I would have spent more time in this class and even attended the other groups. (2014.) 

When I found out that we were going to see a performance as part of the first class, I was happy because it was a bit different from the usual classes. It was nice to see the performance, so maybe the movement in the second lesson was less alien to me than if we had started with it straight away. (2015.)

For my part, I would be very happy if there was a course called Introduction to Dance Therapy II. Several art therapy courses have announced a continuation, which builds on the first part, and this is a prerequisite, so I would see a lot of interest in this course if there were a possibility. (2013.)

1.4. Our place in the educational structure

The course could be registered via the higher education web-based administration interface, first as an optional block seminar and then as a compulsory elective. The first title was an attempt to reflect what the insight and experience of the work of the Tánceania Ensemble could mean: a moving self-awareness experience in relation to people with severe multiple disabilities. Later, the programme was classified in the staggered block system of self-awareness and art, but here the title – Introduction to Dance Therapy – which seemed to fit into the template of art therapies, was simplistic and misleading. As the years went by, the orientation of students was mostly helped by the verbal recommendation.

The course title should both frame the content and be attention-grabbing enough in the mass of university course offerings, but its classification into different subject schemes also very much filters out the interests of students applying.  Several students have reported back that they did not get the exact content of the course. The current university application system not only encourages students to apply in a hurry, but also to apply sometimes without any real commitment to obtain the required number of credits. 

In our case, the sensitivity of the subject and the work set up required the students’ continuous active participation in the process and openness to work with people with severe and multiple disabilities and to reflect honestly on their feelings and experiences, in line with the movement and dance therapy aspects.

Student feedback

A light, simple, short name for a class whose content is impossible to put into words. I’ll give it a try and write out all my experiences and observations that can be put into words. (2013.)

Last year, I started Bárczi as a correspondence student, working while trying to survive. So now, when I had the opportunity to take all sorts of exciting electives as a full-time student, with university as a priority, I was thrilled to find this course title (2014.)

I’m slowly learning that there’s absolutely no need to be afraid of course titles that may seem unfamiliar at first. For me, this course fell into that category because of the word dance. I was afraid that I would not fulfil the expectations of dance. As it turned out, for no good reason. (2013.) 

I need two credits. There is still room for me in dance therapy, but nowhere else. Thank goodness! Luckily? Bori says it’s gonna be great. She likes this kind of thing. I don’t.  I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go, I hate it, I’m in fourth year, I don’t need this fake artsy stuff four hours a week.

We’ll take care of ourselves. The class isn’t a class, it’s therapy, and as we leave, I can feel it. The sunshine and the calmness are flooding my insides. (…)

I’m sorry it’s over. I’m glad it’s over. I feel uplifting things. I don’t think anyone really feels that they’ve been to class. I certainly don’t. It was really therapy for us. (2010.)

  1. Issues of content

2.1. Development of the content of the programme

As time progressed, not only was the ideal time and technical framework of the pilot programme gradually abandoned, but the content of the programme also changed. It was no longer possible to delegate the whole of the Tánceánia group, so only a few disabled group members were able to participate, with a nondisabled leader. The insight into the working methods of an integrated art group and the corresponding creative focus on movement as originally planned gradually gave way to reflecting on the movement process with the disabled participants and self-awareness work, so the personal therapy aspect became the main element of the programme. 

Higher education institutions have an adequate role to play in offering young people seeking a place in the world programmes that go beyond direct vocational studies and have a broader personality-forming content. Where they can have new transformative experiences (in our case, direct physical contact and interaction with people with disabilities), where they can broaden their horizons, get feedback about themselves, confront their own feelings and limitations, and where they can open up new ways of thinking and change patterns of behaviour. The ArtMan programme offered this reflective space to any student when, following the university transformation, we welcomed not only students preparing for a career in special education, but also applicants from any faculty of ELTE (humanities, social sciences) and other art universities (crafts, architecture).  

Over the years, more and more experienced disabled participants have gradually become involved in leading the groups: planning the groups, preparing and running the sessions. The role of the intact programme leader was thus increasingly to facilitate the preparatory work, to put the disabled leader in the lead role in the group, to ensure unhindered communication and to „interpret”, as some members’ speech was difficult to understand or expressed themselves only through metacommunication channels (facial expressions, vocalizations, conventions of physical gestures).   

Student feedback

So I let myself be absorbed by a totally unknown world. A world from much further away. There was a much greater difference between me and disabled participants than between me and my fellow students. At the same time, I felt there was an interest towards me. Not necessarily where I lived, what my hobbies were, whether I had any friends, what clothes I liked to buy. But rather how my body, my personality, my experiences, my thoughts, affected their dancing. Their movement. Whether they can connect. Can I connect. This recognition – that they are curious about me – may have only just dawned on me. (2009.)

It has also been great to work with people who, despite their disabilities, remain ambitious, have dreams, plans, enthusiasm and, most importantly, a sense of humour. In my opinion, all able-bodied people could learn from this perseverance, learn from this example of kindness and believe that they can be successful in either acting or writing, travel far and wide, see the world. (2013.)

I have come to the conclusion that perhaps equality is not about treating everyone the same at all times, but about recognising that it is not just the blind, the deaf, the disabled and the one-legged who are different from us, but that we are all different and have the right to be different, even if the majority are blinded by this diversity. (2014.)

People who were „difficult” to be with in the first minute, I walked with them and alongside them in the second half of the class, feeling liberated. I know it’s normal to be frightened by disability (unfortunately), and I felt a little guilty about that, that it affected me at first, but after the class I knew that it was over, that I wouldn’t be affected by disability in the same way as before. (…) Because it was uplifting to work with these people, to become one, then it can only be good…. 🙂 (2015.) 

It was strange to experience how much more naturally and liberated people with disabilities behave in this environment than we do. But they gave me confidence with the great freedom with which they carried out the tasks. (2015.)

It was a very good feeling to come out of these classes because I felt that the stress of the week had left me and my body was surrounded by harmony and calm.  (2014.) 

I feel that everyone can take away from this course as much as they put into it. I tried to put in as much as I could, my thoughts, my feelings, my desires, my potential, and I feel that I received a lot of things accordingly: feedback, opportunities for development. Maybe now it will be easier for me to accept others, to accept people and my own mistakes, ideas and experiences as I see them, and not to try to see behind them or pretend that they don’t happen. During the course I felt a little bit that there are still miracles. (2011.)

  1. The registered syllabus of the course 

The Tánceania ensemble, which is part of the ArtMan Association adapts the practices of psychodynamic movement and dance therapy and the most progressive contemporary trends in the performing arts (deep body awareness work in the newest branches of dance, theatre and movement improvisation), as well as the experiences of movement development and movement re-education schools, which are unknown in Hungary, to children and young adults with disabilities, as a way of developing a communicative language, a form of expression, a form of self-expression that woorks well in a creative process. The main elements of art therapy with people with disabilities are body awareness work, inter-relational and partner work, and the experience of space, the process of moving in and creative activity in the so called ’highlight space’.

  1.  Concise description of the course from professional point

Aim of the course: to master and condition the power of attention to develop a high level and sensitivity of body awareness and alert presence opening possibilities of correction.  Finding effective and realistic ways to request and provide help. Creating a connection and interoperability between verbality and nonverbality.

1. Competences of the art therapy method: a.) experiential experience; b.) verbal and nonverbal dimensions of social learning. The attentional focus technique is used in both internal imaginative work and outwardly manifested improvisational work. 

2. Defining elements: a.) body awareness work, b.) relational or partner work; c.) working with aspects of space; d) working in a highlight space; e) utilizing all of these for accessing and grasping the corrective possibility of creation. 

Being in a highlight space, especially when observed from the outside by part of the group, helps us to get a view, recognise and get insights of our own current states through relational dynamics. Shifts in our relationships become more understandable and our vulnerability and fragility more apparent. In our experience this helps finding more realistic new ways to recreate our relationships. 

3. Each group begins and ends with a verbal discussion. The purpose is: a.) to recall nonverbal experiences; b.) to give and receive feedback; c.) to validate and verbally reinforce correction; verbalizing the events of the nonverbal part of the session as well; d.) revealing and clarifying the dynamics of transference and retransference; e.) create personal narratives; f.) to phrase narratives on group processes; g.) unblocking through acceptance and learning of our identities and differences.

4. Through training differentiated, conscious and adequate use of elements of verbal and nonverbal presence and communication (visual, auditory, expansive-moving, tactile) to achieve the most effective support, including the concept of self-support.

3. Typical topics and issues encountered in the groups

3.1. Direct contact and communication with people with disabilities

In order to understand the feedback to disabled participants, a brief introduction to the ArtMan members participating in the programme is provided.

 Judit Eötvös, Juci: she was able to use her mechanical wheelchair in a semi-recumbent position. Regarding gross movements, she could deliberately move her left lower and upper limbs: bend her elbow and straighten her knee and could move her left leg closer to the right one when bent. Her mimic movements were somewhat limited but expressed a lot.  She could smile, sometimes laugh with even voice but couldn’t speak. In 2008 she had been a member of Tánceánia for eight years.  

Dávid Eszes: in his mechanical wheelchair, he sat in a seating module, with his head propped up. He could only make large movements of his head to the right and left, and could propel it forward and lift it back. His limbs were strained into immovable contractures. He answered questions with a yes-no, occasionally making other, mostly inarticulate sounds, communicating animatedly with his eyes and mimic gestures. In 2008 he had been a member of Tánceania for eight years.

Gábor Potoczky, Poto: sitting in his mechanical wheelchair, he could propel himself with his legs. With assistance he was able to stand up, stand, walk and sit back down for short periods. His whole body was taut, with involuntary tonic movements. His disarticulated speech was difficult to understand. In 2008, he had been a member of Tánceania for nine years.

Károly Tóth, Karesz: used an electric wheelchair, was able to get out, walk and sit back on his own, but could only walk with assistance for longer distances. He had tight muscles all over his body, his movements were sometimes involuntary and difficult to control. His speech was disarticulated, distorted but relatively intelligible. He had been a member of Tánceania since 2007.

Csaba Bruckner, Bruki: had mobility difficulties, walking more slowly, sitting down or standing up with difficulty, but did not need to use any aids. His speech was disarticulate but moderately intelligible. In 2008 he had been a member of Tanzania for nine years

Tamás Barkó: blind since birth, he was a member of Tánceánia for six years in 2008.

Student feedback:

I had some fear before but vanished very quickly. Vanished, because I trusted the dancers and then they helped me to trust myself. (2014.)

But the most striking experience was the way in which, over the course of the lessons, people who at first seemed completely helpless, who you might think did not understand what was going on around them, and whose whole appearance showed severe disability only which pulled all our attention, were transformed into visible personalities whose existence we had no idea about. 

For years we have been hearing the principle that a person cannot be treated as a child even if he is severely intellectually handicapped, because he has different experiences, different feelings, he is simply not a child, even if he has the intellect of a child. 

This is a principle that I suspected to be true, but at the same time I found it very difficult to really feel it, because on the few occasions I have had the opportunity to meet adult people with severe intellectual disabilities, I have not experienced it. During my brief visits, I was always convinced of the opposite. People were treated as children and mostly behaved accordingly. I now feel that this course has completely destroyed that in me. 

Poto’s and Brucki’s manifestations and reactions were so unexpected that they triggered a lot of thoughts in me about what we see on the surface, what is real, and what are the processes that one generates by the way one looks at someone. I think that the fact that they have been able to reflect and participate in this process in such a mature way has a lot to do with the fact that they have been able to work for many years in an environment where they were seen as equals and where their needs and thoughts have had a place. I liked the way they humour each other and the way they listen to each other, to us and to themselves. Maybe it doesn’t seem like so much self-reflection, but that’s what I feel started the biggest process in me, and what I think I needed tremendously both personaly and professionally. It was an enthronization of my last Bárczi day. (2012.) 

In fact, I told my parents that every person should have this experience once. To meet people that the average person is afraid of and doesn’t think they are capable of anything. For me, it was a huge realisation how much they know and understand and how intelligent they are. I am very happy to have met Juci, Brucki, Dávid, Poto, Karesz, Tamás and of course the teacher. I’m grateful to you for opening my eyes. Thank you! (2015.) 

At one point, Juci and David invited me to join them, but I was afraid to go out. Another time Juci was dancing a solo and I felt a very strong call, yet I didn’t have the strength to overcome myself and join. After these two occasions, I was really hurt why I didn’t do it. One time Juci came up to me and put her foot on my sore foot. She gave me healing powers, which is why I regretted not dancing with her. (2011.)

I received a lot from Juci and we shared similar feelings several times. The very first was when Juci brought in the theme of humour and laughter, which was then introduced in the group. By the end of the class everyone was laughing, except Juci and me. We somehow could not identify with the others. We developed a very intimate relationship, just listening to each other, I completely shut out the outside world. With our subtle, soft, tiny, sometimes a little playful movements, we tuned in to each other, we were in complete harmony. (2011.)

The course had one highlight for me, Jucus’ dance. I felt that she could relax and focus on herself, even when she was being watched, when she was the centre of attention. Her dance gave meaning to the whole course, and I adopted an approach that our very breath is an element of dance. (2012.)

I am very grateful to everyone, especially to Juci and Dávid, who tolerated my restraint. And not only that they tolerated it, but they didn’t misinterpret it. This was the most fantastic thing about moving and dancing and communication: it was harder to understand but we were less likely to “waffle on” about anything, we were less likely to misinterpret each other.  At least that’s what I felt. (2011.)

It was as if Jucus and Dávid discussed it beforehand… Dávid asked me to be his voice. This was enough of a challenge for me already but even though I think it’s a big responsibility, it was around that time that I realised what a fantastic sense of humour they had. I felt that I was part of a team in front of whom, even if I say the wrong thing and miss the mark, I don’t have to worry because they are understanding towards me. (2013.)

Two key things this course has given me. One was the special relationship with David, the dances we shared and the fact that we became closer. And the other is that this course has also confirmed that I need to build my own stability, and not to expect it from others, not to depend on others. And David helped me a lot in this, because I feel that he did not leave me alone in this process, but took me by the hand. (2010.)

Potó came over, nudged me a little with his chair and reached out with his hand. This felt incredibly good, and completely changed the relationship between us. He helped me and I was waiting for him to help me. And then somehow I gave myself over to dancing with him, and from that moment on everything changed. I felt that we were now dancing together as a man and a woman, not as a disabled person and a healthy person. There were personal and intimate movements that were there all the time, and it was good to let it all out. Gábor stopped me at one point and seemed like inviting me to sit on the arm of his chair. At first I thought I’d got it wrong, but no, that’s exactly what he meant. When I was a little embarrassed again, he very firmly took me by the waist and sat me down next to him.  I was shocked by this firmness, which is often not found in healthy young men. He guided me, I let him lead me, and we both burst out laughing, happy and relaxed. We propelled ourselves on our feet, going round and round the room. It was a very rewarding dance, and I felt it was similar for Gábor too. Several people have commented that it felt from the outside that we became our own little island on the dance floor and the difference in abilities disappeared. (2012.) 

My initial embarrassment was eased by the directness of Karesz, who, despite his disability, has great spirit, humou and communicative skills, so much that he completely dissolved all my inhibitions about him. I no longer saw him as a handicapped person, I did not feel negative looking at him, and I even enjoyed watching him relax while dancing, enjoying moving and sharing it with us. (2010.) 

For example, when Brucki and Karesz spoke about society’s attitude towards disabled people, I listened in awe as they are really the ones who can talk about this authentically. (2013.)

I think if the aim was to release my inhibitions, they could not have assigned me a better partner than Tamás. We didn’t choose each other, we just clashed and then stayed together. Tamás immediately got into such an exposed position that at first I was surprised at, „he can’t be that open, he can’t trust someone he doesn’t even see”. Tamás pushed me a lot with this, I managed to get into the dance, because he offered me intimacy and invited me into the group. He shifted my focus from the disability to the other person and the dance, where disability is just as much a trait as any other gift.  (2009.)

I came into contact with Thomas once, which was a lot for me, and so it threw me a little out of the calm, superficial, forced harmony I had acquired. This was when I started to believe it myself… But overall I came away feeling much more liberated than before, not feeling overwhelmed, not drained of all my energy. On the contrary, the fact that Tamás asked me so honestly and attentively relieved a lot of tension in me, because often it is the unspoken things that create bad feelings in me (…) thank you very much for the opportunity and for making it about us! 🙂 And that I could become a disabled person who needed help. (2014.) 

3.2. ArtMan members with disabilities in leading roles

The years of quantitative and qualitative work in the Tánceania ensemble have spontaneously resulted in personal and professional maturity with which the group members involved in the higher education work have moulded their existing skills for group leadership into a new skillset.

Student feedback

The traditional helper and disabled person roles often disappeared here, or even switched around. Because they are more familiar with dance therapy, their attitude and acting were often signpost for me. I liked their brave way of initiating contact – both in movement and in verbal communication situations. The most beautiful example for me was when one of the men with limited mobility noticed a physical need of mine- that is, that it was difficult for me to hold my head in that position- so he came over and put his feet under my head as a support. Although this is a simple case, it is a beautiful example to me of the back and forth of the supporting-supported relationship. Each part can see the other’s need, offer help, and each part can decide whether to accept or not that help. For me, one of the visible results of dance therapy is that the disabled people who were present are aware of all this and, steping out of a need-oriented perspective, able to look at the needs of others and think of themselves as potential helpers. (2012.) 

I have a deep respect for them for choosing this path and taking on the difficulties of self-awareness beyond their own difficulties. It is a great thing, they are a source of strength! I really liked this class, mainly because of its honesty, finally a place where we didn’t equivocate, no one even expected it, but in fact, the oposite! (2012.) 

…trying too hard to help would only hurt and I would have the opposite effect. If I approached it from the perspective of the disabled people, by always trying to make them feel better, they would also conclude that the reason why these assistants are so busy around is because without them they would not be able to stand on their own on the ground in the real world. From society’s perspective, if we constantly help them, it will cement the view that without help they are powerless. Disabled people will not spend time and energy than to be more self-sufficient because they have their assistants who are doing a great job. (…) My point is that if we don’t find the golden mean, we can easily widen the gap between the two worlds instead of bringing them closer, even guided by helpfulness and goodwill.  (2014.)

They are mature not because of their disability, but because of the energy, time, devotion and power they invest in crafting their movements they are meant to display. (2013.)

The class led by the three boys gave insight into each of their lives. They are all extremely active and also true individuals. As they were more experienced in dance therapy than us, they let go much more easily already from the beginning. (2013.)

I had a chance to experience that not only able-bodied people can help people with disabilities but the other way around as well, we have a lot to learn from them: perseverance, empathy, optimism, and much more. (2013.)

This session was conducted by Tamás. There was an check in circle (…) Tamás spoke about his experiences in India. I had no idea that blindly one could have so much potential and achieve such a level of accomplishment. Hats off to Tamás indeed. During the individual warm-up dance, I „travelled” to Marseille to the sea. The dance went better than I thought it would, but it was far from smooth. I had a little „bad” feeling that eased at the discussion, but somehow it didn’t dissipate. All in all it was a good class, it was interesting to see how a blind person can give a class to non blind people. (2013.)

3.3. Feedback on general self-awareness issues

Sometimes it is necessary to be within oneself, because it is so hard to go home without thinking about all the difficulties I see. Of course, I also wonder if this persona who is always trying to help is part of my personality, which means that self-awareness also must cover how I behave around people with disabilities. So I can’t even decide what the right solution is. (2011.)

I had to find out about things I hadn’t thought about before. For example, that our bodies always express themselves in every situation. (…) it’s very interesting to me how much our movement can affect our emotions. (2013.)

During the course we had to pay more and more attention to each other, and the most shocking thing was to recognise that wheelchair users I was scorning before didn’t have barriers between us! But others, we did have – not only towards them, but also towards other group members. I/we are much more limited! I could feel the walls between us, but I didn’t encounter anything similar between disabled group members. (2015.)

With other students, we indicated that we would be interested in reading Brucki’s writings. We were curious to see what he wrote about us. It was quite amazing to recall those days through his writings, and very good too, as Brucki wrote down very accuurately who said what or reacted to a situation. (…) The conversations about communication from the class Brucki gave left a very deep impression on me. Both the diary keeping habits and the statement that there is no conversation without a silence. These brought so many new things to me that I was surprised why I had not thought about them more deeply before. What was said about communication stuck with me in an amazing way, and I could still analyse it now. This was probably my favourite session of the three. (2013.)

Once we are aware of our negatives and shortcomings, we can improve these things in the realm of our social relationships… However, it is questionable whether a negative trait does not form the pillars of our personality on which the positive ones are built? Is it worth correcting every little flaw? Isn’t it more important to have a healthy personality than to be perfect? The class was part of a larger whole, in which I can know myself in that predestined state that cannot be changed, only shaped. This is a work for me, every aspect of which, done well, is a source of joy, a sense of achievement. But in the meantime, I need to develop a strong, confident self-acceptance strategy in which I can accept my bad qualities as well as my good ones. (2012.)

I never imagined I would be dancing with a person in wheelchair! Of course, a lot was up to us, but if we look for the deeper meaning of the course, we have to realize that this class was not about them… It was about us! I could never have imagined how many and how much we are inhibited, both towards our own development and towards our non-disabled peers! Even if I didn’t manage to break them all down, I consider it a great achievement to have recognized them in myself and to try to change and improve them in the future. (2015.)

3.4.  Fears and anxieties

It should be part of our general self-awareness knowledge that our subconscious, archaic fears include fear of geeting paralysed, inability to move, loss of body parts, sensory organs. All of these may be causes of the generalised communicative aloofness and apparent insensitivity that surrounds people with mobility and visual impairments.

Student feedback

I experienced again the feeling that every person feel in the presence of a disabled person. My heart pounded faster, I avoided eye contact, even though my eyes were drawn to them. (2010.)

It would have been important to read the course description for one reason, because it said … disabled people were part of our group. (…) What???? I thought I was hearing wrong. I couldn’t even imagine myself connecting with a physically disabled person. It’s not at all that I despise or hate them, it’s just that they are the only disability group I felt sorry for. One of my biggest fears is that one day I won’t be able to move. I had several nightmares when I was little about being paralysed or missing a limb and being put in a wheelchair. I can’t imagine my life like that. (2011.)

The last time I got to the point where I decided: try to open up and connect with other group members in movement. It was a big challenge and I was very scared. I rarely experience that kind of fear. The first step was not to leave the group dance, but to stay in the circle with the others. I wanted to interact with one person. I made an attempt to do so, I sat down next to Karesz, if I remember correctly. That was the point where I really opened up. I had no protection, because I couldn’t use speech to make contact. I was afraid of rejection, it was not a well rehearsed and used tool for me to connect with him. Eye contact was the only channel I could use – and not for very long. Perhaps here I came a little closer to understanding what obstruction is. What it is to not be able to express myself the way I want to, or to be at the mercy of others. This experience was not a bad experience for me, because it was a huge step forward for me to take the first step, to dare to come out of my „shell” of security, even if only for a short time. I know I still have a lot of work to do, but I can see that I can open up in a safe, accepting environment without getting hurt. (2010.)

(…) we received a letter from the Teacher, pointing out that there will be disabled people working with us in class, severely and multiply disabled and blind group members. This was an unexpected development for me, and I was scared at first, not knowing what to expect. Because of this I arrived at the first session with curiosity tinged with a little shame. (2013.)

The only disability I’m really not so sure what to do with is visual impairment. Somehow I’m afraid of their world, I don’t know what it’s like, or rather, I know that’s what I couldn’t bear, losing my sight. (…) Luckily, I had the opportunity to have coffee with Tamás, have a chat and then laugh at myself for how terribly bad I am at guiding blind people.  (2014.) 

To be honest, at first I was a bit scared that we would be working with people with disabilities. I’ve never been able to deal with that sort of thing properly. My fear was confirmed in the first class, I found it difficult to tolerate their presence. I was filled with pity and I wish I could have gone up to them, hugged them and said, „It’s okay!” And it was OK, but to see that they could be happy and cheerful despite their situation moved me even more. (2012.)

(…) the only means of communication she had was one eyelid, which she used to signal to the outside world. Juci does this by moving her legs with it. This is a minimal movement for us intact people, but it allows her to express her will. The task is really up to the outside world: to learn to formulate the right questions. In my opinion, there is nothing more terrible than being a prisoner of one’s own body. I had very mixed emotions about Juci, and I was incredibly appreciative of the efforts she was making to be part of the community that had been created here. And at the same time I felt ashamed because I still couldn’t look at her without being upset by the sight. I paid tribute to those of my peers who were able to interact with her directly. Perhaps this is the reason why I chose speech therapy. I am too emotionally upset by my fellow human beings who share Juci’s condition. (2010.)

(…) who she would like to sound out, who tries to tell others what has happened to her. I was very surprised when he lifted his foot at the mention of my name, indicating that I was that person. I was terrified of having to speculate about the thoughts of a person I was meeting for the first time. I tried to place myself in what she might be feeling. Of course, this was no easy task for me. In the end, I was overwhelmed with joy that I had been able to get a rough idea of what she must have been experiencing.  As a result, although I arrived at the class tired, I left feeling completely recharged. (2013.) 

My internal defence mechanisms are working extremely well, I don’t speak to anyone, I don’t look anyone in the eye, I even try to breathe quietly. Of course, I had a feeling from the very beginning that I could not be invisible all the time, and I was terrified that I would have to speak and would have to introduce myself. (…) Until then, I thought it was difficult to speak in front of a dozen strangers, and I realised, after the music started, that it was even more difficult to move. (…) It was the subtle meeting of Brucki and Réka that really moved me for the first time. Of course I regretted being a bunny and not moving out of line. I looked up to Réka often and admiration for what she had accomplished, it must not have been so easy for her either. I still think of it as a life changing moment, even though it was such a tiny thing to do. (2013.)

 For some reason, the classes reminded me that I need to start working more seriously on myself, something I’ve been consciously working on since about graduation. What has changed in me – around me – since then is that I go dancing on a weekly basis, I pay more attention to my body and its needs (I have since learned that I was almost paralyzed as a child, which gave me another boost to love and want to be more physical), I read more psychology books, and I want to understand more about people who think and live differently and differently, and I want to develop a closer relationship with them. (2014.)

3.5. Feedback on the method, dance and on touch

By touching I help the other person…to delimit themselves, but also myself. By touching, if it is done firmly on a larger surface, I simultaneously lose or expand my own boundaries, and simultaneously delineate the space that my body occupies and fills. It was fun to play with how to fill it. Shaping myself in relation to the bench, the floor, others. This was the exercise where I managed to „make” the „pieces” a little more „one”. (2013.)

I must admit that I watched the improvisations of the others with bated breath. I was totally impressed. All I could keep muttering to myself was „this is good! It’s really good!” It was really good. (…) I could create a safe environment in which I could be completely liberated. Although I’m usually quite sceptical and critical of a lot of things, these encounters left me no opportunity to be critical of anything negative, because the unconditional acceptance – which, by the way, was not easy to create in that cold gym – precluded any defence mechanism from kicking in. (2009.)

Sometimes I cannot bear the weight of heavy fates. Because I can’t put it down, it sucks me in. (…) Anyway, the nature of the therapeutic-mentor-mentoring relationship suits me better than the genre of pedagogy. It is liberating to treat the other as an equal partner. Not to correct, not to know better than the other. And there is room here to operate beauty, aesthetics, style or whatever we want to call it, as a guiding thread, that might make a shift in the practice and methodology of pedagogy. (2015.) 

I had so much fear the day before that I had no words for it. (….) However,the exercise with body tilting towards different spaces worked miraculously, it simply wrapped up the pain inside me and brought it out, suddenly I found that it was no longer inside me and I was free to go out into the light, and I wanted to. Experiencing the confinement, the lack of space and the search for space and finding it, was an amazing experience in this situation. (2011.)

Finally some practice and individual contact at university, where the training is so theoretical, there are very few opportunities like this. I also understood that we need to ‘slow down’ from the fast-paced world if we want to be effective. It’s important to notice the little details, to notice the little pleasures, because some people pay attention to these things quite naturally, whereas we pay less attention in a fast world. (2015.) 

After all the dancing, the best part was finding the final resting point, when we stopped moving and described in words to Tamás who was where. Each time a position emerged that had a special revelation for me, and I still marvel at how we so naturally found such great positions in the room.  (2013.) 

Trying to verbalize the girls’ dance to Tamás (it was very exciting, a challenge I felt I could stand up to, and one that encouraged me to think about the intersectionality and complexity of verbal and non-verbal levels) (2013)

Language sometimes seems to me shallow for ‘painting’ inner images, memories, feelings. And the word, the text, too, enters the space through my body, through my outbreath. I’ve felt something similar, I’ve felt how the language drops into the body. (2013.)

By the end of the sessions I understood how important music, movement and dance are for all of us. It gives us the opportunity to clarify our own feelings and to communicate without words. We had experienced the joy of playing freely, I think we were all children again, just for the sake of playing. (2010.)

I currently work in a majority secondary school. Unfortunately, in my work I do not encounter children with learning disabilities. The young people who come to us have no idea what it is like to express themselves other than through speech. As a leisure organiser, I hope I will have the opportunity to sensitise them to this issue. (2012.)

Basically, I came with the personal motivation to make peace with my crooked arms, to make friends with my movement, to dare to allow my body to move and to dare to follow the „choreography suggestions” of the inner prompt that I had always blocked. (…) As we progressed, the personal issues I wanted to deal with got less and less important, and I got more and more preoccupied with the development of the group’s relationship and its growing cohesion. (…) I could go on and on, but for now I wanted to say this much on behalf of myself and my arms, who are becoming more and more a part of me emotionally and physically. (2012.)

I regret a little, not that I didn’t show more, but that I wasn’t braver. On the one hand to keep my eyes closed longer, on the other hand to do more exciting things, to trust myself more in the space. But it was still a very exhilarating experience, as I shut out my „most important” sense which opened a new world to me. Cold and warm, the dance of lights, the touches, the distances and above all: the uncertainty. It was exciting and I was able to immerse myself in it, even though I was afraid. It was also liberating in the sense that (as a small child) I felt that if I couldn’t see the others, they couldn’t see me either. It was just me and the space. If I had the chance again, I would definitely try it again, more courageously.  (2014.)

One of the most important things in this creative process is tactility. Touch is important because it restores my fragmentation, it can reinforce old memories, it can build new energy pathways, I can feel my partner’s impulses through the surface of my skin (2013).

While many people have reported back that when they come to the class they can leave their other things behind. I have found that I have been able to process the vast amount of events and changes that have been going on in my life recently because I have had no other medium where I could sit down for several hours and not have to do things or study things. For me the course was refreshing from this aspect. (2012.)

I moved consciously. I knew what I wanted to express and I tried to convey that as accurately as possible with my body. I didn’t want to struggle with the fact that the movements didn’t come naturally. And that’s exactly what made the shapes come – within a certain framework, of course. (…)The thing I was most afraid of in the first class was being paired with Juci or Dávid. Not because they did not seem nice, but because of myself. I always had problems with making connections, and in a more difficult communication situation I could imagine how I would cope. It wasn’t perfect, but that wasn’t the important thing. It was that the communication was natural. Just as the movements were natural and came from inside, so did the coconnection and the communication. (2011.) 

3.6. Impact on ArtMan members and the work within the ensemble

All the same benefits that disabled members received: meeting the ‘wider masses’. In Tanzania, we have been talking for years about the fact that our young adult members with disabilities are forced to live a very socially closed life, almost only meeting their peers and the carers related to their condition (family members, their friends, etc.). Going to Bárczi has opened up even greater scope for meeting diverse social contacts than integration into the arts.

As a teaching team we have also polished and developed. From 2013 onwards, our colleagues with disabilities were the theme setters, the theme givers. We developed the exercises based on their experience, we worked out the course of the lessons together, they led the lessons, the intact leader just assisted them, complementing their skills. We had some real surprises, elementary discoveries of the reserves of skills and abilities that could be found by complementing each other. We gave it all and got more: the opportunity to really connect, to be meaningfully present in a medium that is supposed to be about people with disabilities. As we were object of a practical study, we met curiosity, we got attention, and students did take the courage and the effort to look at us and to take on the burden of confrontation, because that is what the immersion in the focus of the personal experience meant.

It gave us a sense of self-esteem and a sense of rank to be teaching, to be lecturing in an institution of higher education, and we saw how professional we had become in our movement expression, presence and communication. 

  1. 4.  Tamás Barkó: Being in a teacher’s role as a disabled person – in reference to the 

Bárczi Programme and DOOL together, separately and in relation to each other

The experience of teaching at Bárczi was a new one, as it was in DOOL, but at the same time Bárczi could be seen as a precursor, a kind of professional preparation, a preparatory course, which led me to the role I took in DOOL. DOOL could be a more general sensitisation programme, however if we take it into higher education, it is able to be similarly specialised.


Bárczi was over eight academic years, with fifteen semesters, while DOOL is now nearing the end of its third academic year; the DOOL protocol is not yet as polished as the Bárczi course, partly because of the duration and partly because of the necessity of the pandemic shutdown.

Difficulties in the framework:

At Bárczi, there were more physical barriers, like where and how to get in the gym? DOOL was interrupted by the universal pandemic. Both been manifested in a kind of separation, but since DOOL is not over yet, I can’t compare which one was more challenging. I feel that even though I missed a lot of time on the Bárczi, I was intermittent in my work, I was still more interrupted by the shutdown during DOOL.

It will be 11 years between the start of the two programmes. At the beginning of Bárczi I was in my late twenties, we were closer in age to the university students. I had just finished university, so it was an easier time, certainly in terms of networking; especially because I started as a group member, we started in the same role, we just became co-trainers later on. At DOOL I’ was forty when we started. Coming into my forties feels like a real shift. Straight away in a tutor, group leader role, mainly for primary school children, who could be my children due to the big age gap between us. I don’t have children of my own, and I don’t have fatherly feelings. I’m more caught up in the experience of being in the community, because I was homeschooled a lot when I was that age.


When we were already present as co-teachers at the Bárczi, we prepared every occasion together week by week. As many of us could commit ourselves for that cycle, we were all in charge of a session. Of the six people involved, usually three or four of us were present in a block. The way of preparation was spontaneous, the quantitative and qualitative experience of the years spent in Tánceánia led us to a level of proficiency in the method that made us ready to be present and to act as assistants and later as co-leaders.

We worked in a larger team at the beginning of DOOL, and currently I am the only trainer involved. We have produced curricula for all three primary, secondary and tertiary school age groups.

Feedback, feedback, insight:

The absolute value of Bárczi is that it preserved a lot of self-reflection written by the university participants. They are a testimony to the sensitivity, focus and openness of all participants, and it is very affirming for me to see how they felt, saw us, thought about us, and it is a clear feedback that the role of disabled educators is important. Reading the feedback, I wonder if I should have applied to pedagogy instead of English, so I could be a formally trained teacher with disabilities by now. I should have incorporated the social field into my studies a bit more than I did in English.

For me, the feedback days of the DOOL programme are just as important as the project days. I like the questions and reflections because anyone can ask anything and I can answer honestly. Yet, at this moment, the feedback days are a little less pronounced than the project days. Reading through the thematically processed reflections on Bárczi, I hope we will have the opportunity to get a similar level of detailed and thematic feedback from the classes, both from the children and teachers who participated in DOOL. 

The role of projects in different institutions:

Bárczi was initially an optional subject, later compulsory, a targeted learning and sensitisation opportunity up to a certain level for future professionals already committed to the topic. DOOL is a leisure programme of sensitisation, awareness-raising and mind-expansion for anyone, without any commitment.

Source for the course material:  

We have taken our own material to the Bárczi and further developed it adapted for higher education. It was very good for me, for example, to work on and process the experience of my trip to India there. My experience of seven months in India could become the material for my own self-awareness. 

The focus in India was to generate projects on blindness, of which we are the starting point and the one who holds the main responsibility. In DOOL Project we use methods that were developed and put in practice by others, and we adapt them to our possibilities and situation. I am glad that there is a model ahead of us, there are many great ideas we can use even if we haven’t implemented all.


In Barczi, the space stayed the same, the gym. However, because of the size and complexity of the gym (two levels, long stairs, lots of smaller spaces under the stairs, sound on the pipes) it felt more like a hangar, so it was difficult to work there, I always had an experience of insecurity, it couldn’t really become welcoming. At DOOL, we always change classrooms or gyms at every school, and we work always in smaller spaces and classrooms that the students are already familiar with. So even though the gym at Bárczi was permanent and the space at DOOL changes from time to time, I feel more comfortable with the latter.


At Bárczi we rotated with the disabled people involved, only Ildikó Bóta from Artman stayed constant. With her, as art therapy teacher I felt really stable in terms of the responsibility that was given to me, it didn’t even feel like work. DOOL is different in many sense: I am the only disabled one involved and the non-disabled art teachers of Artman rotate. This is a challenge for me, always readjusting to another co-leader, coming up with a new plan, and the performance part is also changing every time. At the same time, I feel that DOOL suits to me, since I love this form of sensitizing work. If I could continue the course at Bárczi now, or start it again, it could never be the same. Bnoth because it was good as it was and because it has been closed in me after the death of two of my team mates. It could be continued, with the lessons learned and the experience gained since then but applied in another working frame such as DOOL.


I took my more personal things to the Bárczi, e.g. scent samples, postcards, music, recordings of my classmates’ voices, other than just tactile or blind-specific things, such as the white cane, eye patches, calling cards, rattle ball, etc. At DOOL we try to use as many of these accessories as possible, as we focus more on blindness, whereas at Bárczi we represented disabilities in the context of all abilities.

  1. Károly Tóth: Thoughts about the ArtMan-Bárczi programme and participative education 

         – exerpt of an interview with Károly Tóth

In my understanding, the ArtMan classes at Bárczi had a double purpose. On the one hand, it was good for the special educators to know their bodies, to learn anything about their bodies and see themselves better, open up to themselves more, so they feel more comfortable socially too. The other is that they can spend time with us, disabled people who are theoretically more “locked in” to their own bodies still able to communicate better through it. 

We show them that they don’t need to be ashamed of being shy to talk, we encourage them and even show example to follow, how to be themselfes. In addition, they can develop a slightly more lively relationship with some people with disabilities, learn about our daily lives, so that they can work more directly with people with disabilities in their careers. 

We, people in need for assistance may support people who have chosen a supporting profession. 

A class like Ildi’s is very body-centered. In contrast, the other programme, where I am a participatory teacher, although innovative, is very verbal in its approach to disability.  When we worked with Ildi, it was perhaps able to leave a deeper impression on the participants. On a verbal level it is much easier to hide or set barriers around oneself, but in the gym it is not. In other words, I think a body-based experience for people with disabilities is very different from a traditional class. The body can always be more honest, the body cannot always be hidden.

I have also seen from the feedback that many students are missing out on exploring social relationships and connections. A movement class is also an excellent platform for this. And for us, as stakeholders, the class is benifitial and constructive because this small community gives us a lot of feedback that we don’t get much in the ‘real’ world. j

In participatory education, I don’t specifically lead the class. We write the lesson plan together, but the lesson is led by another participative colleague or the vocational teacher, and I just comment on the subject or complement it with my experience.  There are certain topics, e.g. disability holocaust, definitions of disability. The formal instructor explains the academic material in the different sub-topics and we as participative instructors add stories and examples from our own lives. At the end of the semester, the students have to turn in a product that can be a paper on anything, but they have to work with us in collaboration. If somebody is working on a topic that concerns us and we are not involved, it will not be considered as appropriate and authentic. 

Speaking situations are difficult. I feel more comfortable in a stage situation than in a classroom. It’s harder to see a situation and reflect on it; say, if I’m in the middle of what I’m going to say and someone says something half stupid. My brain senses everything, even what I should say, but I get stuck. My mouth is so slow that I can’t do both at the same time, and then I freeze. I don’t know if the group is in progress or not if we stand for two minutes. 

For this reason, I do not feel comfortable in any group leadership role at the university or elsewhere. Rather than leading, I prefer to support the process and contribute at the appropriate point, but I might have a view of the process. I feel safer when it’s not so interactive. I can improvise when I know what the concrete situation is. Somewhere I have to get over the fact that even though I’m speaking slowly, I can still make sense.

For me, the basic question is how to develop a pedagogy that makes me belive it is really necessary for society to see me in that role.

  1. Lesson and course plan of a 5-6 classes course

Session 1: introduction, getting to know each other


A brief introduction on the method and the content of the course: why and what movement and dance therapy in general can be used for, and how this leads to an appropriate methods for disabilities and its origins. A brief history of the method developed in the course of the work of the dance therapy ensemble Tánceánia, placing it on the artistic and therapeutic spectrum, thus defining its purpose and competences. Reasons, role, brief history of becoming an autonomous method, with case studies where appropriate. Identifying individuals on the artistic and therapeutic spectrum, both therapists-artists and users, taking into account the practical (non-theoretical) usability of the subject and its novelty- non-referentiality; documentability, measurability of effectiveness.


Introductory verbal part: introduction, professional and personal motivations, with a focus on nonverbal aspects; verbal approach to the content, linking it to the motivational aspects of the participants and their possible questions to be asked.

Nonverbal middle part: internal work-guided imagination around the basic principles of the physical aspects, briefly touching on all aspects (volume, boundaries, weight, organ systems according to their functional and structural organisation, impulse-perception, change, displacement and reaction to these).

Verbal feedback circle: feed-back possibility on what was experienced in the middle section and what emerged in the introductory verbal part – thus modelling the bodily dimensions of consciousness: based mainly on automatisms (neuro-physiological), recognition, possession, conditioning. 

Session 2: relationship and partner work


Using the focus technique to become aware of our attentive powers, to recognise and become aware of them; connection with ourselves – attaining ourselves and the other; connection with the world around – our outer and inner world;


Verbal: feedback on the experiences of the previous lesson, the maturing of experiences, and the experience of the present. monitoring and sharing of the current complex (physical, mental, spiritual) state; creating continuity between the revealing experiences of the material of the lesson; touching on our current state in a psycho-physiological sense, verbalizing; exploring and increasing sensitivity towards connections between verbal and non-verbal levels, working on permeability; the importance of the group space, time, building intimacy; the other as a mirror (being present as a mutually accepted projection surface in the protection of the virtual space).

Nonverbal middle part: exercises with physical and emotional and mental aspects of touch and phisical contact;  exercises based on theories of maturation-learning-development in memory research, targeting the level of implicit relational knowledge; communication methods and theories based on assertiveness; exercises related to adaptation to the outside world (air, light, sound, ground, sounds, living and inanimate objects).

Verbal feedback circle: sharing, awareness-raising with special attention to group consciousness; acceptance of each other as partners, related experiences.

Session 3: limitation


Losses, grief as a determining element of identification in professional and personal terms; reduction and release in the case of different development paths, thus allowing for an irregularly changing and specifically individual development path.


Verbal introductory part: feedback from the previous lessons, creating continuity between outcroped developmental experiences and traumatic experiences, personal and professional (the helper and the helped).

Nonverbal part: exercises with confinement and limitations, resistance, spasms, concessions on physical, emotional and mental levels; innate and acquired skills and abilities; awareness of self-power and stress and pain tolerance, resilience, self-protection and survival techniques in modelling conditions defined by protracted crises (disability and its onset); burnout as a threat; focusing, awareness, management of the somatisation process by monitoring the enrolment self-support: overwriting/integration.

Verbal feedback circle: sharing, apperception in regard of vulnerability and exposure, activating the strength needed to bear it; the unexpectedness and uniqueness.

Session 4: Space


Realisation, complex presence (physical, mental and spiritual) without illusion, taking into account the parameters of the circumstances; awareness of desires and assessment of possibilities; manifestation on physical, mental and spiritual levels, practice of projection withdrawal, the importance of awareness and mindfulness.


Verbal check in circle: feedback on previous lessons, creating continuity between traumatisation and realisation as a process, in personal and professional aspects; acceptance of recognition; creation of conditions for development and moving forward.

Nonverbal part: exercises to develop the skills of self-reflection (structures: to identify and/or to differ, to accept and/or to change); improvisations as a way of practising reacting and adapting at a high level; possibilities of flexibility physically, mentally and spiritually; exercises in the highlight space (observing and observed);  Ordinary and virtual space, real and desire/dream space, responsibility-laden and facilitated space and time, diffuse and focused attention space and time, (pace and rhythm: activity/excitement and relaxation/rest) artistic as high level or mature, and ordinary as average; exercises to explore altered states of consciousness: the role of observer and observed, and when the observer is within the observed- altered experiences from the former situation.

Verbal feedback: raising awareness and sharing experience with focus on self-reflective attitudes as a prerequisite for constant renewal, for harnessing regenerative powers (both to support oneself and others) and for creativity based on this. 

Session 5: Conclusion and closure


Summarising the experience of the insights into the method, looking at the links between the parts covered in each lesson


Verbal part: feedback on the whole process, personal and professional aspects, incorporation into your own practice.

Nonverbal part: warm up in alignment with choosen themes from the content, followed by a final structured improvisation utilising highlighted space format, spanning and including the whole dynamic process and themes of the group throughout the events.

Closing verbal circle: feedback at individual and group levels.

Session 6: Free interaction


Placing the themes and experiences covered and encountered in the course in a broader context of interpretation and perception, free choice of context in terms of themes and modes;


Verbal part: questions, requests, ideas, desires in terms of possibilities of realization.

Nonverbal part: voluntary task request, organisation and implementation, in which even other ideas, topics, questions in addition to the topics covered in the course can be included within an improvised movement process.  

Final verbal round: feedback on issues of personal and professional responsibility.

7. Outline of a 3 sessions condensed process  

The three lesson blocks are based on the following condensed thematic and content outline:

-Introduction, disclosure, getting to know each other, self-awareness focus: ’I step on my own stage’;

-Definition, delimitation: Self and others, external and internal world;

-Conclusion, closure: leaving traces, signs, process, story.


ARTMAN ASSOCIATION: Somatic Art Specialist with an Inclusive Perspective

The Curriculum articulates a new professional identity that we hope will gain increasing recognition and operational space in the community culture of European countries that embrace the principles of inclusivity. The immediate theme of the programme is inclusive community arts, but we believe that the impact of our training will be seen in a wider shift in approach beyond the field of movement arts and arts education, linked to other inclusive endeavours. 

The training plan will be structured in two successive phases, depending on the extent to which the person interested in inclusivity wishes to deepen their understanding of inclusive artistic methods and inclusive community culture. They can choose the first stage, where they can engage in collaborative creative relationships with others of diverse abilities, deepen their understanding of the expressive possibilities of the body and physicality, and gain insights into how the culture of their own environment can integrate people with different abilities and needs. The second phase of the training will provide professional training for those who would like to use the knowledge they have acquired directly in leading creative groups, promoting inclusive culture actively or incorporate it into their work and life in other ways. 

In structuring the training, the aim was to make the programme as easy as possible to integrate into the structure of higher education. We take it for granted that the course is suitable both in terms of its content and its physical facilities to accommodate applicants of all abilities and that it represents the idea of inclusion in itself. 

In its current form, it is envisaged as a specialised postgraduate training course which can be associated with a variety of higher education profiles, undergraduate or postgraduate courses (pedagogy, health, law, social studies, sport, etc.) and, if necessary, can be supplemented with units that develop the link between the current main training profile and the present inclusive leisure and arts programme.  It is recommended that the full programme can be completed in four consecutive semesters, but it is realistic to expect that there will soon be a demand for an intensive version, where the original four semesters can be condensed into two semesters with minor modifications. 

The present programme description contains a content and thematic framework that can be modified and supplemented depending on the specific needs of the particular training environment and the background and interests of the trainers available. 

The most important thing is that higher education institutions, central and local government forums recognise the social importance of inclusive culture, create the necessary physical and financial framework and remove obstacles to its implementation.

Competences, knowledge elements and skills to be acquired during the training 

Training level 1: Inclusive Community Art Assistant Programme   

The training is aimed at: teachers, facilitators, artists, social workers, sports, law and administration, psychology, drama education, health, higher education students and anyone who wants to learn about the principles and practice of inclusion and deepen their knowledge through experiential studies.

The training is open to applicants of all abilities. Qualification threshold: secondary school leaving certificate. Eligibility criteria: adequate social maturity and stable mental health.  

Competences to be acquired: the training will enable the candidate to participate in programmes and projects in the field of movement arts or community animation with a recreational focus, as an assistant, organiser or in other areas of co-education and social inclusion. At the same time, the general experience and principles can also be used and adapted in other fields of activity and can serve to develop an inclusive community culture. 

Level 2: Inclusive Somatic Art Practitioner 

The target group of this training is the inclusive art assistant practitioner who wishes to use the tools of self-expression and creation based on bodily awareness and experiential movement studies in the field of health education, recreation or in artistic and leisure activities in the spirit of social inclusion and integration. 

The training is open to candidates of all abilities. Qualifications required: Inclusive Art Assistant qualification. Eligibility criteria: appropriate social maturity and stable mental health.  

Competences to be acquired: the training will enable the candidate to carry out community animation tasks, programmes and projects with a movement arts or recreational focus in the social sectors, in the public education and vocational training system, in NGOs related to children and youth, in the field of care for the disabled, in the field of care for the elderly and in other areas of integration. 

Courses of Semesters I-II.

Courses of Semesters III-IV.

Short description and the acquirable knowledge of the courses

  1. Inclusive dance and movement practice 1.

Semester I.

Compulsory practical training / pg

28 hours – 6 credits

The unit is an introduction to the world of movement-based creative processes and inclusive dance. We will learn about the frameworks and rules of communication that are necessary to create an open and safe „space” of movement in which participants of all abilities can find the possibility of self-expression, connection, collaboration and creation that is appropriate for them. 

Through guided movement processes, we explore the physical and mental aspects of the body and movement work. We will learn about the different sensory channels and their role in movement and movement organisation; we will explore levels of touch and physical connection; the use of gravity and force; the regulation between focus and open attention, allowing both the freedom to control and the freedom to let go of control.  

The classes provide opportunities to articulate individual and group experiences of moving and dancing, to explore the interrelationship of individual and group experiences. Emphasis is placed on the importance of self-observation and reflecting on each-others sharing; supportive verbal and non-verbal expression and relating in movement are practised. Together, we will develop a group culture of openness and experimentation in the group, allowing us to step out of our habitual, stereotypical ways of doing things, opening ourselves to change and new experiences. We gain confidence in supporting the group both in ways of being visible in the group and in ways of fitting into the group.     

  1. Contemporary community art tendencies

Semester I

Compulsory seminar / pg

10 hours – 2 credits

This course introduces the concept, means, forms and applications of community art (e.g. visual arts, music, circus arts, dance, etc.). We will share local experiences and experiences from. The subject matter is concisely a kind of „applied art”, designed to stimulate creative activities and the desire to create together.

Community Dance: : its important notion is that it takes dance and community experience to be the basis of the discourse between groups within the community, among subcultures, minorities, and the majority of a group. It uses the common movements, space, and rhythm to increase tolerances and make different social groups meet.

3. Creative dance

Semester I

Compulsory practical training / pg

15 lessons, 2 credits

Creative dance is free approach to movement and dance with a focus on the therapeutic – enetertainment – art aspects, which develops body awareness and provides opportunities for self-expression. The classes are different from traditional dance classes, with no right or wrong moves.

The fundamental aim is to communicate through movement, to explore the inner sources of movement, to develop individual and collective artistic skills and the self-awareness work that can be associated with it. 


– „Everyday Compositions” observing our environment, creating with attention; group improvisations; creative use of natural movements: standing, sitting, lying, walking, running, climbing; simple compositions; 

– Learning about the spatial and temporal categories describing movement that can be used in conscious composition, surfacing the content, describing qualities of expression, dynamic possibilities: levels, use of space, rhythm, tempo, intensity, process arcs (beginning, unfolding and ending), etc.   

– internal and external references and awareness of these; space and sight and lack of sight; prominent spatial scenes; 

– group improvisation, working with a shared focus, group creation; time and number limits and references);

– moderation, transitions.

4. Social integration and cultural history of disabled people. An anthropological overview

Semester I 

Compulsory seminar / c

10 hours – 2 credits

This course provides an overview of the patterns of relations between different specific minority groups and the majority society, and in particular the role of the disabled and people with disabilities in society in different historical periods, in European and non-European cultures. 

Understand the concepts and language related to disability in the light of the underlying attitudes. This will be the context for current efforts towards equal opportunities, integration and inclusion.

 5. Representation of disadvantaged groups in the arts

Semester I 

Compulsory seminar / pg

20 hours – 4 credits

Early paintings by prehistoric humans testify that disabled people have been present in art throughout history. Deformed or unusual bodies and minds have been depicted in various forms in every age of human history. Religious, social, economic, and cultural traditions formed how people saw disability or illness. Thus, artistic representations of disability tell us about a plethora of different cultural, social, political and individual understandings of what ‘impairment’ or ‘illness’ or ‘difference’ have meant in human societies around the world.

In this class we will travel through history to see and analyse different depictions of disabled people in different cultures and historical ages. Students will have the opportunity to explore how historic images relate to their own understandings of bodily or cognitive differences. The class will use visual materials to initiate debate and ultimately, the rethinking of the common notion of disability today, also building strongly on works by cultural disability studies scholars.

6. Experiential Anatomy and Physiology of Movement 1.

Semester I 

Compulsory practical training / pg

20 hours – 4 credits

The aim of this course is to study and become aware of the anatomy of the body, and in particular of its motor function, and to explore the internal landscape of our bodies, mainly through internal perception, visual and tactile sensation. In the process, the scientific knowledge of the physical aspects of the body, its movement potential, forms the basis of learning, which is deepened into inner knowledge through personal experience. 

We discover what generalities are helpful and what is unique about us. We can get a feel for the functions embedded in the body, think about their formation, their maturation, the interconnections and general principles. 

At the same time, the experiential approach recalls the initial stage of learning, when the knowledge of our own body and the phenomena of the world, the creation of movements, were inseparable.

7. Inclusive dance and movement experience 2. 

Semester II

Compulsory practical training / pg

28 hours – 6 credits

Reflectivity is the key word in this course. The aim is to apply the knowledge acquired in the Movement Theatre and Creative Dance units, to develop conscious, creative activity: composing structures (scores), practising group improvisations and reflecting on the etudes seen and experienced in the course of one’s own participation. Students will gain an insight into the world of Authentic Movement, learn about its brief historical background, try it out in practice and touch on its applications. We would also like to give space to recall the knowledge of the subjects „Experiential Anatomy 1 and 2” and to apply it in the creative process („process and form, dialogization, tissue qualities”).

Particular attention will be paid to the organic relationship between sound and movement, to the experience of movements with and without sound, and to the possibility of considering sound as a specific movement form.

8. Personal and community narratives

Semester II

Compulsory seminar/c

10 hours – 2 credits

In this course, invited speakers with different disabilities will talk about their daily lives, their individual experiences of the various problems and difficulties they face on a daily basis (e.g.: organising daily routines and personal assistance, the challenges of transport, learning, working, etc.). Through personal, shared experiences, we will bring into tangible proximity and dialogue the knowledge and opinions already present in the public consciousness, even the more difficult topics that have been „tactfully” avoided. We critically analyse common stereotypes surrounding people with special needs. Through individual stories, we try to see how our lived experiences and solutions are individual, how they are affected by or independent of the social, cultural and political context, and what our own role can be in widening the dialogue.     

9. Philosophy: body images, body interpretations, body consciousness

Semester II

Compulsory lecture/c

20 hours – 4 credits

This course is a survey and comparative analysis of the various cultural, philosophical and psychological interpretations of embodiment, with special emphasis on the question of body-mind integration. Recognizing and explicating the significance of the experience of living body has become a central theme in many areas of Western culture in the 20th century. The recognition of the constitutive processes inherent in bodily experience and the intersubjective nature of bodily experience opened up new avenues in philosophical thought, psychoanalysis and modern dance, in contrast to the body-mind dualisms that had previously characterised the Western tradition of thought. After outlining the dualistic legacy, the course will explore phenomenological-philosophical, psychoanalytical and cultural-theoretical interpretations of the experience of the body, providing a theoretical horizon for the practical experience of somatic training. 

  1. Movement and theatre as self-awareness

Semester II

Compulsory practical training / pg

25 hours – 5 credits

During the semester, we will examine the motivations and roots of the emergence of theatre in our time, an institutionalized forum born in communities, operating through serious playfulness, we will circumnavigate its basic functions, its reflection of the self in the outside world, its relation to the outside world. We will approach the significance of theatre as a possible mental health surface for individuals, small communities and society, a reflection of individual, community and social events and patterns within the framework of the stage and the audience (impact-response, activity and testament; moral.)     

There is a strong focus on aspects of creation, self-awareness experiences related to movement and body, to inner knowledge that spans or goes beyond the full bodily spectrum, and to high quality movement expression that might be considered as dance. 

  1. Experiential anatomy and physiology of movement 2.

Semester II

Compulsory practical training / pg

18 hours – 3 credits

This course extends the framework of perception and experience to organs other than the skeletal system and muscles, which are considered the traditional organs of movement. We will learn about their location in the body, their role in physiological processes and their observable effects on the execution and efficiency of movements. 

The study of the organs and physiological processes underlying movements will provide new support for the effortless, economical and effortless execution of movements, for the preservation of health and for the awareness of recreational aspects.     

  1. Guiding inclusive groups 1. – Issues in groups with special needs

Semester III

Compulsory theory and practice / c

36 hours – 8 credits

The unit will present models for inclusive group sessions and discuss, in a practical context, the psychodynamic, pedagogical, physical and art aspects and content elements that are important to consider in a group with different disabilities or other special needs, age specificities.

The curriculum includes developmental methods based on bodily knowledge, as well as good practices and good content elements that can be used competently by each group, both individually and in groups. The aim is that the main focus of the work is not to mask or compensate for limiting elements of disability, but to see, highlight and learn from the special, unique, irregular solutions that specific life situations call for. 

  1. Theatre

Semester III

Compulsory practical training / pg

20 hours – 4 credits

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the basic language of movement theatre. The sessions will explore how the human body becomes a topic and a vehicle of meaning in a highlighted situation. The aim is to acquire and develop a common conceptual language and a shared way of thinking about spatial and temporal dynamics. To explore together the presence on stage as the building block of stage reality, to examine and learn about its external and internal conditions and to develop the corresponding skills.

These areas are headed:

– play and engagement;

– spontaneity and awareness;

– awareness in space and time;

– exploring the use of internal images and projection of internal images;

– developing spatial and kinesthetic memory;

– multifocus, developing shared attention skills;

– real-time reflexivity as a basis for improvisation.

The aim of the unit is to enrich the somatic arts practitioner’s perspective and a practical toolbox applicable to any group.

14. Accessibility tools for different abilities

Semester III

Compulsory lseminar / pg  

10 hours – 2 credits

This unit will introduce you to the accessibility needs arising from different disabilities and the good practices that can provide appropriate technical, organisational and visual responses and solutions to the issues raised by these needs. 

This knowledge will help to identify the means to ensure equal opportunities, equal conditions for participation and inclusion in groups, to avoid unintentional discriminatory situations, and to share lessons and experiences in dialogue with students on the conditions, preparation and accessibility needed to enable the disabled group leader to perform his/her role with full competence.     

15. Health care issues regarding disadvantaged groups

Semester III

Compulsory seminar / c

10 credit hours – 2 credits

The course will examine the primary and secondary disadvantages resulting from different developmental trajectories, their interaction and the difficulties resulting from the accumulation of disadvantages. We will be informed primarily from a health perspective, with socio-cultural and educational aspects being explored only insofar as they are inextricably linked to health aspects. (e.g. mental health)

  1. The somatic aspects of developmental psychology

Semester III

Compulsory seminar / c 

10 credit hours – 2 credits

This unit provides a comprehensive overview of the main themes of the average developmental trajectory, from conception to old age, along the following typical life stages:

– the earliest capacities of the foetus: perception, movement, learning;

– newborn and infancy (0-1 years): early somatic adaptation; major stages of perceptual, motor and cognitive development; characteristics of early attachment and its relationship with other developmental domains;

– Early childhood (1-3 years) and preschool (3-6 years): role of spontaneity and self-initiation in the development of perception, movement, cognition, social relationships (adult-child and peer relationships);

– School age: (6-12 years): need for achievement and external expectations, adaptation to rules;

– Prepuberty and adolescence (12-18 years): consolidation of personal, gender, social, etc. identity; biological development, intellectual development, development of social relationships;

– Adulthood and old age: changes in social roles and their impact on personality development (biological changes, intellectual development, development of social relationships).

The knowledge covered will provide the group leader with a basis for age groups, and also with a possible understanding of the psychodynamic and somatic phenomena in the group.

  1. Group dynamics

Semester III

Compulsory seminar / c

18 credit hours – 3 credits

This unit provides a basic understanding of the group from a social psychological perspective and covers the movement, spatial and practical aspects of group functioning, with particular emphasis on the following topics:

– the group as a whole; the dynamics of subgroup formation and its manifestation in practice;

– framing and containment as a group need;

– the phases of group formation; spatial characteristics of the different phases and levels of development of the group process; characteristics of open and closed groups;

– Roles in the group: the group as a mirror of society and the family; manifestation of roles in movement. 

During the lessons, the topics are first explored theoretically and then worked through experientially in guided movement processes. 

Completion of the unit will support group work (group leadership, teaching), offering knowledge to recognise, become aware of and manage psychodynamic processes in the group.

18. A somatic approach to developmental movement 

Semester III

Compulsory elective / pg

12 credit hours – 2 credits

This course provides a practical framework for the main stages of movement organisation, from unarticulated, whole-body movements to more complex movement forms. The major somatic schools have developed different approaches to the study of movement development, but the so-called „major milestones” are the same, and they are also similar in that the purpose of the exercises is twofold: 

– the development of different psychomotor sub-areas through the unfolding of bodily awareness;   

– to ground and develop the gross motor function in the exterior space, according to the kinesphere or further spatial orientation, from the point of view of internal movement perception and experience.

In the context of the course, the students can dive in the exercises of a freely chosen somatic school, gain first-hand experience of himself, of a deeper layer of movement organisation, and expand his movement toolbox. The exercises capture the essence of the movements being studied in a way that is accessible to participants of all abilities.   

  1. Somatic schools – overview 

Semester III

Compulsory seminar / pg

10 credit hours – 2 credits

This course includes a conceptual explanation of somatics and body awareness, an overview of the various somatic techniques, the process of their development, an examination of their common and different nature, the work of the people who developed them and their relationship to the field of medicine and art. 

The name somatics today refers to a scientific field that studies the body from the point of view of personal experience. Somatics has a wide range of fields and applications, including health, education, the performing arts, psychology and philosophy. 

Somatic approaches and techniques that emphasise the unity of body and mind include Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Methodology, Body Mind Centering, Ideokinesis, Authentic Movement, Rolfing, the work of Elsa Gindler, but also Eastern practices such as Qi Gong, Aikido, Yoga and some forms of meditation. What they all have in common is a holistic approach: the interconnection or unity of the personal body and its broader life phenomena, especially the conscious aspects. 

  1. Guiding inclusive groups 2. – practice

Semester IV

Compulsory practical training / Pg

36 credit hours – 8 credits

This course provides an opportunity to deepen the practical knowledge of the areas, somatic techniques and theoretical knowledge covered during the course, according to the individual interests and professional background of the students. The general aim of the exercises is to apply the acquired knowledge to the skills of group management. The course is shaped by the needs of the students and the curriculum willbe adapted accordingly. The subject will provide the opportunity to:

– group leadership practice with different target groups;

– practice of individual and paired group leadership formats;

– independent creative and analytical work – individual and small group work;

– giving exact, supportive feedback;

– receiving and processing feedback;  

– individual consultation, mentoring;

– reviewing and practising methods of individual body awareness work;

– review and practice of composition principles;

– thematisation of group process, adaptation of themes;

– on demand: processing and repetition of material acquired during the training. 

  1. Somatic professional identity and practice

Semester IV

Compulsory seminar / Pg

10 credit hours – 2 credits

One of the objectives of the placement is to strengthen the professional support network and to prepare consciously for the challenges of professional life. We will take into account the possible forms of support (team work, group and individual supervision, mentoring, etc.), their adequate framework, the importance of recognizing competence boundaries and the importance of asking for help in order to maintain an adequate mental health status.

  The course provides participants with the space to integrate the knowledge acquired during the training with their own personality and professional orientation. There will be an opportunity to give and receive group feedback and to reflect together. The exercise will provide an opportunity to identify strengths and difficulties, to reflect on individual opportunities and perspectives for the whole career arc. At the same time, examples will be given of the strategic design, financial and conceptual development and management of a short project.  

 Individual interpretations of the identity of the Inclusive Somatic Art Practitioner will be formulated through movement and verbal processes, and practice in communicating the new professional identity to both specific professionals and everyday publics.

  1. Group leading skills

Semester IV

Compulsory practical training / pg

10 credit hours – 2 credits

This course provides a theoretical overview of the main leadership tasks in the life of groups in the light of the main operational phases. We will touch upon the development of the group and the importance of establishing and maintaining boundaries and framework (time and space), the facilitation of involvement and the maintenance of motivation, as well as the theoretical and practical aspects of closure and the associated grief experiences. We will analyse the relationship between the role of the group leader and individual character, issues of language used, the power of instructions, the importance of conscious use of words, voice or other means of expression in group leadership.

Through individual, small group and large group work, we will expand the movement group leader’s toolkit. We will practice the conscious use of detailed and overall attention, highlighting and interpreting formal and content cues. Drawing on the work of Winnicott, we will experiment with the concepts of transitional space and transitional object and their incorporation into group facilitation practice.

  1. Somatic work with children

Semester IV

Compulsory seminar / c

10 hours – 2 credits

The aim of this course is to provide theoretical knowledge and practical experience that can be used in group work with children. The stages in the development of children’s play, with particular emphasis on the 6-14 age group, will be reviewed and the types of play that emerge will be explored. We will look at the tools and music we use in our work, and the ways of working: bodywork, relationship work and creative work. We will look at the play possibilities of space-distance, own body-other-body, individual-pair-group, the dimensions of silence-sound-rhythm or imitation. 

We talk about the environment that influences the work, the goals that can be set, frameworks, contracting. The characteristics of children’s group leadership. The importance of keeping a framework and with it the need for a flexible and adaptive approach; the duality of lesson plans and the authentic process of the moment.

  1. Legal and social knowledge in regard to disabilities

Semester IV

Compulsory seminar / c

5 credit hours – 1 credit

This unit provides an overview of the aspects of the European and local legal systems dealing with people with disabilities, their changes, current trends and aspirations. 

It also provides an overview of institutions and services active in the care and support of people with disabilities. Independent, accessible forms of living, personal assistance issues, etc. International and local context.

  1. Ethics in practice

Semester IV

Compulsory seminar / c

5 credit hours – 1 credit

This course is designed to prepare Somatic Arts Professionals for ethical aspects of their future professional activity. After a brief general ethical grounding, the course outlines the moral problems that arise in somatic community and creative work with different target groups and the possible responses to them. The knowledge to be acquired in the process will be structured around the following themes: defining the essence of ethics; the nature of values in the light of alternative ethical positions; autonomous and responsible thinking in situations of conflicting values; recognising ethically relevant situations in somatic professional practice; typical moral conflicts in community situations; ethical problems of equal opportunities; ethical problems arising in somatic work, physical intimacy; ethical problems related to disadvantaged situations, age specificities.

26. Empathy and self-care

Semester IV

Compulsory seminar / pg

10 credit hours – 2 credits

The unit will review the typical mental accompaniments of somatic work and provide guidelines for their recognition, use and competent management. These phenomena typically involve areas of physical and psychological intimacy and open up levels of empathy and attunement between participants that may be less known to many. This can be an important contribution to group work, but like all change, it can be accompanied by a wide range of personal reactions. 

In the lessons, we will first of all clarify the characteristics of somatic work through practical situations and their processing, touching on issues such as:

– the alternation or parallelism of external and internal attention;

– accurate recognition, acknowledgement and representation of personal needs;

– intimacy and group safety;

– respecting and supporting each other’s different needs;

– exploring the protective and connective functions of boundaries;

– attitudes of empathy, identification and support;

– the concept and use of kinesthetic and somatic empathy in group leadership; 

– recognition of boundary problems, importance of mental health protection.

  1. Final project

Semester IV

Compulsory practical training / pg

35 teaching hours – 7 credits

Written and/or practical final project in which the student integrates the knowledge and skills acquired during the course in a field of his/her choice. Design, implementation and evaluation of the work through individual and small group work sessions with individual mentoring and group supervision.      

General competences to be acquired during the training

Personal competences : responsibility; developmental skills; self reflection and reflecting on others, self-reliance; ventillation; self control; problem solving; distancing, overviewing; physical, mental and spiritual stamina and resilience; improvisative skills; pro-activity – initiative; creativity; stress management; 

Social competences : empathy; interpersonal skills; open-mindedness; management skills; communication skills; structured communication of ideas; ability to apply “body language”; conscious adapting; assertiveness; adaptability; non-judgemental thinking;

Methodological competences: care, precission, methodical work, applying knowledge to an apropriate situation, localisation, focused attention, ability to control, finding new solutions, trying new ideas; exploring information, updating information; updating skills; methodological clarity and overview; organisational-planning skills; precission; decission-making; analytical and logical  thinking, alternative search; priorisation; 

Professional competences :  assumption of responsibility; recognising and controlling one’s current issues; conflict management; communication: giving and receiving contructive feedback; understanding of others, holding function; body awareness ; use of holistic approach; breaking down and evaluating goals; time management; pursuing quality; ability to adapt to a multicultural environment; enduring; skill for compromises; ability to function and think in a group realm; recognizing and handling group dynamical processes.