March 19-22, 2009  

Across the Threshold: Creativity, Being and Healing Conference


Current list of presenters
( subject to change )

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1 Keval Khalsa Workshop

Kundalini Yoga - The Yoga of Awareness


Kundalini Yoga is the Yoga of awareness of ourselves as a finite individual identity with our infinite potential identity.  The overarching goal of a Kundalini Yoga & Meditation practice is the ability to be consciously conscious, to dwell in your “Sat Nam”, your true core identity in every breath, moment, action.  Participants in this workshop will experience pranayam, asana and kriya, and meditation, and learn the benefits of these techniques.

Duke University
2 Jade Rosina McCutcheon Paper

The Actor as Shaman


Considering the actor as a shaman comes in response to the need for re-clarification of consciousness with the aim of establishing a greater potential of representation of self. The idea of self then becomes one that is forever evolving and journeying into new states, although always connected to a Centre.

UC Davis
3 Jo Ann Simmons Paper

Finding Beauty, a Photographer’s Discovery


The presentation will include a talk and projected photographic images capturing the fleeting moments of Beauty revealed. My hope is to inspire others to use photography as a tool for being in the moment and available to experience images and thoughts that hold the radiance of beauty, bringing transformation and growth.

4 Ava Lavonne Vinesett Workshop

Adura, a Prescription for Healing


The Adura workshop invokes specific attributes of African derived deities (predominantly of the orisha traditions), as they exist in plants and in our physical bodies which dance the deities’ prayers.  Participants create a dance of invocation and charge a “spiritual bath” which is distributed in jars at the end of the session.

Duke University
5 Tonya Omar Workshop

Awakening the Power Within by Restructuring our Thinking


In a society where we believe that having power is possessing dominance, it is key examine this concept. What is your power, how do you discover it and how do you apply it to everyday life? What will discovery of these powers bring? 

6 Richenel (Muz) C. Ansano Paper

Ròndu Habrí: A Format for Cultural Healing


Ròndu is seen as a test case for transcultural healing work that builds on transpersonal psychology, a spirituality of place and cultivation practices on both individual and group level. I will explore ròndu habrí as a culture-specific form of circle work that might be expandable to cultures other than the one in which it was developed.

7 Victor Jeffreys II and Lauren Matic Joint Paper

Catching the Spirit


'Catching the Spirit' is an exploration into how we can re-present altered states.  Toques in Matanzas, Cuba are used as a case study into exploring the limitations and power of film, video, photography, and recorded sound when portraying the experience of possession.

8 Kia M Carscallen Visual Art

“Seat of the Soul” Requesting a Space for Visual Art Representation on Nayo Watkins


9 Louis J Gervais Workshop

The Spiritual Practice of Contact Improvisation


This interactive workshop begins with meditation on the sensation of touch.  Listening to a point of contact, participants are then guided to surrender and transcend through the combined physical connection within this evolving dance form.  No previous experience is necessary.  Wear comfortable clothing and be ready to move.

10 Catherine D. Kmita Paper

The Inner Mongolian Dance Andai as Dance Therapy


Mongolian shamanism deals with healing and the fixing of community ills or personal wrongs as well as the relationship of humankind to the natural world and its spirits. I will examine the dance andai in terms of its connection to dance therapy to discover what properties make it effective in healing.

University of Alberta
11 Mary Lee Sanders Paper / Lecture-Demonstration

Invisible Ancestors Walk With(in) Us


In Western cultures, it is the genealogist who ventures towards an often overlooked domain: how (and to what purpose) might genealogical charting be adapted for the dance researcher? If traditional dance forms preserve memory/identity, and if dream-states creatively re-order the past, thenwe may investigate dream-based choreographies in the light of ancestral memory. 

12 Katya D. Wesolowski Paper

Dance, Spirit Possession, and Phenomenological Ethnography in the Work of Maya Deren


We are not merely “beings-in” the world but “beings-with” the world and others in it. Embodied ethnographic research allows us to both touch and be touched by others around us. A potentially transformative experience for social scientists, artists and educators alike, such research comes with its own set of theoretical and ethical concerns.

Duke University
13 Steven Feinberg Paper

The Significance of Song


Around the world, music has been employed in various forms to bring us closer to the divine. This paper will illustrate the similarities and differences of how song is employed in mysticism and explore the ethics of the commercialization of religious music.

Duke University
14 Sharon Avital Paper

Pain, Langauge, and Transformation


My paper juxtaposes approaches to pain and rebirth and attempts to understand their dynamic interaction as well as the role language plays in the process through an analysis of transformation narratives. When one becomes capable of writing down one’s stories, fashioning them into a narrative, the tale assumes a certain victory over and transcendence of the experience. 

University of Texas at Austin
15 Jill Green Workshop

Kinetic Awareness:  A Bodymind Health Practice


Kinetic Awareness is a somatic practice, developed by choreographer/filmmaker Elaine Summers to help dancers become more aware of their bodies by using rubber balls to help communicate proprioceptive messages and find habitual body patterns that may interfere with effective and expressive movement. This workshop will discuss applications of the work in a number of health contexts. 

16 Kimerer L. LaMothe Paper

What Can Bodies Know


Many of us at this conference want to claim that practices involving bodily movement enhance human living. How? Why does movement matter? This paper offers a philosophical matrix for understanding the transformative effects of bodily practices across cultures, particularly with regard to healing our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves.

Vital Arts
17 Joseph Sobol Paper

The Cancer Journey as the Rite of Passage


In the 1940’s Joseph Campbell proposed a unified field theory of narrative, which sought to draw together the realms of literature, anthropology, psychology, and mysticism. This will be explored in excerpts from our interviews, focus groups and teaching modules for health professionals, in order to add broader human dimensions to the cancer experience, both for clinicians and for patients.

East Tennessee State University
18 Heike Sabine Gaessler Paper

The Arts and Qigong: Sustainable Concepts to Enhance Artists’ Creativity


The traditional method of Chinese qigong is used within different art forms such as visual and performing arts. In Qigong thinking there are two different ways of achieving mastership: first the spiritual cultivation of the inner self and second the practice of qi-arts. The combination of qigong and art can stimulate new creative approaches, for artists and audience alike.

UDK-University of Arts, Berlin

Laura Dunham


Co-Creative Writing for 2012:  Crossing the Liminal Threshold for Wisdom and Healing


Participants co-create an expanded field of consciousness, access it for wisdom and healing, write about and share their experiences.  Examples from diverse sources like sacred texts, modern literature, and blogs are presented.   Workshop concludes with discussion of the process and how to share co-creative writing for wisdom and healing.

20 Sarah Carlson Paper

Of Ecstasy and Performance:  The Integrative Power of Movement


Drawing from a diverse range of established scholars as well as personal testimony, this paper is intended to be a description of phenomenon in dance experience. By producing profound connections within the self and towards others, participation in different forms of dance can serve as a powerful agent to reintegrate society and our selves.

Muhlenberg College
21 Ursula Payne Paper

Invisible Dialogues: Experiencing Transcendence in Dance Performance


In this paper I will discuss various sacred sites and examine the significance of this type of movement and cultural research. The ethical issues raised when appropriating representations of spirit and sacred art forms will also be addressed. Finally, an analysis of the methodology surrounding the creation and performance of several dances will be included.

Slippery Rock University
22 Anthony W Perman Paper

Awakening Spirits: The Ontology of Spirit, Self, and Society in Ndau Spirit Possession Practices in Zimbabwe


In the Ndau communities of Zimbabwe, people “wake up” and commune with spirits from times and places salient to their own local history. By examining the specifics of spirit possession itself, I show how these activities are central to the habits and relationships that shape self and society.

Bowdoin College
23 Larry Burk Workshop

A Century of Cultural Mind Control and Mass Hypnosis: Waking Up from the Trance


For the past century, sophisticated psychological techniques have been used to manipulate public opinion for political and economic purposes from WWI to the Iraq War.  Parallels will be drawn with the practice of hypnosis and techniques for terminating the trance will be introduced including experiential exercises using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).

Healing Imager, Inc.
24 Patricia Bardi Workshop

Spacious Embodied Voice


The Spacious Embodied Voice workshop  incorporates Bardi’s innovative work, Vocal Dance, which frees the voice to be fully alive and reflected in expressive behaviour and movement. It also includes Voice Movement Integration (VMI) Somatic Practice which combines voice with movement to stimulate and organize the body’s physical-perceptual-emotional awareness. 

Patricia Bardi Courses
25 Maryphyllis Horn Workshop

HUNA, Hawaiian Shamanism


This session will start with a brief history of Huna, my history with it, the philosophy of the “Three Selves”, the duties and physical location of the High Self (aumakua) and the Middle Self (uhane). The rest of the session will be devoted to the study of the Low Self’s (Unihipili) attributes. 

Sancta Sophia Seminary
26 Diane Wawrejko Lecture/Demonstration

Piercing the Veil:  Nagrin's 'Heart/Mind' Approach to Improvisation and Choreography


This lecture/demonstration explores dancer/choreographer Daniel Nagrin’s approach to improvisation and choreography, termed the ‘heart/mind.’ It illuminates the significance of interior modes upon and their interconnectedness between the conscious and unconscious, reality and imagination, giving participants practical experience in how to pierce the veil, tap into this internal source, and apply it to the physical body through movement. 

Columbia College Chicago
27 Claudia Marisa Oliveira Paper

The Performer as a Xaman: Metaphors and its Representations


This study discusses the concept of scenic performance as a moment of ephemeral events and cultural/anthropological representations. The established connections between the performer and the audience contribute to the understanding of this concept, and help us to establish the way each person expands reality, reinventing their own life.

Research Centre for Sociology, University of Porto, PortugalSuperior School of Performing Arts, Porto Polytechnic Institute, Portugal
28 Stefan Fiol Paper

Restoring the Balance:  The Integration of Human and Spirit Beings in Possession Ceremonies of the Central Himalayas


In this talk, I demonstrate that in the central Himalayas, spirits move through manifest and unmanifest states of being and participate in the social, political, economic life of their localities. I focus on a single possession ceremony, drawing on the perspectives of a spirit, a host, a healer/drummer, and a human medium. 

Eastman School of Music - University of Rochester
29 Monique Singh Paper

Embodying Spiritual Experience Through Contemporary Dance


Sacred Spaces, performed in two locations, emerged from practice-led enquiry into embodied spiritual experience through contemporary dance. Successful ways to access the spiritual in both the creative process and performance surfaced as existing discoveries. It is suggested there is numinous potential in the interplay of site, movement and spiritual impetus.

Queensland University of Technology
30 Leonard Cruz Workshop

Improvisation in the Classroom and the Integration of Laban Movement Analysis As a Creative Connection in Taking Risks


Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) is an effective framework for observing, describing and understanding human movement. My goal is to integrate improvisation and LMA as approaches to Curriculum and Instruction in order to improve one’s capacity as an Educator and to enhance, support, and deepen the physical, mental, spatial and expressive/creative experience.

31 Adel Jing Wang Paper

It is not Just Sound


This paper describes Wan Fan’s sound art, social background, and mythical view on sound, body and self. I interpret Wan Fan’s metaphor of “awakening,” and explore how Chinese sound art interplays with Taoist and Buddhist idea of transcendence, informing and enhancing our understanding of the embodied and spiritual experience.

Ohio University

Bonnie J Eckard

Maria Porter


The Space Inside: A work demonstration of a performance exploring importance of integration of mind, body, and spirit at the end of life


We will perform excerpts from The Space Inside and discuss how holistic palliative care operates in contrast to the traditional path the medical establishment takes when faced with terminal illness. We will discuss how the research informed our work and how the theatrical medium promotes dialog between healthcare professionals, patients, and families.

Arizona State University, Maria is from C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University.
33 Martha Eddy Workshop (lecture and participatory)

Embodied Creativity


Building on "flow," "multiple intelligences," improvisation/divergence/discipline, explore bodily sensations/somatic wisdom and notice use of low or high brain indicators when making creative choices.  Play with ImpulsetoAction, "SOMAction," Presence in Performance across creative genres. Attend to gaze, bodily position, intention, relationship, rhythm, rules, silence, spacing, stillness, support, timing, variation in art-making and embodied presentation.

34 Tom Hecht Paper

Stretching the Body and Strengthening the Soul:  Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Activism in Dance Training and Education


This paper explores the significant connectedness between emotional intelligence (EI) and spiritual activism (SA) in the context of dance training and education, proposing that existing educational curricula for applied emotional intelligence in ballet training can be extended through consideration of applied concepts of spiritual theories.

Texas Woman's University
35 Michael A. Sakamoto Paper

Killing the Buddha: Exploring a Zen and Butoh-based Model for Contemplative Movement Training and Ritual Performance


The performance form known as Butoh has, since its inception, been subject to gross generalizations and stereotyping in regards to its metaphysical and spiritual core. However, Butoh shares deep commonalities with a range of religious and spiritual practices. This paper examines parallels between Butoh and one specific Asian form: Zen Buddhism. 

UCLA Dept. of World Arts and Cultures
36 Dianna Bell Paper

Prayer, Social Order, and Communitas


Generally speaking, Christians and Muslims in the southern regions of Mali live and cooperate peacefully.  This paper explores an instance of the two groups praying together.  The harmony between the groups is reminiscent of communitas,  an analytical concept Victor Turner used to explain the power of ritual.

Florida State University
37 Laura Biagi Paper

Spider Dreams: The Healing Ritual of Apulian Tarantella


In Southern Italy taranta is a popular name given to the spider latrodectus tredicim guttatus, whose bite is traditionally believed to have an acoustic quality varying in tempo, tone and pattern. To heal a person bitten, a tarantella music and dance healing ritual is performed.

Vassar College
38 Barbara Sellers-Young Paper

Dance, Consciousness and Performance


For most dancers, consciousness in action is mediated by studio environments in which the mirror, or reflection of self in action, is an ever present component of their training. This presentation considers the incorporation of contemplative practice as an approach to educating the dancer aimed at deepening and cultivating embodiment.

York University
39 Wendy Crumpler Workshop

Embodied Creativity Playshop: Nia and Writing


Embodied Creativity engages the four quadrants of Being (mind, body, emotions, spirit) to access higher levels of energy. In each Playshop we enter into “Deep Play” using writing, art, and movement to open channels to our more authentic selves, our intuitive knowing, and our divine creativity

Embodied Creativity Playshops
40 Larry Burk Panel Discussion

Waking up from the Cultural Trance of Fear: Understanding the importance of the control of information and psychedelics


Our culture has been in a trance of fear since 9/11/2001 which has been enhanced by the  use of mass hypnosis and propaganda techniques.  Similar agendas of fear resulted in the prohibition of psychedelics in the 1960's. Altered states of consciousness and freedom of information offer direct access to truth.

41 Jenny Chafe Workshop "Awareness, Grounding, and Breath: Foundations of Embodiment for Troubled Times"
Humanities/General Like a storm at sea, our current economic turmoil is causing many to feel out of balance, unable to anchor and rest or steer back to safety. Participants in this workshop will take away three experiential tools -- awareness, grounding, and breath -- to release stress and come back home to the harbor of the body. We will also discuss how these tools form the gateway to the embodied creative process.  




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Natalie F Grier

Individual Paper

Energetic Ecology as an Emerging Discipline

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

A presentation introducing the idea of an ecology of  'spiritual energy' as well as a complex ecosystem tying together the polar opposites of science and religion. My goal is to make the study of consciousness and paths to higher consciousness come out of the age where there is no agreed upon standard for explanation nor verification.


Deborah  Quevedo

Paper Presentation Psychospiritual Integration of an Ayahuasca Retreat Experience Medical Science/Internal Medicine Individuals in modern society have modified traditional methods to create neo-shamanic rituals for purposes of healing, divination, and knowledge. This systematic study evaluates a modern-day ayahuasca retreat and seeks to address various related hypotheses and suitability for participation and/or the need for extra psychospiritual support.  

Joy Deborah Javits

Individual Paper

Arts at the Patient's Bedside

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

Joy Javits, Founder and Director of DooR to DooR of UNC Health Care, will describe is various ways the program, going strong after 14 years, which brings professional performing, literary and visual artists to the patient's bedside. You will have the tools to start such a program after this workshop

UNC Health Care

Ken H Wilson

Individual Paper

Medicine's Missing Dimension

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

Science-based medicine is a powerful but materialistic practice that is ultimately based in concepts of matter and energy. Although modern conceptualizations of disease have proven powerful tools for curing or controlling illness, many people still sense the importance of ancient ways and find something lacking in today’s practice of medicine.

Duke University Medical Center

Tarnie J Fulloon


Healing Your Pain – Physically, Mentally, Emotionally & Spiritually

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

A potent blend of fluid movement, free-form dance, guided meditation, and unique somatic processes, this experiential workshop is designed to move you deeply into the wisdom & healing power of your body… /a transformative journey through your body to your soul. /


Martha Suzanne  Patterson


The Sustainable Human: Permanent Human Change in the Context of Modern Culture, Promise or Possibility?

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

This interactive workshop will demonstrate the presenter’s proprietary philosophy comprised of models of animate consciousness; an emergent evolutionary brain; theories of natural and artificial intelligence, all recognized, as well as validated, through everyday experience and related implicitly to healing of the human psyche and physiology on a permanent ‘sustainable’ basis.

Intelligence Nonpareil

Janice Geller


The Practice of Embodiment

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

What mind/body/spirit practices, lead to heightened states of awareness, and alter our perceptions and projections? How are dance, music, sounding and theater employed in the practice of altered states of consciousness? What is the role of the human spirit in health, illness and healing?

Duke University

Porangui C. McGrew


Healing through Vibration, Rhythm & Creativity

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

This workshop will focus on reconnecting our creativity and deepening our relationship to sound for personal growth and healing. Together we will experience a variety of cross-cultural healing sound practices including: Vocal Toning, Body rhythms, Vibrational Entrainment and Ancestral Songs. 

Global Medicine Education Foundation

Sarah C. Arnett


Moving Grief through Physical Storytelling

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

Attendees will learn how Physical Storytelling allows grief stories to be shared verbally and then retold through simple shared movements.  The movement process generates empathy, new perspective on the stories of our lives, and the conversation that follows often brings insights, shared meaning and connections.

Moses Cone Health System

Carol Geisler & Mari Ann Graham

Individual Paper

Mindbodyspirit Re-Search:  An Integrative Approach

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

This integrative, interdisciplinary model for teaching research facilitates consciousness of various research paradigms so that students become intelligent consumers of research across the conventional/new paradigm continuum while designing and implementing projects grounded in who they are. Authors will demonstrate use of various art forms in this experiential presentation.


Shin-Ying Yeung


Becoming Vessels with Breath and Prana

Medical Science/Internal Medicine

This yoga workshop focuses on “the pause” between inhale/exhale and also between poses. “The pause” is a commitment to sense the depth of emptiness and the edge of fullness.  Perhaps, we discover that certain parameters become resilient as we fill and empty our inner spaces.

12 Ruth S. Day Lecture-Demonstration Memory for Movement: The Mind of the Dancer Medical Science/Internal Medicine How do dancers learn, remember, and perform movement sequences? We examine memory cues that dancers use (such as words, counts, non-words, rhythm, kinesthetic feedback, and visual images). Such cues can help – or hurt – learning and memory, and ultimately free dancers to go beyond memory and experience the joy of dance. Duke University
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Across The Threshold: Creativity, Being & Healing is sponsored by the Duke University Dance Program, with support from a Visiting Artist Grant from the Council for the Arts, Office of the Provost, Duke University; The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; and the Robertson Scholars Program Collaboration Fund. Co-Sponsors include the Duke University Department of Theater Studies, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Religion, Graduate Liberal Studies, The Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University Music Department and the Women’s Studies Program.

2009 Conference Keynote Speaker and Performer

Bradford Keeney, Ph.D., will lead a pre-conference workshop and deliver the keynote address on Thursday, March 19, 2009. His field studies on healing and shamanism are chronicled in the critically acclaimed book series, Profiles of Healing, an eleven-volume encyclopedia of the world’s healing practices. He is the author of Shaking Medicine : the Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement. Read more >
Bradford Keeney website:

Vincent Mantsoe, a South African dancer and choreographer, will lead a workshop on Friday, March 20 and present the keynote performance on Saturday, March 21, 2009. Mantsoe merges several movement influences into “Afro-fusion”, drawing on traditional African dance forms with a contemporary approach from modern, ballet and Asian forms such as Tai Chi, Martial Art and traditional Balinese dance. Read more >
Vincent Mantsoe website: