Arts in the Environment: Going to the Source

A Study of Group Process in the Natural World
Ian Brownell

In 1992 and ’93, Norma developed a creative dance workshop in Kansas for teachers, artists and therapists which took place in a wilderness environment and focused on our place in and connection to the natural world. This unique outdoor workshop transported a group of teachers, therapists and artists into a dramatic natural setting for the opportunity to experience creative expression and recapture a child’s sense of wonder. Through individual and group exploration, internal and external dialoguing with the self, others and the environment, viewers are able to join the group’s ability to play, discover and transform. Through creative dance, song and other structured sensory experiences, participants explored the way place affects the very nature of the learning process and increased both their personal and group awareness of the integral connection between creativity and place. The video provides an opportunity to witness the creative spark between person and place as we trace the group’s journey through magnificent chalk cliffs that were carved by an ancient sea in Western Kansas.

From Eleanor Irwin, PhD, RDT, TEP:
“In this film we watch Norma Canner, a movement/dance therapist, as she worked with a diverse group of men and women for four days in a “primal landscape.” The objective of this unusual experience was a quest to “rediscover a childhood sense of wonder” in the exploration of this unusual environment.  We follow the group going through explorations of the environment, beginning with the freedom to experience their bodies in fluid motion, first alone, then with a partner, and then as a group. Along the way she encourages the group members to pay attention to their bodies, give up judgment of themselves and others, and find their own way to playful, safe, spontaneous open-ended exercises in time and space.”

Commentary by Anne Brownell

Total Running Time: 55 minutes



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