Expressive Movement

What is EM?

What is Expressive Movement?

Expressive Movement is a dynamic conscious dance practice, founded by Sian Palmer in 2009, with the focus on dance as your meditation tool to enable greater authentic presence and freedom. This embodied mindfulness practice enhances physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health; increasing your vitality and supporting a healthy relationship to yourself, others and all of life.

The Expressive Movement form is founded on the principle that dance is a fundamental medium of human communication and expression – and that, through dancing, we activate conscious awareness, creative action and authentic connection.

In an Expressive Movement class we focus on tuning into what is, becoming present to the sensations, feelings and images held within your body. From here we move to finding expression, allowing you to explore spontaneous movement with the support and guidance of the music, your fellow dancers and the facilitator. The music builds and returns, using the principle of the wave, in order to encourage a range of expression and to assist you in letting go (releasing) and finding freedom (dreaming) and integration within.

Through self-expression in movement – reconnecting mind, body and heart – we re-member how to be in relationship with ourselves, others and life.

No prior dance experience is needed. Everyone can dance. 


What happens in a class?

The Expressive Movement facilitator guides you through a warm up and introduces the focus (theme) for the class. You then move through the Expressive Movement cycle of movement (see below) with the theme as inspiration, following the dance with the support of the group of dancers, eclectic music and guided facilitation over the microphone.

The Expressive Movement Cycle of Movement

This cycle of movement in the Expressive Movement map points to the patterns and phases through which life moves. Through engaging consciously with this cycle as a dance meditation we make conscious our present experience of being alive, creating with it and dreaming into new possibilities of living and being.The 5-phases in the Expressive Movement cycle of movement are

  • presencing,
  • expressing,
  • releasing,
  • dreaming,
    and integrating.

We begin with presencing
Opening our consciousness to embodied presence as our mindfulness practice, we begin to tune our mind to what is going on inside and around us, becoming aware of our existence in both our internal and external landscape. Actively listening through the body we begin to move with these sensations, feelings or images that we become present to (for each person one of these- sensing, feeling or imagery is more prominent to begin with). This allows us to inhabit our body (our home) and return the mind to what’s happening right now. By harnessing the mind in this way we can begin to activate all our intelligences in our body-mind and heart-mind, gathering information around what is present for us in the moment.

Once we have a sense of how we are and what is going on for us, we begin to bring this more actively into the dance, expressing in motion. Beginning to offer your presence actively into the space, in this phase you take the time to experience what is arising and to explore the depths and breadths of where you find yourself. Unfolding into this offers a more in-depth exploration, colouring the picture of what may previously have been unseen or unnoticed. This dance of expressing becomes an active communication between you and yourself, you and each other and you and the space; a conversation that enables you to actively discover the intricacies and qualities available.

Once this communication has happened we simply let go of what has now been expressed, releasing it so that we can drop further into the moment. This is the opportunity to loosen the grip that we at times hold onto so tightly, and to develop more trust in the flow of life. This enables us to move with and create space for the new, to tap into the possibility that now presents itself.

After releasing, we enter the phase of dreaming. This is the time for active, awake dancing dreaming. A time for moving into the fullness of being, playing in this place of what is possible. This space welcomes the heart-mind more consciously, enabling us to tap into the intuitive power of the metaphoric heart to communicate this dream to us.

Having brought this dance to life, the last phase is the integrating of what we have moved. This is one of the most important parts of the practice as it is the bridge between the dreaming and what comes next. Taking the time to land the dreaming back into the space allows you to digest what has been danced, for the seed to be planted and for the essence of your dance to be felt and experienced.

Through dancing this cycle of movement, we engage our whole person – our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual selves, in order to align with our own vitality and health on all levels. The more we practice this dance, the more we begin to see how it moves beyond the dance floor, and how we can integrate our dance of this cycle of movement into our everyday lives.

The Expressive Movement practice is inspired by:

Jungian theory

Laban movement

5Rhythms and

Movement Medicine