Circles of Four
An International Post-Graduate Program
for the Preparation of Teachers
of the Discipline of Authentic Movement
Circles of Four is a collective body of teachers preparing learners to teach the Discipline of Authentic Movement. Each teacher has or has had a committed and long-term relationship with her or his teacher of the discipline occurring within a studio format. As in ancient and contemporary mystical practices, the Circles of Four program is bound by these committed, intimate, and long-term relationships of trust between teacher and student, witness and mover. A lineage becomes apparent as learners become teachers of students of the discipline.
The emergence of Circles of Four reflects the organic evolution of the discipline itself, a natural shaping into a form, a formality expressed in a post-graduate program centered in the development of witness consciousness sourced in authentic movement. The development of the discipline and now of the program is dependent on each teacher bringing their own questions that occur in the studio work because of collaboration with learners. Learners are guided by their teachers’ questions but most importantly by their own, the ones that emerge from their moving and witnessing experiences in the presence of their teachers and co-learners. Learners who are self directed often feel met by this way of practice and study.
Some learners intend to teach the discipline as a mystical practice, with its own inherent order and history. Some intend to teach this way in relationship to their practice as a seeker within the traditions of Buddhism, Judaism, Sufism, or Christianity. Others intend to offer this way in relationship to fields of study; for example, eco-psychology, metaphysics, or choreography. Many will use the discipline in their psychotherapy and analytic practices. And some when they begin do not yet know how their learning will guide them toward their way of teaching the discipline to others.
A Circle of Four
There are four persons in each circle, the Learner being the one at the center. The other three persons are the Primary Teacher, the Retreat Teacher, and the Supervision Teacher. Each teacher has experienced the evolution of the same ground form in experiencing both individual and collective body practice. Each has a comprehensive and in-depth experience of the unique development of their own inner witness. And every teacher has experience in offering others these same foundational skills, as well as in offering witness presence to movers committing toward witness consciousness.
The developing strength and clarity of the inner witness of the Learner, the core phenomenon of this way of work, is the central and shared focus among those in each circle of four. When a potential learner chooses their Primary Teacher, this person is often the one who welcomes, interviews, and guides them in choosing the two other teachers. Once the three teachers are chosen and the circle is complete, the Learner begins their study and practice of the discipline within the safety, intimacy of one-on-one work with the Primary Teacher.
The meetings between the Primary Teacher and the Learner occur weekly, monthly or within a series of days over time, depending on what plan they create together according to their schedules, needs, and geographical locations. As a learner develops the capacity to see themselves more clearly when moving, because of feeling seen more clearly by the outer witness/teacher, this original dyadic work grows into triads and small groups, continuing under the guidance of the Primary Teacher, again weekly, monthly or within a series of days over time. In these new formats, the Learner engages directly and developmentally in the practices of a moving witness, a silent witness, and a speaking witness.
As the practice of the speaking witness is honed within the work in the collective body with the Primary Teacher, the Learner becomes ready to study and practice with a Retreat Teacher. It is here that the collective body work introduced by the Primary Teacher is extended and deepened within another group, this one shaped by the Retreat Teacher. This work, occurring one or more times a year, begins with a separation from one’s daily life, turning toward inner work as a mover and as a witness in a retreat setting, often in silence, that is conducive to uninterrupted descent. Retreat Teachers also offer solo retreats. Now the learner is ready to assist one of her teachers in preparation for teaching her own students.
When the Learner and the Primary Teacher and the Retreat Teacher all agree that it is time for the Learner to begin teaching the discipline to their own students, work with a Supervision Teacher begins. The relationship between the Learner and the Primary Teacher continues throughout the program, though it may become less frequent as a learner begins to teach their own students under the guidance of their Supervision Teacher.
The Supervision Teacher, the only one not necessarily met in a studio format, becomes available for regular consultations in which they offer supervision to the Learner individually or in groups.
There will always be a circle of four faculty members who share in the responsibility to hold and guide the program. This circle will change membership every few years, trusting in the timing of transition.
Course of Practice and Study
The process of Preparation for each learner – the number of hours, months, years that any specific circle of four engages – is determined by the Learner and the Teachers in that circle. Commitment to this process, which is unique for each learner, requires an accumulation of studio hours necessary for the development of practice skills as well as for a quality of presence revealing a deepening of clear seeing of oneself and another.
Integration of such work includes:
- a felt sense of being seen while moving, witnessed by another.
- a felt sense of seeing, witnessing oneself while moving.
- a felt sense of seeing, witnessing oneself while witnessing another moving.
- a felt sense of, and developed capacity for, conscious speech.
- a felt sense of the development of one’s own witness consciousness.
- a felt sense of the intrinsic individual body as distinguished from the collective body.
- a felt sense of egoic phenomenon as distinguished from energetic phenomenon.
- a felt sense of empathic resonance as distinguished from compassionate presence.
- a felt sense of energetic phenomenon becoming intuitive knowing.
- a felt sense of embodied knowing of the full arc of the mandorla.
Integration of such work also includes:
- an engagement in scheduled communication with the three teachers set up by the learner as well as connection with other learners in the program.
- a comprehensive review of a bibliography centered in the history of the field of Authentic Movement, specifically the Discipline of Authentic Movement.
This bibliography can be supplemented in the fields of dance, psychology, and mysticism in response to each learner’s questions, gifts, and intentions toward teaching.
- participation in one or more thematic retreats offered by Faculty of Circles of Four focused on a specific area of inquiry or research.
- assisting at least one of the teachers in the learner’s circle of four and/or assisting another faculty member.
When each participant in a circle of four agrees that it is time, a Blessing ceremony for the learner is created by her teachers, marking a recognition, a completion of their preparation and their readiness to be a teacher of the Discipline of Authentic Movement.