Welcome from Janet Adler, Founder of Circles of Four
Often I feel that authentic movement has always existed, but somehow for reasons that I don’t understand, it has been my chosen task to witness, to record its unfolding, its inherent order made visible. This musing reflects a similar experience of wondering if all gestures already exist within the pregnancy of the empty studio space. Because of the presence of their witnesses, maybe it is the movers’ tasks – or is it their longing – to enter these gestures, bringing each one in exquisite detail into the light of consciousness.
There are three icons on the home page of this website: The Discipline of Authentic Movement, Circles of Four, and Inquiry. Opening into the Discipline of Authentic Movement not only brings this welcome, but also a summary version of a description of this mystical practice and a new essay of mine: The Mandorla and the Discipline of Authentic Movement. Opening into Circles of Four brings a description, a celebration of the new international postgraduate program of practice and study for those wishing to become teachers of the discipline. And opening into Inquiry brings guidance regarding navigation of an application process for the program. I suggest reading these three headings sequentially.
In these forty-five years of commitment, the Discipline of Authentic Movement continues to live at the center of both my personal and professional development. For me this way of work is a devotional practice, perhaps because it is about relationship – the evolving relationship with oneself, another, the collective, and that which is invisible, unnameable.
Circles of Four is an offering back, in gratitude, to each student whose devotion to this way of work is reflected in their teaching practice. In collaboration, because of the commitment of each one in my presence and in the presence of their colleagues similarly dedicated, a form strengthens, a practice is honed. Circles of Four has been created not only to acknowledge and to clarify the requirements necessary to teach the discipline, but most importantly to welcome, to offer this way of work in response to those individuals who recognize this practice.
One subtle but unceasing thread that connects years of engagement in the unfolding of studio work is an emergence of questions arising, as if from an underground stream always moving. These questions articulate, and in so doing, guide the actual forming of new boundaries created to contain the experience of not knowing, of risking, of trusting that which is greater than the self or another.
At this time within the resonance of a newly shaped program, a fresh question appears: how will an international post-graduate program be held and sustained by a collective body of teachers without a director? I am remembering when the Mary Starks Whitehouse Institute, the first school committed to the practice and study of Authentic Movement, began in my studio in Northampton, Massachusetts, in the fall of 1981. The experience of embodied individual consciousness emerging was dominant at that time. The experience of an embodied collective consciousness, the actual journey we each would be making toward membership in a collective body, was not yet known to us.
Now thirty-three years later, there exists a vibrant, collective body of individuals practicing, studying, teaching the discipline. A way of work is becoming increasingly available to those in search of a mystical practice sourced in embodied awareness, to those choosing an experience of evolving witness consciousness.
We can now perceive the wholeness of the complex and liberating journey of an individual’s development into membership in an embodied conscious collective. For this reason, our learning organically extends into a program of preparation in which it is precisely a collective body, Circles of Four, that holds each individual learner, beginning with only one teacher/witness. Circles of Four is a formal reflection of such wholeness, in service to each teacher and to each learner.
And the infinite nature of the World Wide Web is a timely, appropriate place of invitation into the intimacy, the presence of teachers in studios welcoming learners within a multiplying web of unique circles of four persons moving and witnessing, speaking and listening in towns and cities, in nations far away from one another.
Circles of Four could not have been created without the generosity, wisdom, and patience of Julia Gombos, Bonnie Morrissey and Paula Sager. For such a commitment, I am profoundly grateful.
In a dream months ago, I am holding an infant with an ancient face. Carrying her over a bridge, I am handing her to many individuals, a collective body of people with their arms open, receiving this mysterious discipline that I love. And all is well.
Janet Adler, Galiano Island, B. C., March 8, 2014