interdisciplinary artist, educator, therapist, author, practitioner-researcher
PhD Counselling in Therapeutic Arts Education (Practice-based Research)
MA Dance and Somatic Wellbeing
MA Theatre Studies
Registered Humanistic Psychology Practitioner (AHPP)
Registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist (RSME/T)
Registered Somatic Movement Dance Therapies Practitioner (UKSMDT)
I am the founder of Dunami - Movement | Arts | Wellbeing, and have been running my practice in movement, creative arts, and somatic psychology since 2012.
I have been working as a somatic and creative arts educator and person-centred therapist for the last ten years and have a prior, over fifteen-year long experience working as a dance researcher, dramaturg, dance film maker, and performer while living, raising a family and working as a freelancer in the Netherlands, Poland and Scotland.
Movement is my life, and I regularly run workshops, both indoors and outdoors, for groups and individuals of all ages and backgrounds, as much as I offer individual support and guidance during one-on-one sessions. I live in Aberdeenshire where I offer a whole range of opportunities to take movement outdoors, and guide Walks to Wellbeing Series in spring and autumn seasons.
I have studied with many wonderful teachers in theatre, cultural and bodymind theory, including Mieke Bal and Maaike Bleeker, and many wonderful practitioners in somatic work, including Penny Collinson, Andrea Olsen, Caryn McHose, Sondra Fraleigh and Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen. My collaborations also include some amazing scholars like Erin Manning, Bracha Ettinger and Vicky Karkou.
As a trained movement and creative arts therapist, I have been offering work grounded in connecting creative expression with its benefits for healthy processes of development and/or recovery. And over the last two decades I have been practising and developing versatile ways of working with movement in lived, somatic experience of body systems that build on most natural ways for relating to the world around us in fully embodied and more conscious ways, and which construct my ongoing work on embodied consciousness and its reflexive methodologies.
In international collaboration with many both established and emerging artists and choreographers, I have also produced over 30 short dance films inspired primarily by environmental themes, and merged my artistic work across multiple media formats, that I constantly love exploring. I have also supported many choreographers in their artistic processes of growth and shared their creative endeavours in dance research and performance.
Within Higher Education settings, I have run a number of both indoor and outdoor workshops at the Universities of Aberdeen, Oxford, Dundee, Edinburgh and Edge Hill, delivered with different focus on: Caring in Movement, Self Care in Somatic Education, Ecological Citizenship - Embodied Presence and Connectivity, Mindful Movement for Wellbeing and Ecological Relatedness and the Sense of Belonging.
As a writer, I specialise in practice-based research, eco-psychology and environmental philosophy perspectives. During my doctoral work on Art Research in Therapeutic Education, I have been developing movement-based approaches toward more embodied ways for ‘being well’ with the natural environment guided by processes of somatic Felt Thinking. And I believe that, as a grounding methodology of reflexive and expressive self-inquiry, Felt Thinking in Movement opens up a whole new realm of philosophical contemplation on what it means to be human and on experiential movement as the basic ontology of relating to the living world within and around ourselves.
As a somatic facilitator, my ongoing aim is to create conditions for creative journeys of self-discovery steered by the expansion in sensory system, more fluid integration within the nervous system and by gaining new depths of awareness and emotional resilience. I cherish a very individual approach to working with movement, intuition and sensorial awareness and always try to activate most natural methods for connecting with somatic experience, reflective expression, inner awareness and the potential for creative growth.
In my somatic therapy practice, I specialise in concerns including eating disorders, stress, personal and emotional problems, addictions, burn-out, depression but work with a wide variety of people with a broader range of concerns. More importantly though, I offer working with contemplative movement simply as a daily practice of self-care, personal development and overall psycho-somatic wellbeing open to all levels of movement capacities. After all, breathing alone is our lives' primal movement.
My all-round education in philosophy, cultural theory, dance and somatic psychology speaks to the core of any practical work I undertake. And it is my hope to keep working towards a well-inclusive practice and its applicable pedagogies that grow out of an intrinsic, in my understanding, connection between movement arts, natural environment and wellbeing, as well as to keep sharing the benefits of psycho-somatic awareness within my practice to the best of my ability.
A Word In Press:
Body Scapes - Celebrating Seasonality of Wellbeing in Somatic Dialoguing with the Natural World (forthcoming chapter in 'Female Dancer', book edited by Dr Helen Kindred and Claire Farmer)
Open Spaces, Open Senses – On Sensuous Presence in Eco-Somatic Practice of Walking to Wellbeing with Children and Young People (forthcoming chapter in 'Arts in Nature', book by Routledge, edited by Dr Zoe Moula and Prof Nicola Walshe)
Forest Within: Reflections on the Felt Qualities of Living Entanglements (available online)
On How to Feel Think in Movement – A Short Introduction: Contemplating Ecological Belonging in Somatic Practice (article in Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices 13.1&2, 2021)
Night(s) and Day(s) – A Behind the Scenes Story of Night(s) & Day(s) Short Dance Film Production, Inspired by Somatic Adventures into the Experience of Inter-Connectedness Between ‘Knowing’ and ‘Not Knowing’ (available online: www.aberdeen.academia.edu/AnnaDako)
‘I Am Movement’ – An essay on Movement, Connection and Support Based on Personal Practice (forthcoming TBC)
Dynamic Composing - On Choreographic Processes of Conceptualization as a Way to Artistic Knowing (available online: www.aberdeen.academia.edu/AnnaDako)