A Five Day Transformation with Irene Dowd

A Five Day Transformation with Irene Dowd

By Dina Denis

August 3, 2014


I had the pleasure of studying movement and the movement behind the movement with Irene Dowd this past week as part of Movement Research's Melt Series at 890 Broadway in the New York City. Ms. Dowd led a group of about 20 eager dance participants on an exploration of the foot and hip joint. We began at the root, focusing on the tripod that exists under our feet. We stimulated, resisted, exerted and walked to feel the results. Ms. Dowd guided us in several foot initiated exercises that resembled movement of an infant or primate. Neurons were fired - our brains began to retrain and set new neuromuscular patterns, helping us to dance and ultimately to live. Although it appeared that only one body part was moving, Ms. Dowd cautiously used and air quoted the word “isolation” because we really do move as a whole body on many levels. We performed these mentally rousing and often challenging – and sometimes only challenge to one side of the body – movement sequences standing as well as on the floor. She developed the sequences with us by adding on each day and challenging the tempo in which the group performed in unison. Sometimes she appointed “fast” leaders to push the group along at different corners of the room. As someone who enjoys and feels safe moving in a Butoh-like way, I over came my doubt and felt accomplished keeping up with the Jones' at the corners of the room.


I learned so much in such a short time and by the fourth day I felt something ignite my body. Thursday became a results day for me as I was able to quicken my pace with ease and automatically maintain the proper anatomical initiators within now thinking body. I made sure to journal after each class documenting the series I learned along with my sensations during each movement. This may have helped me absorb the material quicker, engage the ideokinesis and incorporate it into my body.


As a dancer I felt alert, open, placed and ready to dance. As a teacher I am excited to share this method of thought and movement with my students. Although the workshop concluded on the first of the month, I am hooked and thirsty for more information. I look forward to finding more opportunities to study with Ms. Dowd. Until then I am browsing the library and its databases for documentation on Irene Dowd's work, ideokinesis and other forms of holistic movement that have the potential to change my mind, body and way of living.