Trans-disciplinary researcher, aligning dance with critical somatic education, human movement science, embodied cognitive neuroscience, neurorehabilitation
Professor Emeritus, Physical Therapy, Winston-Salem State University, USA
Independent Lecturer (dance and somatic education, dance science) – USA, Ireland, UK
Fulbright Senior Specialist in dance (2008-2013, 2016-2020)
For four decades, Glenna Batson has drawn from multiple movement disciplines as catalysts for teaching and mentoring, research, advocacy and artistic and personal growth. Glenna brings a trans-disciplinary perspective to dance within the humanities. Devoted to the art and science of movement, Glenna has served as lecturer and mentor in higher education within dance and rehabilitation, as well as a somatic educator and practitioner, dance advocate and conference organizer, and performer. Glenna is professor emeritus of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University (North Carolina, USA) and former research associate professor with the department of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, USA) (2013-2018). Glenna holds a master’s degree (MA) in dance education (1978), and a master’s and doctorate in physical therapy (1983/2006). Glenna was faculty of the American Dance Festival (1986-2014), the Hollins/ADF M.F.A. program (2005-2013), and the ADF Linkage program in Venezuela (1996, 1998) and Ecuador (1994,1995).
Glenna was pivotal in the early establishment of IADMS (International Association of Dance Medicine and Science), and in expanding the scope of integrative medicine to include Somatics and dance. She is an internationally recognized teacher of the Alexander Technique (certified 1989), teaching at training schools in 13 countries and coordinating international conferences in Limerick (2013, 2015, 2020). Glenna conducted the first clinical study (2007) on the effects of the Alexander Technique on balance in the elderly. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNf5bGRwhZA), and is instructor/consultant to the Poise Project’s Poised for Parkinson’s research initiative (www.thepoiseproject.org). Clinical and research experience in integrative medicine includes published research on dancers’ balance, on motor imagery and the Feldenkrais Method for persons post-stroke and with Parkinson’s disease. Between 2009 and 2015, she pioneered research on improvisational dance and Parkinson’s disease. A subsequent documentary (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k-yZ3Lm5-4 ) received honorable mention at the World Parkinson’s Congress (2013), and a featured article in a special topics issue in Frontiers in Neurology was shortlisted for the Frontiers research award (2017). (http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fneur.2016.00015/full).
Glenna is a Fulbright Senior Specialist in dance, with residencies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance (2009) and the Universities of Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia (2011), and Bath Spa University (2019 pending). Fellowships include residencies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance (2011) and University of Coventry (2013). In October of 2018, she received an honorary fellowship award for contributions to Dance Science and Somatics from Trinity Laban. Scholarship also includes books, chapters, articles, presentations, curriculum review. She is chief author of Body and Mind in Motion: Dance and Neuroscience in Conversation, and co-editor/contributor to Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities: Contemporary Sacred Narratives. She has been invited as a keynote speaker in a number of conferences, including the first annual conference on Dance Therapy and Wellbeing (2017), sponsored by Les Grand Ballets Canadienne of Montreal.
Glenna launched Wellness Partners in the Arts (2000-2004), a studio built on the concept of the Works Progress Administration and devoted to supporting movement arts as part of the Downtown Durham (NC) revitalization effort. In 2004, she founded The Wise Cracks (2004-2008), an improvisational performing collective designed to dispel stereotypes of older women, and continues to teach dance education at American Dance Festival Community Studios, and perform with the Big Red Dance Project, under the artistic direction of Gerri Houlihan.
Select Publications (last 10 years)
Kampe T, Batson G. Dancing Critical Somatics – An Emancipatory Education for the Future? Thomas Kampe in dialogue with Glenna Batson. David AR, Huxley M, Whatley S (Eds.), Dance Fields: Where is Dance Studies Now? Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University, UK. Accepted for publication.
Batson G, Wilson MA. Rest and Recovery: Making it Doable for Dancers, In: Wilmerding V. and Krasnow D (Eds.), Dancer Wellness, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Press, 2016.
Batson G. The Alexander Technique and the science of self-regulation. In: Health Integrated Training and Education (HITE), Alexander Technique in Context, London: UK 2014.
Batson G. Sharing creativity through the mirror neuron system, In: Book L, Phillips DP (Eds.), Creativity and Entrepreneurship: Changing Currents in Education and Public Life. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. 2013.
Sentler S, Batson G. Human Origami: Uncovering meta-levels of embodiment through movement improvisation. In, Multidisciplinary Corporealities. LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore: Routledge. Under preparation.
Batson G. Human Origami –The Folding Continuum of Life Experience, International Journal of Prenatal and Life Sciences, 2017; 1(1) http://www.journalprenatalife.com/index.php/prenatal/issue/view/2
Batson G, Sentler S. Visual and tactile-kinesthetic imagery –a neuro-phenomenological distinction in improvisational dance praxis, Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, 2017; 9(2): 195-213.
Batson G, Hugenschmidt CE, Soriano CT. Cueing improvisational dance: evolving a method for training functional skills for Parkinson’s disease. Frontiers in Neuroscience, special issue research topic, ‘Sound, Music and Movement in Parkinson’s disease,’ Frontiers in Neurology. 2015. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fneur.2016.00015/full
Batson G, Wilson MA. The m/r SEBT – development of a functional screening tool for dance education. Medical Problems of Performing Artists. 2014; 29(4): 207-215.
Batson G, Soriano CT, Laurienti P, Burdette J, Migliarese S, Hristov N. Effects of Group-Delivered Improvisational Dance on Balance in Adults with Middle Stage Parkinson Disease: A Two-Phase Pilot with fMRI Case Study. Physical & Occupational Therapy In Geriatrics, 2014; 32:3: 188-197.
Batson G, Soriano CT. A model for teaching modern dance to people with Parkinson disease: Ensuring evidence-based outcomes. Research in Dance Education (special issue Best Practices in Dance), 2011; 12(3).
Batson G. Feasibility of modern dance for adults with Parkinson disease: A pilot study. Complementary Health Practices Review, 2011; 15 (2):65-83.
Batson G. Exercise-induced central fatigue – A frontier for dance science research. Special Issue on Overuse in Dance Training (invited paper), Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 2013; 17 (3): 92-100.
Batson G, Quin E, Wilson M. Somatics as Science. Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, 2012; 3(1-2): 183-193.
Batson G. Validating a Dance-specific Screening Test for Balance: Preliminary Results from Multisite Testing. Medical Problems of Performing Artists. 2010;25(3):110-117.
Batson G: The Somatic practice of intentional rest in dance education – Preliminary steps towards a method of study. Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, 2010;1(2):177-197.
Batson G. Somatic approaches to improving postural control: One teacher’s applications to the battement tendu. Journal of Dance Education. 2010;10(1):6-13.
Research, Presentations and Creative Projects (last 5 years)
Kampe T, Batson G. Emancipatory Critical Somatics – Presentations at Dance Fields – Where is Dance Studies Now? Symposium (Roehampton University UK, 2016) and Bodily Undoing Symposium – Bath Spa University (Bath UK, 2017), and book chapter (released in 2019).
Batson G, Sentler S (2013), ‘Cultivating the performative mind: motor imagery in dance creation’, ethics approved research, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, findings presented at International Association of Dance Medicine and Science 20th annual conference, Basel, Oct 2014, and Dance Legacies Dance Research Forum Ireland’s 5th International Conference, Dublin, July 2014, and Enfolding Body: Enfolded Space: The effects of imagery-based improvisation on enhancing dancers’ embodied knowledge of spatial dynamics (Phase II, Nov 2014), conference presentation, Human origami: A somatic tool for dancemaking. Conf presentation, Movement 2017: Brain, Body and Cognition, Oxford, UK, July 2017.
Batson G, Soriano C, Laurienti P, Burdette J, Migliarese S, Hristov N. Effects of group-delivered improvisational dance on balance in adults with middle stage Parkinson’s disease: a two-phase pilot with fMRI case study, Wake Forest University Translational Science Center, Winston-Salem, N.C., U.S.A. Winston-Salem State University, Department of Theatre and Dance, Wake Forest University, Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks
Three year, multi-site research (USA, UK) on dancers’ balance validating The Modified Star Excursion Balance Test with Dr. Margaret Wilson.Results presented at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science 20th annual conference, Basel, Oct 2014, two peer-reviewed publications in dance science.
Certificate course – ‘Anatomy – From Image to Movement’ – Elective Module
MA Creative Practice: Dance Professional Practice Pathway– Trinity Laban Conservatoire and Independent Dance UK (2015)
Embodied Cognitive Processes in Dancemaking – The course brings together theory and practice in understanding dance through a neuro-phenomenological lens – Hollins ADF MFA program (2016)
Conference Organizing (last 10 years)
Finding Balance – an Interdisciplinary Symposium, Winston-Salem State University, (2010) – 150 attendees
The Alexander Technique Teachers’ Convention, The Heart of Our Work, Dublin, Ireland (2013) 300 attendees
The 10th Alexander Technique World Congress, Empowering Humanity, Inspiring Science, Limerick, Ireland (2015) – 800 attendees
The 3rd Alexander Technique Teacher’s Convention, Confidence, Limerick, Ireland (2020)