• UWM Somatics Body Awareness
    Awareness Through Movement Lesson, based on The Feldenkrais Method®. Photo by Christina Stone Martin

Thomas Hanna first used the term ‘somatics’ in the 1970’s in the first issue of the journal Somatics. He used “soma” to refer to the wide range of body awareness and mind-body practices which had emerged in many cultures throughout the twentieth century. The focus of somatics is on bodily experience, and on how our soma interacts with the world.

The Somatics Minor provides coursework of special interest to Health Sciences, Nursing, and Education majors who aim to work in helping professions and facilitate movement awareness/change. Music, Acting, and Dance performance students in the Peck School of the Arts will also benefit from learning how to self-monitor physical performance, access the movement imagination, move expressively, and connect meaningfully with an audience.

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Curriculum listed below is approved for students currently enrolled in the respective program. Any future adjustments for new/incoming students will be posted by May 15. After reviewing, please connect with our advising office to start planning your degree path today!

Somatics Minor - Dance

An application is required for admittance into the minor program.  No more than 6-8 credits will be applied toward the minor until after a student has been admitted and a Dance Faculty Advisor assigned. Students must maintain a 2.75 GPA overall to remain in the Somatics Minor.

Students are required to submit a one-page paper each time they complete a class in the Minor, reflecting on how the class fits within the broader context of somatic integration. All students are expected to demonstrate a strong commitment to their health and overall conditioning in order to fulfill the department’s academic requirements for the Somatics Minor.

Degree Curriculum 28 Credits
DANCE 103 Intro to Iyengar Yoga 2
DANCE 220 Body Sense 3
DANCE 251 Laban Movement Analysis 3
DANCE 321 Alexander Technique 2
Movement Courses
(Choose from below) 3
DANCE 133 Creative Movement
DANCE 233 Improvisation for Dancemeaking
Capstone Courses
(Choose from below) 3
DANCE 414 Dance Composition III
DANCE 601 Senior Project
(Choose from below) 12
DANCE 122 African Dance I
DANCE 323 Body Conditioning: Pilates Method I
DANCE 334 Tai Chi
DANCE 360 Movement and Learning
DANCE 370 World Movement Traditions (approved sub-topic)
DANCE 371 Applied Anatomy
DANCE 403 Intermediate Yoga
DANCE 421 Alexander Technique Practicum
DANCE 489 Workshop in Dance (approved sub-topic)
DANCE 623 Body Conditioning: Pilates Method II


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Catey Ott Thompson

MFA, Dance | 2005

“The idea of a collective unconscious is something I can’t get away from,” Catey Ott Thompson says. “My work is personal but I find non-loneliness in it.”


Artistic Director/Advisor
Ballet Master/Mistress
Company Manager
Education Director
Guest Choreographer
Independent Contractor
Outreach Coordinator
Professional Performer
Rehearsal Director
Resident Choreographer
Tour Manager

Careers in Related Fields
Arts Administrator/Manager
Costume/Light/Prop/Set/Sound Designer
Dance Anthropologist
Dance Archivist/Librarian
Dance Critic
Dance Historian
Dance Researcher
Dance Therapist
Grant Writer
Physical Therapist
Stage Manager

Alexander Technique Practitioner
Curriculum Developer
Elementary or Secondary School Teacher
Outreach Coordinator
Studio Director/Teacher
Pilates Instructor
Yoga Instructor


profile photoDaniel Burkholder(414) 229-2648burkhol6@uwm.eduMitchell 345B

Assistant Professor, Dance

profile photoSimone Ferro(414) 229-4178sferro@uwm.eduZelazo 372

Director, Dance MFA Program

Professor, Dance

profile photoMaria Gillespie(414) 229-5161gillespi@uwm.eduMitchell 343C

Assistant Professor, Dance

profile photoAlex Hansenajhansen@uwm.edu

Senior Lecturer, Dance

profile photoAnnie Melchiormelchior@uwm.eduZelazo 372

Lecturer, Dance

profile photoMarcia Parsons(414) 229-5050marciap@uwm.eduMitchell 345A

Professor, Dance

profile photoThomas Ryanryant@uwm.edu

Lecturer, Dance

profile photoDan Schuchartschuch@uwm.edu

Outreach & Community Liaison

Lecturer, Dance

Dance Faculty