Johanne Webb had been hoping to train with Open Floor ever since she attended her first class 3 years ago, immediately seeing the potential of bringing embodied movement into her therapeutic work as a Family Constellations Facilitator. As a self employed, single parent, however, the time away and the cost involved made that all but impossible.
Then the pandemic struck and Open Floor took its Foundational Training online.
“For me to be able to do the Ground Floor Lab online, without leaving home and my son, was a huge gift… the only way I could do it, really,” she says.
In the lead up to the training, Johanne worked extra hard to make space in her busy life so she could focus her attention on the training. As well as her Family Constellations work, Johanne is a theatre maker. “I was awarded an artist residency programme run by Druid, a very well respected programme here in Ireland and a massive opportunity for my career. I filmed and submitted my piece the day before the Ground Floor Lab started.
But on day 2 of the training I got an email asking me to change the format completely. After working on it for 18 months it was a shock – with only 3 days to go before launch and with this full time training to get through, it was an incredibly stressful situation! Old habits and stories came right back in, I was in an absolute panic!”
What could have been an overwhelming situation turned out to be quite the opposite. In fact, Johanne credits the Ground Floor Lab with getting her through this challenge.
“I got an immediate sense of the direct application of the movement resources in my life. It helped to ground me and manage myself differently. If I’d been alone, without the resourcing and tools I was learning, I’m not sure how I would’ve dealt with things. It was a huge resource for me.”
So Johanne was calmer yes, but she still hadn’t solved her pressing problem of having to start over with her video showcase.
“And then there was [Open Floor Faculty] Jenny Macke’s standout session on Social Justice. It spoke directly to the theatre work I am doing. I felt like it was designed just for me! The essence of my show is about racism and motherhood. We have a huge history of incarcerating unmarried women who have children outside of marriage and their race. A hot topic in Ireland at the moment. That session reminded me exactly why I was doing this work. I felt less alone and so supported.”
“I ended up using the Open Floor tools I was learning in the new show I created. The Ground Floor Lab became the framework for the structure of the performance. I used the movement resources and anchored myself in the body and breath. It literally saved me!”
Johanne’s final piece was launched successfully on the last day of the training. It is a compelling and touching enquiry into her experience of parenting a biracial child in Ireland and keen Open Floor movers will recognise how Johanne uses the movement resources throughout. Highly recommended. Watch it here.