Introduction & Overview

A Tool for Lifelong Learning

The Open Floor curriculum is dedicated to the fostering of common good through the study, practice and teaching of dance.  Mindful movement practices are flourishing all over the world — the perfect and necessary medicine for our increasingly troubled and digitized planet.  Our curriculum is grounded in the principles and wisdom embedded in all embodied, healing practices – the common ground we all share. 

We are dedicated to making our education as accessible as possible. Open Floor is Open Source. Our curriculum is registered on the Creative Commons, which both protects the integrity of the work while making it universally available for creative remixing.

Table of Contents


This is an overview of the main components of our curriculum. Open Floor is a growing body of knowledge and resources that benefit students, teachers, and community members around the world . It is regularly updated thanks to a process of participation and feedback, always expanding to include new resources based on the latest developments in our fields of study.


Our curriculum is a multi-layered menu of movement inquiries that were evolved by a think tank of experienced conscious dance facilitators from around the world.

Original Curriculum Circle members – Andrea Juhan, Ph.D., Kathy Altman, Lori Saltzman, Geordie Jahner, Ph.D., Irit Ziv Ron, Cathy Ryan, Nele Vandezande and Lucie Nerot – were later joined by working members – Catriona Nic Ghiollaphadraig, Karyn Gartner, Jenny Macke, Zuza Engler, Jo Hardy, and Monika Korschner.

Tapping into each other’s wisdom based on decades of dancing, living, learning, and teaching in the field of conscious dance, movement as meditation, movement as medicine, and dance as a healing art – this close circle of colleagues embarked on the mammoth task of articulating, codifying, road-testing and giving birth to the Open Floor curriculum.

Their wide range of experience and study across a broad spectrum of fields enabled them to look at many forms of conscious embodiment across many disciplines and weave together concepts that were repeated again and again in different practices and forms. Drawing on insights from the fields of somatic psychology, dance, the creative arts (visual arts, theater, creative writing), neuroscience, Gestalt Awareness Practice, expressive arts therapy, transpersonal psychology, depth psychology, education, science, philosophy, experiential anatomy and physiology, yoga, meditation and mindfulness (to name a few) – they began to see universal patterns and threads, inherent wisdom passed down through decades of embodied movement practice and inquiry. These threads they wove into the current tapestry that is Open Floor curriculum.

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The 4×4 Weave

On the Open Floor we bring mindful, embodied movement to our lives as human beings.

The 4×4 is the terrain of all our teaching and is embedded in our dances.

The Four Dimensions of Embodiment describe what it means to wholly inhabit our entire selves.

The Four Relational Hungers describe the elemental needs and passions that call us to move in the first place.

Together they comprise an inseparable weave of our humanness.

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Core Movement Resources

The Core Movement Resources (CMRs) are the ABC’s of an embodied movement vocabulary. They give us a simple, universally shared language and a way to communicate our experience of life in these human bodies. In these changing times, the Movement Resources are a way to support ourselves both on and off the dance floor.

The 10 Core Movement Resources are:

  1. Ground
  2. Center
  3. Spatial Awareness
  4. Expand & Contract
  5. Release
  6. Towards & Away
  7. Activate & Settle
  8. Dissolve
  9. Vector
  10. Pause

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The Movement Cycle

The Movement Cycle is a useful intellectual and embodied map of how physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy moves through time and space. The Movement Cycle shows how, with awareness, we can support this cycling of energy to become a rich, meaningful, and creative learning experience. The four phases of our movement meditation spiral are continuous and never-ending.

In time, movers learn to listen for their own inner movement cycles and use that awareness to explore and enjoy deepening their dance experiences in open practice sessions. Off the dance floor, movers start to notice their own personal movement cycles in any given day, mood, conversation, task, or moment of life.

The 4 Phases of the Movement Cycle are:

  1. Open Attention
  2. Enter
  3. Explore
  4. Settle


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Embodied Anchors

At the most basic level an embodied anchor is a sensate experience in a part of the body (front body/back body, breath, hands, chest, feet, etc.) and is at the core of our OF teaching. Just like the anchor of a boat provides weight that anchors it to the ground, a movement anchor has weight that holds our awareness in the physical body through sensate experience. Embodied anchors provide a place to start our explorations and a place we can return to.

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Practice is about embodied mindfulness of where we are on any given continuum. Balance is considered a moment in time rather than a goal. Intentions of our practice are flexibility, creativity, resilience, mindfulness and ease. As we practice, we learn to move along these Continuums:

  1. Fixed & Fluid
  2. Habit & Choice
  3. Include & Exclude
  4. Presence & Absence

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