MOVEMENT EDUCATOR’S FORUM
In Honour of the Foot
September 29-October 2nd
This week aims at facilitating an exchange between Montreal based movement educators.
Monday through Friday five teachers representative of diverse practices have been invited to
share their take on the foot in the form of a class or discourse with participants. Among this year’s
invitees Joanna Abbatt (corrective exercise - manual therapy, pilates, gyrotonics), Marc Boivin
(contemporary dance), Jean- Francois Harvey (Osteopathy, pilates), Dana Gingras (Authorized
GYROKINESIS® and Specialized GYROTONIC® Master Trainer, Dance), and Ashlea
Watkin (Dance, Axis Syllabus & Occupational Therapy). Each session will be followed by a 1 hour
conversation and exchange between those present. There will be tea and biscuits.
JOANNA ABBATT received a Masters in Biomechanics from McGill University in 1999, a
B.F.A. in Dance from York University in 1981, is a licensed massage therapist (masso-
kinesitherapie, member of FQM), pilates certified, NYC in 1989, gyrotonic certified in 1999 and
was a professional dancer in Montreal for 14 years. She has taught functional anatomy at
Concordia University, Ashtanga Yoga of Montreal, Ecole Superieure de Ballet du Quebec, ESBQ,
Naada Yoga, Wanderlust in Montreal and many workshops throughout Canada. She has had her
own re-education clinic in Montreal since 1990, working with dancers, circus performers, yogis,
and many regular folks. Her focus through the years has always been to keep people moving and
to help troubleshoot mechanical problems with her clients.
This 2-hour class will look at the basic architecture of the foot and how we need to have
adaptable feet in life as well as dance. Adaptability, stability and health of the feet are essential to
the proper functioning of the foot. We shall look at some mobilizations as well as strengthening
sequences. Special issues related to the foot in dancing will also be addressed.
ANGELIQUE WILLKIE Recently re-located back in Montreal after over 20 years in Europe,
Angélique Willkie is a performer, singer, dramaturge and pedagogue who has been among the
more sought-after contemporary technique teachers on the professional circuit. She has taught
companies, schools and festivals including ImpulsTanz (Vienna), Henny Jurriens Stichting
(Amsterdam), SEAD (Salzburg), P.A.R.T.S. and Wim Vandekeybus / Ultima Vez (Brussels),
Circuit-Est, centre chorégraphique, l’École nationale du cirque and l’École de danse
contemporaine de Montréal (Montréal), among others. After eight years at l’École Supérieure des
Arts du Cirque (ESAC) in Brussels as teacher and dramaturgical advisor to the students and
Pedagogical Coordinator of the school under Gérard Fasoli, this year Angélique joined the full-
time faculty of the department of contemporary dance of Concordia University. She continues to
work as a dramaturge for dance-, music- and circus-theatre productions.
The technique class uses sensations of weight, space, contact with the floor and efficient
muscular effort to facilitate movement and aims to develop the support from the spine and the
pelvis in alignment and dynamic impulse. The isolation and weight of various body parts,
openness of the joint articulations, and the relationship to the floor are used as the stimuli for
movement. The class seeks to encourage the dancer to take advantage of the physical energy
and momentum that is naturally created in, and by the body during movement.
JEAN FRANCOS HARVEY is an osteopath , kinesiologist and osteopathy professor.
He has been running for more than thirty years, has coached athletics and treats many athletes.
Jean-Francois is a passionate speaker, using clinical science to make the wonderful complexity of
the body accessible in a comprehensive and nuanced manner. He is the author of
‘L’entraînement spinal’ et ‘Courir mieux’.
Biomechanics applied to running
This workshop deals with the science of the movement focused on running. With a global vision
of the body, concepts of rebound, pedal support, postural adjustments and more will be
elaborated on. This workshop aspires to bring a new understanding to running and human
movement at large.
DANA GINGRAS is a Specialized GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® Master
Trainer based in Montreal. As a result of a serious injury she became involved with the
GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® in 2000. Finding this method to be an effective and
intrinsic way of rehabilitating she went on to study directly with Juliu Horvath, the system’s
founder. Dana has taught at various dance festivals, studios and universities both nationally and
internationally. She is an Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre and her work
as a choreographer and film maker for the past 25 years has been performed and screened
throughout the world earning numerous awards and honours.
GYROKINESIS® is a movement system that works the entire body, opening energy pathways,
stimulating the nervous system, increasing range of motion, and creating functional strength
through rhythmic, flowing movement sequences. It is a method where spherical awareness is
considered to be the essential core of movement. The approach is designed to develop a
functional balance between soft tissue and bone by releasing blockages through circular, spiral
and undulating movements leading to refined spinal articulation and a supple, dynamic core. The
class will focus on the foot as “the messenger for the spine”.
AHSLEA WATKIN is a dance artist based in Montreal. She is a certified Axis Syllabus
Teacher and is presently in the process of completing her Masters in Occupational Therapy at
The Axis Syllabus, originated by Frey Faust, is a research platform that consolidates scientific
and biomechanical understandings along with a political and social quest to empower individuals
and groups with the opportunity to make informed choices regarding healthy and efficient patterns
within various moving contexts, artistic and practical alike.
Occupational Therapy is a clinical practice that applies research from the field of Occupational
Science and phenomenological concepts into practical contexts. Recognizing our innate instinct
of “doing” it is a holistic approach that examines the unique relationship between a person or
group, environment and context (occupation) in order to discover what may be getting in the way
of their ability to do what matters most.
Transforming the space into an obstacle course, this two-hour class and discussion will examine
the structure and articulation of the foot as a “feeler” and primary translator of force to the rest of