My experience includes over a decade of working as an artist in performance and improvisation, study at ISLO’s Education in Dance and Somatics, intense family history with mental health and trauma healing, countless dance and somatic based workshops, a decade of working with horses, research in neuro + cognitive science, somatic sexuality practice through Joseph Kramer’s school + Barbara Carrella’s embodied work, conscious breath work, and vipassana meditation practice. I am from the US and have worked in many countries and cultures. I have been researching improvisation and social cognition in recent years, and I have just begun studies towards a neuroscience degree. I currently live in Polson, MT (USA).
Hello. My name is erin christine bell. This is a bit of my story: My strongest, earliest influence comes from working with horses. I was able to ride, free of any bridle, rope or restraint; the communication between my horse and I was such that he would gallop, stop, or do fancy ‘footwork’ on request, all through the subtlest of communication. I developed a particular and keen awareness of non-verbal communication. Most importantly, as opposed to ‘breaking,’ forcing one creature’s desire upon another, I learned to find calmness before delving into further conversation.
Along with learning from horses in this way, I also taught youth and adults to work with horses. Teaching in this experiential learning setting fostered my ability to teach others how to listen and communicate in nonverbal ways.
My degree in Cultural Anthropology worked as a doorway through which I entered the world of art making. In my mid-twenties I began independently studying music, learning to compose and play in brass bands under the guidance of my expert friends. I began to paint, make puppetry and work in theater. Through theater, particularly my time working with Peter Schumann at Bread and Puppet Theater, I fell deeply in love with movement and dance. This love, combined with a longstanding interest in healing work, led me to ISLO’s Education in Dance and Somatics, learning from Malcolm Manning in particular.
I come from a family which struggles with many mental health difficulties including depression, anorexia, schizophrenia, alcoholism, compulsive eating/shopping, childhood sexual abuse, and other difficulties which evade psychiatric or DSM diagnosis. Through this, I have had experience as a patient and as a first line of support within the structure of psychiatry and psychotherapy. From my personal experiences and from my science research – somatic/mindful + movement practices have been the greatest source of my healing and learning.
I happen to love moving, dance, art making – but you need not be an artist or mover. These sessions are made for EVERY-BODY who feels drawn.
My dad asked me, “why the name ‘The Invisible School’? “Easy”, I said, “it’s because most of this work deals with phenomena which are invisible! I didn’t invent this stuff. It’s been around forever! I just teach about it with my own flavor of elbow grease.”
I find that teachers all arrive with their personal strengths and weaknesses, sharing the knowledge of their own experience as movers, as humans. If my words and experience speak to you, I hope to meet soon!
Sources which I have found to be especially helpful: Dr Ginger Campbell, Pema Chodron, Gabor Mate, Tara Brach, James Baldwin, Madness Radio, Francisco Varela, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, Martin Kilvady, Peter Levine, Robert Sapolsky, Art and – especially – Movement and Nature.