Interested in feeling more at home in your own skin or working on a particular skill?
Check out these questions about working 1 to 1 with me
How is movement coaching faciliated?
I verbally facilitate and guide you in a variety of movement explorations, tasks and exercises. Sometimes I move with you, sometimes I demonstrate something, but this work is never about copying. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in these explorations (unless it hurts, then it is wrong!). Movement coaching is about you actively moving to develop more awareness in order to open more choices, acknowleding life as a process of becoming. I might name exerises and concepts, in reference to somatic tools, movement pricniples from LBMS, yoga poses etc, but these do not remain abstract concepts. Rather, the emphasis is on action, on the doing – even if that is stillness or rest. Explorations may involve working with imagery, objects, voice and so forth. At it’s core, this work is a process of discovery and working with what is already there in potential. My role is to guide you through a process, providing you with tools and suggestions as you explore movement possibilities. I hope our sessions will be enlightening, empowering and enjoyable.
Who am I again?
I am Alexandra Baybutt, most people call me Ali, a movement educator, artist and researcher. I am a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) since 2010 in the Laban/Bartenieff Movement System (LBMS), and a Registered Somatic Movement Educator. I am also qualified in yoga and pregnancy yoga. Along with my background in contemporary dance and other somatic movement education, I help you identify, understand and re-pattern tension holding and movement habits that are no longer serving you. I have full teaching insurance and am dedicated to ongoing professional development as a practitioner. I hold a PhD in cultural studies from the Dance department at Middlesex University (2020).
Why do people come for movement coaching?
When they need some inspiration
Ana came to me as an experienced yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer, wanting new strategies for refreshing her teaching, space for personal growth and creative development, and to not be the teacher for a change.
Recovery from injury & injury prevention
P came to me after participating in group classes, needing much more bespoke tasks and strategies for working with the consequences of long term health conditions. As a result of illness and recovery, P had learned many things about what was ‘too much’ and was self-managing well, but wanted to work at her pace and ask questions particular to her needs. Working with me gave her the opportunity for her practices to be expanded and given a fresh perspective.
Recovering from injury involves plenty of challenge and patience, and sometimes can become a rewarding learning experience. Afterall, many somatic practices emerged out of the necessity of developing something that hadn’t existed before. The slowing down and intense focus that happens through injury can facilitate getting to know your body and movement because of these changes. Moreover, this can open attention to personal movement habits and deepen self-compassion. Movement coaching with me means such processes are held through observation, offering immediate feedback on your progress and discoveries in sensation. Pain management, tension release and increased mobility/stability are all possible through movement coaching that draws from anatomical knowledge but also creative play. Injury feels very serious, but healing does not always need to be.
To get to know their body and movement better
There is all the stuff we know, and all the stuff we know we don’t know. Then there is all the suff we don’t know that we don’t know. That’s where somatic movement education comes in, and the versatility of the Laban/Bartenieff Movement System to open questions and act as a tool of reflection and intervention. Somatic movement education helps you learn how to learn, rather than assuming that practitioners know more than you. This is quietly radical.
What will the initial session involve?
In your initial consultation session I will have read your infomration and medical history form and together we would discuss your current goals and interests. I will conduct an initial movement observation assessment to better understand your dominant patterns of coordination, use of personal space, ease with a range of dynamics etc. I will introduce you to some of the basic explorations we will be working with, the Bartenieff Fundamental exercises. These are simple, gently yet effective tools for re-patterning movement. Afterwards I develop a plan for future sessions based on your goals and my observations. I email you notes, and encourage you to reflect and bring your questions and discoveries.
What do subsequent sessions involve?
As we progress through the sessions and changes occur, your goals may shift between sessions or even during one. Whilst I may arrie with an entire session planned, I stay present to how you are on that day, and can easily change my plan based on what you bring, and what I am observing or sensing during the session. My goal is remain attuned to your experience and guide you to discover and embody your most integrated, easily-moving, creative self.
What do I need to wear?
Comfortable clothing for moving in. This does not need to be close fitting, but I do need to be able to see your body, so bulky layers are not advised. Avoid belt buckles or fastenings that would dig in or get in the way when rolling on the floor. Movement coaching is generally done in socks or bare feet, unless part of the process involves walking outside.
Is there any touch or physical contact?
With permission, and depending on where Covid-19 restrictions are, I use touch sparingly. When I do use touch, it is either a hands-on reminder to connect to the direction or gravity, or through gentle moving to ain sensatin of a particular part and release muscualr tension. I will not ever massage or forcefully manipulate your body. I will explain where I will be touching, why, and always seek permission. Movement coaching can be done without touch. Some somatic modalities, like Feldenkrais or Cranio-Sacral Therapy make it central. For movement coaching with me it is a potential supportive tool.
I want to increase my understanding of body language and communication skills, is this for me?
Yes! Non-verbal communication accounts for much of our presentation of self and interaction patterns, responding to the inner and outer world. Movement coaching will give you access to more choice and greater insight into movement as a continual process of change. We work sometimes with voice and vocalisation to better understand movement and breath.
I’m a dance artist with disabilities, how would we work together?
As with all clients, with ongoing conversation to ensure your needs and goals are being met; that I am making the most appropriate suggestions; that the translations are the most supportive they can be. In 2020, I consulted inclusive dance artist Kimberley Harvey to develop my practice. Read her thoughts on my work here.
I’m a professional performing artist / sports person / Parkour practitioners / movement teacher, what can you offer me?
Insight into your personal practice, micro/macro analysis of a particular movement that features in your work, new language for differentiating and integrating a deeper understanding of movement, time to re-examine your own skills and take them to the next level.
I’m pregnant, is this safe?
I am a qualified pregnancy yoga teacher, with knowledge of safe practices during pregnancy. Movement coaching during pregnancy is welcome from 12 weeks, and can involve yoga asana if desired.
I want to get pregnant, could movement coaching help?
Movement coaching is not a guarantee but it may help in increasing movement ease, and confidence in your body. Somatic movement education encourages listening to inner impulses, playful flow, and what feels right or safe in your body that can be supportive for all areas of your life and interactions.
Is this therapy?
No. I am a Registered Somative Movement Educator with ISMETA, the international governing body for somatic education and therapies that oversees accreditation and best practices. Movement coaching accesses the bodymind connection to integrate and re-pattern neuromuscular pathways or tension-holding patterns. Sometimes creative play, releasing tension, reopening pathways of connection in the body and gaining new insights into existing habits can provoke deep emotions and memories. This is completely normal, but can be surprising or even frightening. My job is to provide a safe space where you can have and feel your experiences, and where appropriate moving with, through or from them. Sometimes an emotion feels too intense to be able to focus and play in a way that feels okay. I will hold the space for you and provide support with my presence, but I am not a therapist and will not act as one. You will be reminded to check in with what you need, and interacted with in a way that recognises your full agency to decide if something doesn’t feel right.
Is this dance?
No. The roots of this work, somatic movement, underpin much of contemporary and modern dance. However ‘dance’ can indicate doing steps to music, which is not what is being practice in movement coaching. At times, it might feel like dance as you are moving in ways that might not feel familiar or pedestrian. At times, I invite you to explore your movement impulses and choices, which is similar to dance improvisation, but this is for your own personal movement research, rather than being intended for performance – unless that is what you wish to work on.