Directors and Officers - ISMETA

Directors and Officers

NAME:Elisa Cotroneo, RSME, RSMT
BOARD POSITION:Executive Director
CITY:East Greenbush, New York

Elisa Cotroneo, RSME, RSMT

Elisa Cotroneo, is a Registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Dance and is a graduate of The Somatic Movement Therapy Training Program.

For more than 35 years Elisa has followed her passion to understand the relationship between spirit and the body and trained with many of the pioneers in the field of Movement Education and Therapy. Her life’s journey has been blessed with the presence of spiritual elders from North and South America, India and Tibet, each one sharing their traditional wisdom of the power of movement and sound to bring us closer to our true essential Selves. Elisa has synthesized these teaching into a unique form of somatic movement meditation that honors its roots of Yoga, Chi Gong, Authentic Movement, Mindfulness, and Dreamwork.

Elisa served on the ISMETA Board of Director’s from 2007-2014, holding the office of President from 2009-2014 and is now an Executive Consultant to the Board of Director. Her private practice in Movement Education and Therapy in upstate New York has included extensive work with individuals, groups, school districts, special education programs, therapeutic centers and arts organizations. As a professional development consultant Elisa has created workshops, retreats and online courses focusing on creativity, imagination and experiential embodied education.

Elisa Cotroneo

Elisa-Cotroneo-new
NAME:Maria Luisa Diaz de Leon Z., MA, RSME, RSMT
BOARD POSITION:President
CITY:Santa Fe, New Mexico

Maria Luisa Diaz de Leon Z., MA, RSME, RSMT

Maria Luisa is a psychologist, researcher, therapist, movement specialist, and performer born in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In her professional practice, Maria Luisa integrates her passion for somatic movement, dance, depth psychology, mythology, philosophy and expressive arts to create possibilities for awareness, healing, growth and transformation. She is committed to providing people with adequate guidance so that they can live with authenticity, creativity, responsibility and self-agency. Through somatic, expressive arts, and creative interventions, Maria Luisa guides her clients in exploratory inquiries and invites self-reflection and continued learning. She encourages taking a path of self-knowledge, clear interpersonal communication, and determination. She believes that by traveling this path, we can adventure into the endless mysteries, challenges and opportunities that life offers us.

Maria Luisa has served on the ISMETA Board of Directors since 2014. Currently, she is President, Co-Chair of the Professional Standards Committee, and Co-Chair of the Communication Committee. Maria Luisa values the professionalism, integrity, respect, and creativity of her Board colleagues and enjoys collaborating with them. In addition, Maria Luisa serves on the Advisory Council of the conference Encuentro Somático in Mexico City.

Maria Luisa’s professional experience in psychology and the arts spans over twenty years and includes work in education, private practice, and community intervention. She obtained her M.A. in Engaged Humanities with Emphasis in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She served as Program Director and core faculty at Tamalpa Institute in California and continues to be an adjunct faculty supervising advanced students’ fieldwork projects.

Recently relocated in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Maria Luisa offers classes, workshops, women’s groups, and individual sessions online and in person, in the US and internationally. She loves the spaciousness of a simple life where she can make time for reading, writing, creating art, dancing, watching films, hiking in nature, and cooking.

Maria Luisa Diaz de Leon Z.

NAME:Jane Okondo, MA, RSME, RSMT
BOARD POSITION:Vice President
CITY:London, United Kingdom

Jane Okondo, MA, IBMT, RSME, RSMT

Jane is a Somatic practitioner who has been in private practice since 1994.

She began to integrate movement into her practice in 2000, with Emily Conrad as her mentor, and was authorised to teach Continuum in 2007. Jane now, practices as a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Somatic Experiencing® practitioner.

She has a Master’s degree in Dance and Somatic Wellbeing from the University of Central Lancaster, a Diploma in Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy from IBMT, UK, a Post Graduate Diploma in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy from Karuna Institute. She is a graduate of the Somatic Experiencing programme and a Blessed teacher for the Discipline of Authentic Movement.

In June 1998 Jane co-founded the InBreath Institute which offers a three-year diploma in Integrative Breath and Bodywork Therapy. After completing her masters, Jane co-founded the Somatic Movement Gatherings organisation, which ran 3-day events (2010-2018) for practitioners to meet and experience existing practice through workshops and dialogue circles with emerging ideas the field, as well as place to resource and make links locally, nationally and internationally.

Jane teaches on faculty for Diploma in Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy in Moscow, Lithuania and the UK and is also on faculty for the Karuna Institute for Continuum Flow mentoring retreats. She offers the Discipline of Authentic Movement and Continuum groups from her studio in London as well as in other locations in the UK and Europe. Her particular interest is in Somatic Movement approaches to working with trauma and has co-developed a programme which she offers in London.

Jane Okondo

NAME:Ivana Marina Sejenovich, RSME
BOARD POSITION:Secretary
CITY:Tepoztlán, Mexico

Ivana Marina Sejenovich, RSME

Ivana is a Somatic Movement Educator, certified by The Center for BodyMindMovement.

Her somatic practice started 40 years ago, as a child, finding space to really BE, in her Body Expression and Dance classes. She continued with a 4-year college degree in Body Expression Education (at a university of Dance in Argentina, created by Patricia Stokoe, that included the work of Gerda Alexander, Eutonia) and studies in Physiotherapy, Eutonia, Topf, Conscious System for the Technique of Movement, Yoga (for 30 years) and BodyMindMovement (since 2008).

She founded Maravilla Corporal, a team that was pioneer in Somatic Education in México (since 2000). This team developed workshops and trainings of Body Expression and Creativity for 12 years, in public universities and private cultural centers.

She also shared the coordination of Lunananda, Yoga y Artes Somáticas (yogamexico.com), for 16 years, leading Yoga teacher trainings (200 and 500 RYT) as well as retreats and workshops with a somatic approach. She has been teaching Yoga for 20 years, certified with 500 YA RYT and 600 hours of Yoga Therapy in México and India.

She is now part of the faculty of The Center for BodyMindMovement, in México, Chile and Brazil.

In 2019, she organized the First Somatic Gathering in México, supported as part of ISMETA’s 30th Anniversary, (encuentrosomatico.com) a unique event with 30 teachers and 150 participants. She loves to contribute to create webs between somatic professionals, and to translate somatic work so that more people can benefit from it, in self-care, freedom and expression of self and community.

She lives in Tepoztlán, a small village close to Mexico City. In her private practice, she offers BodyMindMovement sessions, Yoga therapy and Yoga with a somatic approach.

Ivana Marina Sejenovich

NAME:Richard E. Sims, RSME, RSMT, CTP
BOARD POSITION:Treasurer
CITY:Evanston, Illinois

Richard E. Sims, RSME, RSMT, CTP

Rich is a Somatic, Embodiment & Mindfulness Educator, Instructor in the Art of Aikido (a non-violent martial art) , Certified Trauma Professional and a Somatic Specialist in the areas of stress, fear, anxiety, trauma, depression, resilience and empowerment.

He uses his skills while teaching adults, children and teens empowering approaches and tools to improve their emotional and physical wellbeing. His somatic approach combines the connection between our minds, bodies, emotions and distress responses with methods that include Being In Movement® mindbody education, Body Awareness, Breathing, Meditation, Embodiment, Somatic Education, Trauma Informed Mindfulness, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and the principles of the Art of Aikido.

He has a private practice, teaches in person and online globally, and has presented at some of the world’s largest and respected Somatic and Embodiment Conferences. www.RichardESims.com He also works with organizations, schools, non-profits, first responders and companies working with their clients, volunteers and employees with the challenges that affect their relationships and performance personally, professionally and academically.

Some of these organizations include MenHealing where he serves as a facilitator, providing complimentary support for male survivors of sexual trauma encountered as a child or adult as well as the Cancer Wellness Center where he helps patients, caregivers and their families through their cancer journeys.

Rich has previous board experience with the Amate House, a non-profit that makes it possible for young adults to dedicate a year of their lives to serve under-resourced, low income communities in Social Justice and Leadership roles. He also worked with Urban Gateways ghostwriting for other instructors and served as a resident artist in inner-city Chicago schools helping kids navigate their educational experience while living with gang violence, drugs, poverty and abuse.

On top of his Somatic career, Rich brings countless years of experience in marketing as a television and film producer where he served in various positions on many regional, national and global projects including documentaries, commercials and major motion pictures.

While not working Rich is usually off trying some new adventure and spending time with his wife and two sons. Both of the boys are teenagers, which is truly the greatest adventure!

Richard E. Sims

NAME:Bibiana Badenes, RSME,RSMT
BOARD POSITION:Director
CITY:Benicassim, Spain
Bibiana Badenes

Bibiana Badenes RSME, RSMT

Bibiana is an influential somatic educator from Benicassim, Spain. As the head of Kinesis, a somatic therapy clinic, for more than 20 years, she oversees an innovative body-mind rehabilitation program for rheumatoid arthritis patients and stress management clients. Bibiana was trained both as a Physical Therapist, having graduated from the University of Valencia, and as an Advanced Certified Rolfer and Rolfing Movement Practitioner from the Rolf Institute.  She is co-creator of the innovative Aquatic Myofascial Integration – as well as Myofascial and Movement Trainings, both of which she teaches internationally.

A pioneer in connecting and building bridges of contact among distinct therapeutic disciplines, Bibiana searches for an inter-disciplinary dialogue through health which can be accessible to everyone.  She created and directs Bodywisdom Spain to fulfil this vision www.bodywisdomspain.com.

Bibiana also trained as an Embodiment Facilitator in 2016 and Leader as Coach from Columbia University, NY in 2018. She is an associated teacher for Advanced-Trainings (USA). She organizes International workshops and retreats in Spain.

Her love and enthusiasm for healing work and for people is immediately evident in her whole being, in her state-of-the-art Physiotherapy clinic and in the vast number of programs she has created to assist all kinds of people to realize their potential in body, mind, heart and spirit. She enjoys a rich family life with her husband and 3 children (and her dog Zac.)

Bibiana Badenes

NAME:Ellen Barlow, RSME, RSMT
BOARD POSITION:Director
CITY:Bethesda, Maryland

Ellen Barlow, RSME, RSMT

Ellen Barlow is a Somatic Movement Educator with over 35 years of experience teaching, designing and managing programs in the fields of health and wellness, education, and dance.

Ellen studied modern dance in Washington DC as a child with Pola Nirenska, a former Mary Wigman company member in Berlin, and then resumed her studies as an adult to complete a BA in Dance Education. She pursued several spiritual traditions that incorporated somatic practices, and Hatha yoga training with Swami Vishnu Devananda to become a certified teacher in the Shivananda tradition. While in college her mentor and dance professor, Carol Boggs, introduced her to the work of Irmgard Bartenieff, F.M. Alexander, Mabel Ellsworth Todd, and Lulu Sweigard. She then studied the Feldenkrais Method and Alexander Technique before meeting Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen in 1979. Ellen moved to Amherst, MA the next year to study Body-Mind Centering®, completing certifications as a Practitioner in 1982 and a Teacher in 1985. Further studies included fitness training, Zero Balancing, and Cranial-Sacral Therapy. Together, these influences directed her career toward somatic movement practices as a basis for consciousness, learning and wellness.

Ellen was a teacher with the School for Body-Mind Centering® from 1986 – 2006, on faculty at the School for New Dance Development in the Netherlands in the 1990’s, the George Washington University dance department in the 1990’s, and the Somatic Movement Educator and BMC Practitioner training programs at the Kinesthetic Learning Center from 2013 – 2017 in Durham, NC. In the early 2000’s she began studying the GYROTONIC® Approach. She is a founding member of the Body-Mind Centering® Association and a past president of the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA). She resides in the Washington DC area where she maintains a private practice, consults on program development, and is a Physical Therapy Aide and teaches GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® at Elements Fitness & Wellness Center.

Ellen Barlow

NAME:Donna Brooks, RSME, RSMT, C-IAYT
BOARD POSITION:Director
CITY:Hadley, Massachusetts

Donna Brooks, RSME, RSMT, C-IAYT

Donna Brooks always loved movement. As a chíld, she twisted her body into all sorts of pretzel positions—only to later realize she was doing yoga poses intuitively. As a young woman, she studied ballet, modern dance, and hatha yoga. In 1982, as one of only a handful of yoga teachers in Washington, D.C., she built a practice that included dancers, activists, and politicians.  She devoted herself to the study of Iyengar yoga with John Schumacher and later with Karin Stephan in Boston.

Teaching yoga has sparked her passion to learn everything she could about the moving body. Donna studied the foundations of Feldenkrais work, the approach of Somatics pioneer Thomas Hanna, Continuum and Body-Mind Centering. She also studied the geometry and physics of movement and momentum with tennis pro Art Carrington and through Contact Improvisation. She has put together core insights of somatic movement as the foundation for all our movements, yoga and exercise execution, and balance in the nervous system. Her approach helps her students embody an effortless, fluid grace.

Donna has a private practice in Western Massachusetts. Her clients include people with injuries related to aging, exercise and sports, accidents or to life trauma and illness such as Parkinson’s, MS and stroke. She also leads classes for Parkinson’s disease patients and those who work with them including at Dartmouth Medical Conferences and at the Movement and Cognition Conference at Harvard summer 2018. She teaches a pain relief clinic at a Valley Medical Center in Greenfield MA. She has taught yoga as a somatic movement practice online for YogaU and created video content for yoga teacher and therapists who want to utilize somatics.

She taught and created yoga and menopause classes for Kaiser Permanente and has presented her work to the UMASS communications disorders department, at Cooley-Dickinson Hospital and for the Pioneer Valley Brain Injury support group. She also taught at the University of Massachusetts, Greenfield Community College, Charlemont Academy, Norwich College, and Mohawk Valley Education Services.

Donna is an ISMETA Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Educator, a certified Yoga therapist and holds a BS from SUNY Stony Brook.

Donna Brooks

NAME:Mandy Chan, RSMT
BOARD POSITION:Director
CITY:East Elmhurst, New York

Mandy Sau Yi Chan, RSMT

Mandy Sau Yi Chan is originally from Hong Kong and received her BFA in Dance with First Class Honors from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. In 2000, she was awarded scholarship from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund to pursue her study in New York. She received her MFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2002. She is a certified American Ballet Theater National Training Curriculum teacher and has been teaching dance in New York for over 17 years. She is a ballet instructor at Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn and has been the company’s principal dancer since 2003.

Outside of the dance world, Mandy is passionate about body-mind based exercises and methods. She shares her passion with her students and clients. She is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist, certified Holistic Health Counselor and certified teacher in Pilates and Yoga. Mandy is a founder of Breathing Heart – Integrative Wellness and Fitness and has her private practice at Union Square, NYC. She presented at the 2017 BMCA conference in San Marcos, TX, 2018 BMCA conference in North Hampton, MA and 2019 ISMETA/NEDO conference in New York NY.

Mandy Sau Yi Chan

Mandy
NAME:Dana Davison RSME, RSMT
BOARD POSITION:Director
CITY:Brooklyn, New York

Dana Davison RSME, RSMT 

Born in upstate New York in 1968, Dana studied classical ballet with Shèr Marie Farrell and Sir William Martin-Viscount before graduating from University of Texas in Russian Studies and Journalism. She co-founded and published a weekly arts magazine in Kiev, Ukraine, as well as a literary magazine and small press book imprint in New York City. She worked as a writer and designer for books and magazines, and she translated and edited movie subtitles and art exhibition catalogs.

While attending graduate school at New York University in 2010, serendipity led Dana back to her roots, to a deep, intensive study in Somatic Movement Therapy and Education with Dr. Martha Eddy. During her training in Dynamic Embodiment®, she studied Body-Mind Centering®, Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals. She experienced Continuum, Authentic Movement, Feldenkrais and Craniosacral Therapy. She worked with babies, and individuals presenting with Piriformis Syndrome and drop-foot, spinal and knee injuries, chronic migraine headaches, speech and motor impairment due to stroke, and back and hip pain. And she assisted Moving for Life® group dance classes for cancer recovery as part of a research study at NYU Langone Medical Center. A whole new world opened up.

In 2013, Dana began teaching BodyMind Dancing® and “The Body in Translation” at Dance New Amsterdam; Moving for Life at Gilda’s Club, the Jewish Community Center and NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, and yoga and meditation at New Visions Charter High School. She collaborated with Shakti Smith on several workshops exploring yoga through the endocrine system; co-founded and co-teaches Somatic Anatomy® with Lissa Michalak, and a Somatic Wellness series and Developmental Movement course with Mandy Chan.

Dana participates in Global Water Dances, presents at BMCA conferences, and contributes to their journal Currents. Currently teaching at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Movement Research, 92nd Street Y, Kings County and Coney Island hospitals, she also offers private sessions in Brooklyn, NY.  [thesomafox.com]

She hopes to help spread the word Somatics through her work with ISMETA.

Dana Davison

NAME:Rebecca Frost, RSMT
BOARD POSITION:Director
CITY:Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rebecca Frost, RSMT

Rebecca Frost is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theater and a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing. She is a Certified Practitioner of Body-Mind Centering, which she taught for four years in the University of Minnesota Dance and Theater Department, where she also assisted teaching the Articulate Body course. Rebecca has maintained a private practice called Embodied Arts for over thirty years. She had a career as a modern dancer and is a lifelong performer, currently focusing on creative writing in the forms of poetry, fiction, and playwriting, as well as non-fiction.

In Minneapolis, Rebecca co-founded a popular reading series called Dancers Who Write, won the Verve Spoken Word grant, and as a co-creator of the Women’s Performance Project participated in two McKnight Fellowships in Choreography. Among many other things, she’s taught Writing and Emotional Currency at The Loft Literary Center, body-sourced writing at Shakopee Women’s Prison, and experiential anatomy to medical students through the University of Minnesota Medical School where she served on the Cultural Competence Subcommittee. There she consulted with the medical school department heads on the Primary Care Education Committee charged with making overall curriculum recommendations for body-mind education. In 2001 she was invited to testify to the White House Commission on Alternative and Complementary Medicine Policy. Previous to her tenure on the board, Rebecca served on the Joint Government Relations Committee of the Federation of Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork & Somatic Practice Organizations, as the Regulatory Liaison of ISMETA, drafting and brokering national regulatory language for the somatic field. She currently serves on the AMTA’s bill drafting subcommittee as the representative for ISMETA in MN. She did postgraduate study in Composition Theory & Pedagogy and serves in numerous roles in conflict resolution, mediation, restorative justice and circle keeping. Rebecca has a deep practice engaging community to create improvisatory vessels that encourage inquiry into racial justice and equity. Passion for consciousness and its manifestations, from the cellular to the ancestral, the artistic to the ecosystemic, drives her. Her next aim is to create vehicles for conducting epistemological research on our practices involving human development, healing and evolutionary biology.

Rebecca Frost

NAME:Kima M Kraimer, MA, RSME
BOARD POSITION:Director
CITY:Traverse City, Michigan + NYC
Kima-M-Kraimer

Kima M Kraimer, MA, RSME

Kima M Kraimer is a graduate of University of Central Lancashire’s Dance and Somatic Wellbeing program. She maintains a private practice as an Advanced Certified Rolfer® and Rolf Movement Educator, and assist teaches at the Rolf Institute.

Combining Permaculture Design®/Ecology with Somatic Movement Education, her interest in embodiment and personal and community development manifests in teachings presented internationally, and with wide ranging populations from the arts to farmers.

She is currently in the Diamond Approach teacher- training process. Her love of nature and on-going inquiry for expanding humanity’s potential is balanced by time spent between Northern Michigan and New York City.

Kima M Kraimer

NAME:Sylvain Méret, RSMT
BOARD POSITION:Director
CITY:Nouvelle Aquitaine, France

Sylvain Méret, RSMT

Coming from an eclectic curriculum in Visual Arts (BA), Contemporary Dance, Somatic and Dance Therapy (MA), Sylvain has been active as a dance performer, choreographer and teacher, working in a range of contemporary and experimental styles, collaborating with many different artists in Europe and Asia. His dance & movement career is the foundation upon which he explores the inner realms of the body and the creative and spiritual potential that lies within us.

Sylvain studied a wide range of somatic, therapeutic and spiritual modalities such as Qi Gong with Master Li Jung Feng, BMC® and Feldenkrais. His meeting with somatic pioneer Emilie Conrad, founder of Continuum, was a coming back home. The Continuum framework healed chronic pain and inflammation in his body and allowed him to continue dancing and performing to this day.

Sylvain is a Continuum Movement® teacher, Continuum wellspring practitioner, a dance therapist and a “Moving cycle” practitioner (C. Caldwell). He teaches workshops, classes, retreats and private sessions with a variety of clients and groups on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual issues. He has been developing projects for babies and fathers, dance and music performances in hospitals, psychiatric ward for teenagers, performances for children, and educational projects in school among others.

Living in France and traveling the world, his endeavor is to explore our human potential through embodiment, in connection with one another and in co-creative partnership with the field of Intelligences weaving our reality. Through his own experiential journey between art, dance, movement, awareness, therapy and spiritual evolution, his mission is to give people access to somatic knowledge as a path to a greater state of being, and to create more bridges between fields and categories for a more unified understanding of what it means to be a human being at this time.

“ The real endeavor in my ongoing work, which emphasizes an opening to direct communication and direct knowledge, is to reclaim our bodies, sensations and consciousness to further our sovereignty, freedom and personal evolution”.  S.M.

Sylvain Méret

NAME:Ray Schwartz, RSME
BOARD POSITION:Director
CITY:Puebla, Mexico

Ray Schwartz, RSME

Ray Eliot Schwartz attended high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts, received his BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University and his MFA in Dance from University of Texas-Austin. He is the founder of Performática: Foro Internacional de Danza Contemporánea y Artes del Movimiento and a consultant and teaching artist for ArcDanz International Dance Workshop. Ray co-founded four contemporary dance projects in the southern U.S.: Sheep Army, The Zen Monkey Project, Steve’s House Dance Collective and THEM. He has been a guest artist for diverse populations in the U.S., South East Asia, Turkey, South America, and Mexico. He has served on the faculty of the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, MELT, the ZMP Summer Dance Intensive, the Colorado College Summer Dance Festival and SFADI, among others. His somatic studies include certifications in Body-Mind Centering® and the Feldenkrais Method®. Additional studies include Zero-Balancing®, Gross Anatomy, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, and Traditional Thai Massage. He is a research associate at the Center for Mind Body Movement and a published scholar who writes in Spanish and English about the interface of somatic movement education and contemporary dance practice. He served as Academic Coordinator of the Dance Program of the University of the Americas-Puebla in México from 2008-2018.

Ray Schwartz