Board of Directors
Maria Luisa Diaz de Leon Zuloaga
MSME, MSMT, REAT, MA
Orland, Maine, USA
Committees: Executive, Audit & Finance, Equity Justice & Accessibility, Co-Chair; Professional Standards
Maria Luisa is a psychologist, researcher, therapist, movement specialist, mythologist and performer who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Marialuisa is the creator of Mythic Life: Embodying Wisdom, Beauty and Courage; an innovative integration of somatic movement, myth, arts, and archetypal psychology that create possibilities for awareness, healing, growth and transformation (mythiclife.net). Marialuisa guides individuals and groups from different regions of the world in online and in-person exploratory inquiries and invites creative expression, presence, reflection, and continued learning in English and Spanish.
Marialuisa is a registered Expressive Arts Therapist through the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) and a registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Educator from ISMETA – the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association.
Since 2014 Marialuisa has served on the ISMETA Board of Directors. Currently, holding the office Board President, and Co-Chair of the Professional Standards Committee. She values the professionalism, integrity, respect, and creativity of her Board colleagues and enjoys collaborating with them. In addition, she served on the Advisory Council of the conference Encuentro Somático in Mexico City.
Maria Luisa Diaz de Leon Zuloaga
MSME, MSMT, MA
London, United Kingdom
Committees: Executive, Research & Publications, International Weavers, Co-Chair; Professional Standards
Jane has a background of training and practice in Integrative Arts Psychotherapy and Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy. After meeting and being mentored by Emilie Conrad she integrated somatic movement into her practice to become the first Continuum teacher in the UK in 2007. This opened a doorway for her ongoing passion of somatic movement.
Jane has a master’s degree in Dance and Somatic Wellbeing from the University of Central Lancaster, a Diploma in Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy with Linda Hartley and has completed the Circles of Four programme with Janet Adler in the Discipline of Authentic Movement.
Her other passion is her work with somatic trauma. She has been integrating this with her work of somatic movement therapy and hands-on sessions for the last 10 years. She is qualified as a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner, assisting as a provider on the UK Somatic Experiencing® trainings and has trained with Kathy Kain in Touch and Trauma and with Dr. Aline La Pierre in NeuroAffective Touch. Jane has written a chapter about her work in the book, ‘The Fluid Nature of Being – Embodied practices for healing in wholeness.’
Mandy Sau Yi Chan
Kingston, New York, USA
Committees: Executive, Chair; Audit & Finance
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. Mandy is a certified American Ballet Theater National Training Curriculum teacher. She was a ballet instructor and the company’s principal dancer at Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn 2003-2022.
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
Richard E. Sims
MSME, MSMT, CTP
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Committees: Executive, Audit & Finance, Co-Chair; Communications, Co-Chair; Somatic Arts and Education
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. Rich 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, as well as, the Cancer Wellness Center where he helps patients, caregivers and their families through their cancer journeys.
Richard E. Sims
MSME, MSMT, MA
Committees: Communications, International Weavers
Bibiana graduated in Physiotherapy from the University of Valencia (1988) and mastered in Physiotherapy (2013). She studied in USA, Switzerland, England, Italy, New Zealand and Germany, where she trained in the Rolfing© Method of Structure Integration (1995) and Advanced Rolfing© (2005). She is a teacher of Movement Rolfing™ (2009), and the first physiotherapist in Spain to be trained in these methods, applying a personal and humanistic touch with her clients and patients.
She has continued training in different methods of body movement, osteopathic techniques and experiential anatomy. Since 1998 she has been working with Swedish companies, with rheumatic and chronic pain patients, and since 2002 with Swedish consulting companies, where she applies her body intelligence program to people suffering from stress, anxiety, depression and burnout. A co-creator of Aquatic Integral Therapy, Bibiana also trained in Mindfulness in 2011 and relaxation techniques, and she is a specialist in posture and musculoskeletal injuries. She trained in Somatic Coaching in the 2016 London EFC course, Leader as a Coach: Coaching as a Leadership Approach, Mindset, and Process at Columbia University NY (USA, 2018), and Being in Movement with Dr. Paul Linden. She conducts seminars on Leadership and Body Intelligence.
MSME, RSDE, MFA
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Committees: Somatic Arts & Education, Equity Justice & Accessibility
E.E. Balcos is a Registered Somatic Dance Educator and a Professor of Dance at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance.
In 1982, he began training with modern dance pioneer Hanya Holm while also engaging in contact improvisation. A successful performer and choreographer for over 35 years, he danced with companies including Zenon Dance Company, Shapiro & Smith Dance, and the Demetrius Klein Dance Company. He worked directly and performed in the works of renowned choreographers and dance artists including: Chris Aiken, Danny Buraczeski, Sam Costa, Ping Chong, Sean Curran, David Dorfman, Joe Goode, Daniel Gwirtzman, Dwight Rhoden, David Rousseve, Stephanie Skura, Jan Van Dyke, and Bill Young. He is currently working on a project with Bill Evans. E.E. was the Artistic Director and choreographer for his own company E.E. MOTION from 2007-2013.
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Committees: Executive, Communications
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.
Committees: Communications, Co-Chair; International Weavers
Florian has studied Anthropology & Communication Science and worked in manifold projects in Berlin where he has lived since 2007. Throughout his experience, he has witnessed our bodies mostly being of use or having to be fixed when broken or not functioning well enough. In 2017 he engaged with the study of somatics at the Somatische Akademie Berlin and now offers classes and experiences to elevate the body as a true resource of wisdom, joy and depth in our lives.
His main research lies in ableism, and work with youth and bodies and personalities with traumatic histories and experiences of discrimination. In addition to his educational training, he is in the process of becoming a somatic movement therapist (Dynamic Embodiment practitioner).
MSME, RSDE, MFA
Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Committees: Equity Justice & Accessibility, Co-Chair; Somatics Arts & Education
Kehinde Ishangi is a dance artist, educator, scholar, and somatic practitioner. She is an Assistant Professor in Studio Practices and Dance Science at Florida State University. Ishangi holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Pedagogy from Brenau University. Ms. Ishangi is a Level 3 Franklin Method® Educator, certified GYROTONIC ®, GYROKINESIS®, STOTT PILATES™, CoreAlign® Instructor, and completed Zena Rommett Floor-Barre® in August 2021. Founder and director of The Ishangi Institute, created to further her research and application of movement science. Her pedagogical approach aims to integrate functional anatomy and somatic techniques within dance studio practices. She is included in the 2021 anthology (Re:)Claiming Ballet.
Ishangi has been an international dance soloist. Within The United States, she has performed with Ballethnic Dance Company, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, and KM Dance Project. While residing in Paris, France, Ishangi was a performing artist with Compagnie James Carlès and Compagnie Georges Momboye.
Kima M Kraimer
Traverse City, Michigan + New York City, USA
Committees: Equity Justice & Accessibility, International Weavers, Chair; Board Development, Government Relations & Regulations
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
Nouvelle Aquitaine, France
Committees: Professional Standards Committee, Somatics Arts & Education
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 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.
Gayatri Maya Schriefer
Committees: Communications; Co-Chair, International Weavers
Gayatri is a Registered Somatic Movement Educator and a certified Hanna Somatic Educator. She is a graduate of The Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training in California, USA. Gayatri holds a bachelor’s degree in Education with the focus on health promotion, education and kinesthetic learning. She is a co-founder of Living Somatics that offers professional training programs in the clinical hands-on work and movement lessons of Living Somatics.
Gayatri is passionate about making Somatic disciplines available to the world, and to connect and grow the global somatic community. She has brought Hanna Somatics to Sweden and the Russian speaking countries. Gayatri is a co-host and co-creator of the yearly virtual Somatic Movement Summit, which is a collaboration between The Shift Network and Living Somatics. She now lives in Sweden and consults clients internationally, and teaches trainings and workshops in-house and online. Additionally, Gayatri has been facilitating women’s circles for 20 years and co-facilitates women’s leadership programs.
Gayatri Maya Schriefer
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Committees: Professional Standards, Audit & Finance, Co-Chair; Equity Justice & Accessibility
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.