Bodysensate - Matt Nelson

On the WEB

Artist Biography
Matthew teaches dance in the theatre department at Willamette University, where he also directs the annual dance concerts, PeopleDance. He holds an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah, and is a certified Laban Movement Analyst. He has performed extensively with Santa Barbara Dance Theatre, and additionally credits his artistic lineage to the communities of the University of California Santa Barbara, American Dance Festival, University of the Arts, Pomona College, Dance Fusion, Anne Marie Mulgrew Company, and Philadanco. Research interests reflected in academic and choreographic publication include spinal connectivity, somatic philosophy, and embodied ecology. On the web at:

Company Biography
BodySensate Contemporary Dance aims to research embodied ecology through movement aesthetics. Ecology is a study of relational systems: How do we interact with our internal and external environments? Can we sense these relationships firsthand by moving, or by witnessing movement? What do our movements reveal about our worldviews?

Artist Statement
Life is movement, and dancing is a direct pathway to aliveness. I can walk my thoughts, spin my ideals, leap my loves, and balance my intentions. In dancing I exercise my ability to respond—responsibility—continually alternating between practices of attention and intention. I attend to my own being, those of others, and the world within which we exist. I attend to the patterns that reveal themselves internally and externally, microcosmically and macrocosmically. I attend to my own responses, grateful that there are constant surprises, and some trusted landmarks, in my identity. I intend, and my agency is asserted as I participate in my own patterning, and that of my world.
I imagine, and my intentions act as a magnet for my hopes, attempting to draw them into reality. I hope that we recognize a global community. I hope that we recognize body and earth as our home. I hope that we experience compassion, ease, and perhaps even happiness. I hope that awareness is worthwhile. I hope to integrate knowledge, building interrelationship. I hope that sharing my path, as an artist and educator, brings aliveness.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?
An opportunity to connect, share work, and envision possibilities. I am seeking collaborators with whom I might create something more acutely directed at affecting how people perceive the connection between self and world. I don't know what this looks like yet, and I think it is most likely to evolve by interacting with other movement artists.

Have you participated in Festivals before? If so, what worked and what didn't work for you? What would you like to see more or less of?
I have participated in academically oriented festivals and conferences such as the American College Dance Festival, conferences of the National Dance Educators Association and East West Somatics, and I have been a repeat student at the American Dance Festival. I participated in the ADaPT Festival two years ago. One thing I have wanted to find more of in the more artistically oriented festivals (such as ADF) is classes in which artists teach each other. I see a lot of classes in which the master/student relationship is primary, and few that support an environment of sharing/collaborating as equals. I greatly appreciated that the ADaPT Festival fosters such an environment, and would love to see more classes/workshops offered as part of the experience. I realize that the practicalities of time and space are challenging--I do not pretend that what I am suggesting is easily or quickly accomplished, but that it might be an interesting angle to investigate further.

Verbal Description of the Work
Matt Nelson is recently relocated to the Santa Barbara area.  He is creating a new work for the Festival inspired by the principles of permaculture.