Mark Chandlee Taylor
I am a registered somatic movement educator and therapist (RSMT) with a background in dance, choreography, and movement education.
My interest in somatic investigation originated after my university studies when I arrived in New York in 1975 with limited training but a strong desire to pursue dance. I quickly found that the most effective way to train was not just to take dance classes, but also to study Alexander Technique, Bartenieff Fundamentals, the Feldenkrais Approach, and Body-Mind Centering®, all of which integrated sensory awareness with movement and allowed my neuromuscular coordination to progress more rapidly. I also found that a daily meditation practice was a great support. My primary interest remained in performance and choreography, so I established and toured with my own company, Mark Taylor & Friends, beginning in 1983.
In 1991 my son was born with a traumatic brain injury resulting in multiple disabilities, and in 1993 Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (the founder of Body-Mind Centering) became his primary therapist. I became increasingly interested in movement as a tool for healing rather than as an art practice as a result of the transformative process of my son’s treatments with Bonnie. I trained for eight years to become a certified practitioner and teacher of Body-Mind Centering, and devoted myself to teaching BMC beginning in 2002. I taught in the School for Body-Mind Centering (SBMC) in the U.S. and Europe, and then became its Program Director and Program Coordinator in the United States.
In 2006, I decided to continue the trajectory of teaching by initiating my own training program, the Center for BodyMindMovement. While my curriculum shares a methodology of embodiment with SBMC, my preferred focus was 1) to emphasize the psychophysical, interpersonal, and spiritual implications of the embodiment process, and 2) to build professional skills for students in teaching and movement facilitation at the same time as providing a deep embodiment experience. The curriculum was co-developed with Mary Lou Seereiter, a Laban Certified Movement Analyst and teacher of Authentic Movement, and Ray Elliot Schwartz, a Body-Mind Centering and Feldenkrais practitioner. All of those disciplines contributed significantly to the training, which now has ongoing sites in Pittsburgh, PA; São Paulo, Brazil; and Mexico City.
My private movement therapy practice was originally focused on adult cancer survivors, children with learning and developmental disabilities, and dancers and athletes with musculoskeletal distress. Increasingly, I became interested in working with the residue of traumatic experience in the bodies of my clients. In recent years I have incorporated into my teaching and practice Peter Levine’s theories of trauma healing through the autonomic nervous system, and am a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. I also trained as a yoga teacher with the Himalayan Institute; in Craniosacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute; and continue to study meditation and philosophy at the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center.
I currently serve on the board of directors of the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association, and enjoy teaching in BMM trainings and workshops around the world.