No mirrors, no judgment in a dance studio run by a physicist

There’s probably a lot going on in Jean Trewhella’s head, given her qualifications as a physicist. She holds over 20 patents and worked for IBM for 27 years before moving to the Capital Region six years ago to become Director of Packaging for Global Foundries.

From her undergraduate years at Antioch College in Ohio, which mostly took place in the science building, Trewhella turned to improv dance to pop her head out and reconnect with her body and mind. . Earlier this year, she opened Movement Insights, a dance studio located in Malta Commons, a few miles from Global Foundries, where she maintains her position.

“I have definitely had a very busy career and I need to have something to balance that out. This kind of dance allows me to be completely free, ”explains Trewhella.

As a child, Trewhella had some exposure to ballet and her early dances during her undergraduate era were based on the Alexander Technique of body alignment. Later, she sought experiences with modern dance and even choreography. It was the realm of what you might call healing or authentic movement that really grabbed her. In this field, there are various paths of practice and they share a common emphasis on the personal experience of the dancer, and not on the performance of complicated steps or the reactions of an audience.

“It focuses you on the present moment and how the breath passes through your body. There is no past or future, you are centered in the here and now, ”explains Trewhella. “My first class was a big wake-up call. You listen to your body differently from your thoughts.

Ecstatic dancing is the term used to describe what happens in her studio on Thursday night. Unlike most dance studios, there are no mirrors on the walls at Movement Insights. To use an expression used by some gymnasiums, it is a non-judgmental space. The ecstatic dance is also without choreography. An eclectic 90-minute music playlist serves as the sole guide for participants who are allowed to move around in any way and take breaks as needed.

Steve Young, a meteorologist from Voorheesville, has participated in Ecstatic Dance several times since the opening of Movement Insights in the spring. “It’s a way of letting go and being totally me and in a place where no one judges me for everything I do. That way I can connect with joy and even ecstasy, ”he says.

Tuesday evenings are dedicated to Journey Dance, a more guided experience that combines freestyle and structured movement. It has roots in ritual, sacred drama, and shamanism with an emphasis on embodiment and emotional release.

“Meditation in motion” is how Michelle B. Provost of Saratoga Springs describes it. “You can let go of your stress and anchor and reconnect with yourself,” she says. “You are with people who understand and they can reserve space for you. There is a sense of community that is spontaneous, just pure connection with others.

Still other modalities, including Nia and Aromatouch, will be available during Movement Into Wellness – Earth Dance Gathering, which will take place on Saturday, October 30. Trewhella and several guest instructors will lead sessions throughout the day. Participants can attend some or all of the events.

A dance studio launch during a pandemic isn’t ideal, but Trewhella adapts and moves forward. Some programs are offered online and vaccinations and masks are required for in-person events. So far, promotions have mostly come through word of mouth and on Facebook, and the evening programs have attracted small groups, typically around a half-dozen. “We’re trying to keep it small because of COVID, so we don’t mind right now,” says Trewhella, adding that each class has drawn new faces.

Two years ago Trewhella and his wife moved from Troy and built a new house in Malta. It’s close enough to Global Foundries that Jean can cycle to work. Within walking distance is the Malta Commons.

Trewhella rented a suite of rooms totaling 2,600 square feet. In the main space, measuring 1,000 square feet, she installed a durable bamboo dance floor on a layer of foam backing. Another large room is reserved for various uses, including meditation and special workshops. A third, smaller space was praised by Patrice Malatestinic, a freelance horn player and member of the Glens Falls Symphony, for his work as a multimedia artist.

Creativity and healing already had a foothold in the complex, where existing tenants include a yoga studio and a chocolatier. The newest addition is a pole dance studio. Trewhella sees a vibrant community of artists, teachers and makers, maybe even a farmers market.

“I wanted to put down roots in Malta and give back to the community through dance. As I can afford, I created a studio as a place where others can come and find movement as I have found it, to play a decisive role in their lives, ”she says. “I want people to feel the body / mind experience. We miss it with all this technology.

Movement Insights is located at 100 Saratoga Village Blvd, Suite 10, Ballston Spa.

For more information, including the Earth Dance Gathering, which runs 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 30, visit:

Joseph Dalton is a freelance writer based in Troy.

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