Francesca Castaldi, Ph.D.
I am a certified Focusing Trainer and Coordinator
with The Focusing Institute
of New York, and a certified Somatic Experiencing
Practitioner from the Somatic
Experiencing Trauma Institute in Colorado.
I have found Focusing to be a practice of hope,
liberation, improvisation and friendship, supporting the organic
unfolding of our being, while responding to the larger dance of life.
I come to this work with a 25 years commitment
to movement somatics and improvisation (yoga, Contact Improvisation,
Halprin’s Life-Art Process, low flying trapezes and bungees, West
African dance forms, Continuum), critical studies of dance
(Ph.D. U.C. Riverside) and the anthropology of the body (M.A.
University of Chicago, BA UC Berkeley).
Before teaching Focusing I taught courses in dance, dance studies, and
anthropology at the University of California, San Diego, Los Angeles,
and Riverside (UCSD, UCLA, UCR) as well as at Occidental College.
I am the author of Choreographies
of African Identities (University of Illinois Press,
2006) a book about dance and politics in urban Senegal and in U.S. theatres.
In my anthropological work I have learned much from
the collective wisdom of peoples in Senegal who over
the centuries have used the power of dance to heal from slavery, colonization
and continued cultural and political marginalization. The Mapuche peoples
of Southern Argentina and Chile have taught me how self-determination
is an essential dynamic for the ability of communities to organize in
the face of continued political and ecological oppression, and begin healing
the traumas of historical and ecological violence.
I bring these understandings in my work with you as
I am committed to respect and value our collective as well as
personal differences and ways of being in the world, honoring
the ways in which we as individuals may draw strength and wisdom from
historical memories and collective visions of the future.
Having lived in Italy, the United States, Senegal,
and Argentina, I am aware of the diversity of expectations, aspirations,
and personal values that you may bring to our work together.
I consider teaching Focusing an experience of
mutual learning, and I am always honored at the opportunity to
accompany you on this journey toward self-discovery. I am also delighted
when age differences allow for the gift of inter-generational communication.
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