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What is Transformative Movement?


Educated play with a child’s mind

Uncovers the perfect person

That resides within

Each of us.

Look to see what clothes your heart wears,

Find the rhythm of life and dance with it.

Whatever you create will be good enough.

                                                            -Sifu John A. Fey


Transformative movement is movement that is designed to transform the person who /plays/ it.


The history of transformative movement has been going on for many millennia. For example, in the tradition of Arts I play, we still engage forms and practices such as Ching Shen Nui Gung that goes back to when the Chinese first started writing over 4000 years ago!  Transformative movement has been utilized in every continent and every region of the world.  It seems clear to me that early on in human development, we realized that in blending imagination, movement, and breath, we could enhance our connection to ourselves and our environment. This movement has taken the form of dance, ceremony, and ritual to regain and restore balance, clarity, and health within people, communities, and the land in which they lived.  We are human, and there have always been imbalances to balance in our daily living. We have to be creative to navigate through challenging times. It is not just about self-preservation but about thriving and growing. Hence, our lives become joyful, funnier, and more fulfilling, which spreads out like ripples in a pond to the people around us.



This is a journey, not a destination.  It should become a daily practice such as showering, brushing your teeth, and eating.  The playing of the information in this course increases mindfulness, awareness, and communication with ourselves.


We have come to experience the body and the mind as separate.  They are, in fact, intimately connected. That is why I use the term bodymind. For instance, studies have shown that memory may be stored in the body as much as the brain. When you imagine eating a lemon, your bodymind produces movement and chemistry to accommodate the sour taste. Some of you may be scrunching your face and producing saliva right now. It has been known for thousands of years that watching your breath without latching onto distraction will calm your spirit and mind.  That walking in a circle will heighten your ability to listen to your surroundings. That to blend movement with a thought, such as a smile descending downwards, will help us to relax.


Traditions all over the world look and feel vastly different from one another, and the practices lead to different experiences.  The one thing they all have in common is play.   Pretend to move like monkeys, bears, birds, snakes, and tigers, and we gain hidden access to parts of ourselves.  Move, as if, we are wind, or water, or stand like a mountain and we glean different insights. We move: to connect to God, to join the life force within everything, to connect to the Great Spirit or the Mother of the world. We can play to connect to the moon, the sun, and the stars to feel the universe’s immensity. We can move very slowly to connect with the things invisible when moving quickly.  We move slowly and fluidly to allow for stories to unfold within us from quarters unknown. Some movement traditions move quickly and accurately to find the stillness that resides within. Some move to intuitively understand the Mind within everything. The story of humanity could be viewed entirely from the transformative movement they create and how the imagination and movement transformed the people who played them.


New Forest®, developed by Sifu John A. Fey, (a master in many schools of transformative movement), is a well-designed language of transformative movement. It is simple and is easy to enter. It is a language that builds over time. It becomes fuller and more dynamic as we begin to engage the simple movement with our imagination and when we play in the New Forest, our experience of everyday life also deepens. Transformative movement transforms us.

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