the forces of nature: A Six Viewpoints Online Experiment

With Deborah Black & Sophia Treanor

June 12, 2020 - 11:00am to June 14, 2020 - 4:00pm

We are sheltered in our homes (safely or unsafely) in response to a force of nature. This has created our current condition of ‘ensemble impossible’ and ‘system overwhelm’. We are learning to adapt to this in all of its challenges and wisdoms.

Recognized largely as an ensemble-building tool, we are turning to the contemplative, solo-practice base that is the underpinning philosophy of the Six Viewpoints.

First articulated by Mary Overlie, a dancer-phenomenologist-observer, the Six Viewpoints offer lenses of perception that open the practitioner's awareness to the three-dimensional reality of what is, deconstructing the materials of: space, time, shape, emotion, story, and movement; to open up their infinite possibilities.

....."It's the business of is-ness".....
—m. o. mantra of 2018, first spoken by student and flown David Melendy at ImpulsTanz in Vienna

In this three-day, online retreat, we will work with the Viewpoints to interrupt projections of imaginary, future-as-progress-oriented narratives. This weekend workshop will include a brief introduction to the theoretical framework of the Viewpoints as well as a closer look at the materials through improvisation and experimentation. We will pry open this present circumstance and ask: "What is Really Here? Can our habitat change or change us? What are the Shapes Here? What is the Shape of This? What can I perceive anew about the Nature of Time?"

This insistence on the present makes room for an open future. Through the practice of the Six Viewpoints we shift from an identity and position of creator-originator-doer-changer-owner-dominator to a receptive and actively listening participant in the language, materials, and forces of nature.

We welcome anyone who wants to engage with the current crisis from an embodied perspective; beginners and experienced Viewpoints practitioners alike.


Schedule (all times in EDT on Zoom):
Friday 11am–1pm & 2–4pm
Saturday 11am–1pm & 2–4pm
Sunday 11am–1pm & 2–4pm

Participants are asked to set aside one hour before or after sessions to continue the work (additional exercises and materials provided through Slack).

Earthdance is striving to create sustainable models of programming that also help create opportunities for more diverse access. This workshop is priced on a sliding scale to allow for a wide range of people to attend. The "Sustainer” rate is for those able to help sustain our organization. The "Subsidized” rate for those needing financial assistance. We ask that you please pay at the highest level you can afford. This supports fair compensation for the teaching artists and the Earthdance organization while creating opportunity for those who need support to attend.

Live Event Rate — Sliding Scale (Subsidized–Sustainer): $250–$400

Asynchronous Option:
We're offering an Asynchronous Option for those unable to make the live sessions. Asynchronous participants will be able to access the recorded sessions and additional materials, ask questions, schedule time with the teachers, and provide reflections, but will not be able to participate in any live discussions.

Asynchronous Rate — Sliding Scale (Subsidized–Sustainer): $75–$150

Scholarships are available for people needing financial aid, with preference given to BIPOC. Apply for a Scholarship Here >>

If you have any questions or concerns about cost, please email

Earthdance Cancellation Policy

Deborah Black is a dancer, theatre maker, writer, and teacher. She has performed in the work of Deborah Hay, Mary Overlie, Susan Rethorst, and Ann Hamilton. While living in Rotterdam (NL) from 2013-16, she created and toured with the Tuning People (BE) and Ymist Company (NO). She is currently researching the space between the body and language with poet Alyson Hallett (UK) while writing her first book. Deborah has taught physical theatre and dance at the Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Tilburg (NL). She led guest and master classes at Goldsmith’s University London, NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing, Drama Studio London, Ohio University, Skidmore College, Rowan University, James Madison University, University of South Florida, as well as workshops in New York City, all across Europe and online.


Sophia Treanor is a performer, director, educator, and Biodynamic Craniosacral practitioner. Her work has been seen at New York Live Arts, Living Theater, the Center for Performance Research, CAVE, the Glasshouse, Triskelion Arts, and Dixon Place. Treanor has been apprentice to Viewpoints founder Mary Overlie since 2013, and served as a primary reader for the Viewpoints book, "Standing in Space.”  Treanor teaches the Viewpoints in New York and has assisted Overlie’s workshops in Switzerland, England, Spain, the Netherlands, and Austria. Most recently, she produced, assistant directed, and performed in Overlie’s "Brain to Brain" at Danspace Project. She is on faculty at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and practices Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy in New York City.

photos © Anna M. Maynard and Mary Overlie (bottom)