Andrea Olsen, performer, writer, educator, is Professor of Dance Emerita and has held the John C. Elder Professorship in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, in Middlebury, Vermont, USA. From 2016-18 she taught on Middlebury’s Monterey, California campus, bringing embodiment practices into graduate courses on communication. She is the author of a quartet of books on embodiment: Moving Between Worlds: A Guide to Embodied Living and Communicating (Wesleyan 2022), The Place of Dance: A Somatic Guide to Dancing and Dance Making (Wesleyan 2014), Body and Earth, An Experiential Guide (Wesleyan 2019/2002), and Bodystories, A Guide to Experiential Anatomy (Wesleyan 2019/Station Hill 1991/UPNE 2002) with colleague Caryn McHose.
Andrea performs and teaches internationally. She was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in New Zealand in 2003, working with Maori, Samoan, and Cook Island dancers. Recent projects include continuing the Body and Earth: Seven Web-Based Somatic Excursions on-line video projects with colleagues Scotty Hardwig and Caryn McHose, and hosting the Somatics Festival 2019 in Northampton, MA, with a free website of workshops, panels, lectures and art work, created with Scotty Hardwig.
Colleagues whose teaching has inspired Andrea’s work include Janet Adler (the Discipline of Authentic Movement); Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (experiential anatomy through the School for Body-Mind Centering); John Elder (Environmental Studies); Lee Holden (Holden QiGong); Caryn McHose (evolutionary movement); Patty Townsend (Embodyoga); Peter Schmitz (choreography); and Gordon Thorne and Anne Woodhull (Available Potential Enterprises/A.P.E. in Northampton, MA), whose visionary work preserves open space for creative work in the heart of community.
As a contributing editor to Contact Quarterly, a dance and improvisation journal, Andrea served as guest editor for two feature issues on Place. She teaches annually at dance festivals in the US and abroad, including residencies at the Bates Dance Festival, the American Dance Festival, the Seattle Festival of Dance and Improvisation, and Body and Earth residential retreats. Her somatic workshops have been hosted at numerous centers including Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, and the Sophia Institute.
Mindfulness practices have been central to Andrea’s work as an artist and educator. She is a 500-hour certified Embodyoga teacher, is certified in Holden Qi Gong with Lee Holden, and practices Vipassana Insight Meditation. As one of the first recipients of an ACLS Contemplative Practice Fellowship in 1999 Andrea integrated yoga labs into her academic courses on anatomy. She currently includes qigong in her workshops as a bridge to bring mindfulness practices into our daily lives, ensuring we can keep moving even in small spaces and challenging times.
Degrees, Specializations & Interests:
MFA University of Utah, Dance Choreography