Watching Nina Wise perform or teach her unique form of theatre art is nothing short of enlightening. Her method is addictictively fun, as promised, but also transformational. In her own performances, Nina uses her captivating physicality to tell personal stories that morph into the stories of our times. The website’s primary purpose is to attract new students to the form.
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Seriously Fun | Curiously Addictive
Improvisation as Art Form and Transformational Practice
An original form of autobiographical improvisation, Motion Theater is simultaneously performance art and a refreshingly authentic spiritual practice. Created by award-winning Bay Area performer Nina Wise, Motion has been described by both participants and audiences as funny, moving, liberating and transformational. Motion is playful, mindful self-expression where you’re likely to experience a freer more spontaneous you.
“When you become addicted to what frees you instead of to what keeps you unhappy, your life changes.” —Nina Wise
Motion Theater is autobiographical improvisation practiced in solo, duet, trio and ensemble forms. Motion has a strong movement component, so we teach movement as part of the training. It has a strong narrative element. So we teach what we call writing on your feet, as the narrative is spoken rather than written for the page. Combining these elements, the body as well as the voice is used for a full-out form of improvised autobiographical expression.
Take A Motion Workshop
Take a workshop and become part of the welcoming, growing Motion community. Move like you’ve never moved. Sing, growl, chant. Tell the stories only you can tell. Feel lighter, wiser, sweeter, and, yes, hungry for more Motion. Take a Motion Theater workshop and feel a bone-deep, soul-deep liberation.
In a Motion Theater class, you’ll:
Warm up your body and voice
Move freely in response to your inner impulses
Play theater games that free you up and generate well-being
Integrate sound, narrative, and movement
Embody and tell your personal narrative
Begin to weave your personal narrative
Learn techniques that will help you respond to and support partners
Hone the elements of storytelling.
You can also use techniques you learn in Motion workshops to raise your spirits and to gain personal insight, deepen intimacy, create community, enhance your self-confidence, and develop a presence as a leader or performer.
Motion Theater Workshops: Levels 1 and 2
Our stories live in our bodies, in our cells, so we move from the inside out, giving voice and form to our personal characters and realities. We move, we unwind, we vocalize, we tell stories. Expect to surprise yourself, to become more playful and at ease before an audience and to gain greater insight and appreciation of your stories, your life, yourself and others.
Advanced Lab meets once a week for three to six months and is intended for people who’ve already taken a Motion Theater workshop. You’ll hone your Motion Theater skills practicing solo, duet, trio and ensemble forms with other trained improvisers. Advanced Lab culminates in a public performance. Through this expressive, transformational practice, you’ll cultivate presence, advance your artistic craft and develop your leadership and presentation skills.
Motion Theater Immersion
Immerse yourself in both the therapeutic and performance aspects of Motion as you hone your skills in the solo, duet and ensemble forms that are the essential building blocks of the practice. Motion Immersion consists of six weekend workshops and one five-day retreat. There are no pre-requisites for Immersion.
Motion Teacher Training
If you’re ready to go more deeply into the art of Motion Theater and teach others this liberating practice, take Motion Theater Teacher Training. Motion Theater Immersion or the equivalent Motion Theater training is a prerequisite to the Teacher Training.
Motion Theater Teacher Training 1
Gain proficiency in the core Motion Theater forms and become certified to teach beginning and intermediate levels of Motion. Teacher Training 1 is a prerequisite to Teacher Training 2.
Motion Theater Teacher Training 2
Further develop the performance aspects of Motion Theater, learn how to give critical feedback in a supportive way and become certified to help others move forward with their artistic expression.
Meet Motion’s Teachers
We’re thrilled that Motion Theater is making its way out into the world through our widening circle of certified teachers.
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Nina Wise, Performance Artist and Motion Theater’s Founder
Nina Wise has given solo performances and taught Motion Theater in prestigious venues in the U.S., South America, Europe and Asia. She’s won awards for playwriting, innovative design and new theatre, including three NEA fellowships and seven Bay Area Theater Critics’ Circle Awards. After having many shorter writings appear in magazines and anthologies, Nina wrote: “A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life” (Broadway Books) to give people who aren’t able to take a Motion workshop a way to move their stories out and live freer happier lives.
“Since I was a student, earning degrees in religious studies and the aesthetics of movement, I’ve been dedicated to understanding the relationship of body, mind, and spirit. I’ve sought out everyone from great choreographers such as Twyla Tharpe, Anna Halprin and Margy Jenkins to spiritual teachers such as Jack Kornfield and HWJ Poonjaji to chaos theorists, neuroscientists, cosmologists and economists in an endlessly fascinating journey. Early on, I discovered that the body holds knowledge the mind knows nothing of and, that if given voice, those understandings can fuel and free the spirit. This is why I created Motion Theater. I wanted to give people a way to transform their lives through self-expression.”
Nina lives in San Rafael, California. She teaches workshops and performs worldwide.