Erika Berland | 303 443-4115



Performance - Instructor
MFA Theater: Contemporary Performance - Instructor


PBS Dance and Movement Studies/Empire State College
Certified Practitioner of Body-Mind Centering®

Licensed Massage Therapist (NY & CO), Registered Movement Therapist; member of ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Education Therapy Association), ATME (Association of Theater Movement Educators), ATHE (Association of Theater Educators) and MERGE (Movement Educators Research Group), Authorized Meditation Instructor.

A pioneer in the field of somatic education with a long and distinguished career in the fields of movement therapy and re-education for performing artists integrating modern dance, physical theater, massage therapy, and contemplative practice. Erika is a founding faculty and co-creator of the unique movement curriculum of the MFA Theater: Contemporary Performance Program at Naropa University. She has been in the forefront of creating new techniques and applications of Bonnie Cohen’s ground breaking work (Body Mind Centering®), Laban, and post-modern dance techniques in the service of a new aesthetic—fully integrating psycho-physical sources of the actor, and clarity of form, and articulation of the dancer. An early student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the meditation master and founder of Naropa University, and longtime teacher of meditation, Erika has researched the integration of meditation practice and view in the Shambhala tradition with performance techniques and holistic support for the performer.

Career Highlights

  • Graduate of New York’s High School of Performing Arts and Ballet scholarship student at Harkness House; professional training with Merce Cunningham, Viola Farber, Jean Erdman, Fhinis Jhung, Lar Lubovitch, and Alwin Nickolai; performed with Twyla Tharp Pick-Up Company, Ariel Dance (Moshe Ariel), Fairmont Dance Theater, Crystal Dance (Barbara Dilley). 
  • Collaborated on development of first movement analyses application to fitness and enhancing performance at The Sports Training Institute and developed and directed the Movement Program at Plus One Fitness Center(NYC, 1983-90). Clients included, Robin Willliams, Kevin Klein, Glenn Close, Joel Grey, Julia Roberts, Phoebe Cates, Michael O’Keefe, award winning conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, Bernard King (NY Knicks), Mark Breland (Heavyweight Contender), Billie Jean King (Tennis Champion).

Recent Professional Development Workshops and Classes

The Somatic Performer Intensive (Naropa, Boulder Co. 2013, 14), Body Mind Centering® for Dance Somatic Track (MFA Dance, Colorado University), Maximizing Physical Potential and Preventing Injury-A Body Mind Centering Approach (American Dance Festival-6 Week School), The Physical Art of Sitting (Nationally presented workshops in the sitting posture of meditation).

Recent Conference Presentations

ATHE Presentations: Cultivating Refuge, Collaboration and Renewal in the Theater Movement Community (Scottsdale, AZ. 2014); Affecting Kinesthesia from Internal and External Awareness in Viewpoints Practice (Scottsdale, AZ. 2014); The New Somatics, ATHE Featured Workshop, with Wendell Beavers (NYC 2009); ATME Presentations: Applying Experiential Anatomy to Physical Dramaturgy (Washington DC 2012); ACMHE (The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education): Practices in Sensing, Perceiving and Doing (Amherst, MA 2010).

Current Projects

Erika’s book, The Physical Art of Sitting, a guide to the ancient form of sitting meditation practice utilizing contemporary research in somatic education and experiential Anatomy, to be published in November, 2016. Her chapter entitled Somatic Training for Actors with the Principles of Body-Mind Centering® has been accepted for the 2nd ed. of Movement for Actors (edited by Nicole Potter, Allworth Press) to be published in 2016.