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Workshops and Retreats  

             About the Retreat

Breathing through Difficulty,

Moving with Grace


Dates:      Friday 17th May, 2pm - Monday 20th May, 3pm

Location: Rowen Memorial Hall, Rowen, Conwy, N. Wales LL32 8YP

Price:      £300, includes lunch Sat-Mon

                (There are some reduced places, for details contact Penny directly)


To book your place, please email


About the Retreat:

When you experience difficulty, what happens in your body? What densities, intensities, textures, qualities come alive?
Does your breathing constrict... speed up... disappear?


Difficulty with life is experienced from all directions. Outside and inside our skin body,

difficulty is felt and at times can seem relentless and impossible to penetrate.


Attending to our breath and giving ourselves time and space to feel awakens possibilities for more subtle, refined sensations, images, feelings and movements.

As we begin to experience shifts in the densities and intensities of difficulty, we become available to receive and move with grace through every level of our experience. Opening and receiving the grace of being alive, breathing and moving, what new insights can emerge in the face of personal and global difficulties?

During this retreat we will use a variety of somatic movement methods which support deep personal
inquiry. This will include moving-witnessing in partners and as a group, touch, and exploration
through writing, drawing, and speaking. There will be opportunity to move outdoors, and our days will be spaciously structured to support rest and replenishment.


Penny and Mary have known one another for 17 years, and taught together on the MA Dance & Somatic Wellbeing programmes, which ran in UCLan, Preston and in New York, until 2021. They look forward to reconnecting with graduates, colleagues and practitioners on this retreat, offering a depth of expertise in holding creative processes and supporting personal and collective inquiry with care and compassion.

Mary Abrams -
brings passion, skill, and an inquisitive spirit to her work with clients, group classes, and workshops and is founder/director of Moving Body Resources in New York City. Mary recently launched a 6-module program The Odyssey of Embodied Spiritual Learning; and teaches on the Continuum Teacher Training at the Somatic Academy of Berlin (Germany). From 2007-2020 Mary taught and was USA course leader on the Masters in Dance & Somatic Well-being course at the University of Central Lancashire (UK) and in the NYC.
She comes from a lifelong dance background and 20 years of Continuum with Emilie Conrad and Susan Harper, and ongoing work with epistemologist Gary David, Ph.D.

Penny Collinson -
is a movement artist and registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist in private therapeutic, community and educational settings.
She also works extensively with professional movement practitioners, therapists and teachers as a collaborator, mentor, consultant and supervisor, and has recently co-created the Community Interest Company, Shoreline Health in Motion, CIC, which will collaboratively create dance for health initiatives in and around Morecambe Bay. Penny has studied with Linda Hartley (IBMT), and Miranda Tufnell for over 20 years.
Her publications on the application of somatic practice in health and wellbeing contexts can be found at


There are many Airbnb and holiday cottage options in and around Rowen and Conwy, as well as campsites, such as Cefn Cae Caravan & Camping Site, in Rowen village. Please note if there are sufficient bookings for the Rowen YHA (Youth Hostel Association) it will be possible to book the entire hostel at a reduced rate. If you are interested to do this, please contact Penny as quickly as possible. These include shared rooms and bunk beds only.

Qualities of Presence Workshop Series
with Amy Voris

Final Dates: Saturday 10th February (Halton Mill, 12.30-7pm) & 9th March (Winsford Library, 9.30-5.00)

Price: £55/45


Penny Collinson and Amy Voris are offering a series of seven professional development workshops for movement/dance practitioners to support the exploration of spontaneously-emerging movement and inner-witnessing skills.  

The series will have an overall focus on ‘tracking’ bodily experience. The explorations will draw on somatically-informed methods from Experiential Anatomy and the mover-witness framework (also known as ‘Authentic Movement’). 

Who is it for? 

Movement practitioners who work within teaching, therapeutic as well as creative and performative contexts.  Please note that this series is suitable for those with prior experience of in-depth somatic movement processes. 


Suitable for all levels

Learn what somatic practice is, and how to resource yourself through body-focused sensory awareness. These workshops offer time to support and nourish our bodies through movement, breath, and imagination connecting us to our surroundings and the feeling of ourselves.


Please book and make payment in advance to secure your place 

Group Classes in Bare 2.jpg

What happens in the somatic movement classes?

Penny's group classes focus on the exploration of relationship with our own body, breath and movements (participants can remain chair-based). The focus on somatic practice is an approach that helps us to connect with our body feeling, imagination and intuition.


The classes provide skills to attend to ourselves experientially, build-on our ability to engage curiosity, reflect upon bodily states and feelings associated with them. It is nuanced work which can help us to feel more present and active.

Wheelchair users are welcome... More>


Classes include music, and encourage group connection and reflection.

Penny's work is informed by dance, bodywork/touch, and somatic psychology.

What might we do in a class? 

My approach is one of supporting self-exploration rather then 'teaching' or 'fixing', and I will guide you in ways to:

  • harness in-the-moment attention through slowing down

  • sense and feel your body 

  • breathe with more awareness

  • move and engage your imagination

  • develop experiential awareness towards anatomy and physiology

  • recognise functional and habitual patterns of tension or holding in your posture and movement; learn more about the effects of stress and trauma on the body

  • develop the potential to receive and give touch to support self awareness, and in doing so ease held, tight, unexpressive parts of the body and movement 

  • reflect through artwork and share your discoveries verbally​

Penny Collinson photo Anne Kingston hands 2.jpg

Why I use it and important touch protocols

My practice can involve touch and we will discuss the reasons why and if you wish your sessions to include this.


Touch is a primary learning tool which is offered through hands-on practice or can occur as part of moving. It aims to support clients for the following reasons:


  • to receive sensory perceptual information 

  • to support more awareness towards unexpressed or less-felt areas of the body 

  • to produce greater ease of movement

  • heighten perceptual motor skills 

  • co-actively and co-creatively move together


We always approach working fully clothed and you can request no touch at any time

Somatic Movement Workshops and Retreats


Moving into Awareness

Learn what somatic movement practice is, and how to resource yourself through body-focused sensory awareness. Workshops will include some touch (skills will be taught), and reflection through artwork. Suitable for all levels.


Location: River Room Wellbeing Studio, Halton Mill, Lancaster


Dates/times: 24th Feb, 23rd Mar, 25th May (extended session with Mary Abrams), 22nd June 2024. 2.30-5.30pm


Price: £20 booking essential. Booking


Qualities of Presence

Professional Development Workshop Series in collaboration with Amy Voris


Locations:  The River Room Wellbeing Studio, Halton Mill, Lancaster, and, Winsford Library, Cheshire.


Dates: Saturdays:10th February, 12.30-7pm (Lancaster), 9th March, 09.30-5pm (Winsford)

Price: £55/45 per workshop. Booking


Breathing through Difficulties, Moving with Grace

Somatic Movement Retreat in collaboration with Mary Abrams (USA)

Location: Rowen Memorial Hall, Rowen, Conwy, N. Wales

Dates: 17-20th May 2024

Price: £300, some reduced places available. Booking


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