A Tribute to Janet Adler (1941 – 2023)
by Helen Payne

Photo © Jens Wazel

A Tribute to Janet Adler
(1941 – 2023)

I am excited to hear Janet has agreed to come to the UK to facilitate an Authentic Movement Circle in 1992. My colleague Kedzie Penfield and I organise for senior dance movement therapists from the UK and Europe to attend by invitation only. 20 of us arrive on a cold, wet July day in Hertfordshire, England for a five-day intensive residential with Janet. The weather did not improve all week! When the Italians suggested a warm, sunny circle in Italy the following year we all agree. Subsequently, I fly out each year for the next seven years to receive the rich experiences the group provide with Janet, and then also with her co-teacher Tina Stromsted.

Janet has a special relationship with each one of us, walking and talking separately in the breaks. We are in the bright sunshine, with the greenery, forests and on the mountainside in Tuscana. I hear the wild boar sounding as I read my book in the breaks ‘Women who Run with the Wolves’. Janet is reading Ishmael. I note to purchase it myself.

I see her with her neck in a support as she sits in her back jack on the shiny wooden floor. The circle moves as one. I hear sounds of feet stamping, hands clapping, I am dancing in the web of life. Janet is my witness.

I see her give close attention to one who moves. I hear her offer soft, respectful witnessing to each mover and to the collective. Her languaging of her experience in the presence of each mover is precise, non-judgemental, congruent and in the service of the mover. I feel honoured to see and hear her becoming witness. Her delicate way of beingness. Her teachings in the ground form dyad and group formations of the Discipline of Authentic Movement will always be with me, she will always be with me. Her precious gifts in the written word and on film speak to her legacy and sustain her presence with each one of us.

Following these circles Janet authors ‘Offering from the Conscious Body: The Discipline of Authentic Movement’ (2002). Her latest writings are documented in the edited volume ‘Intimacy in Emptiness: An Evolution of Embodied Consciousness’, (2023). Here is a link to a film about her work:

She holds a collective body. I feel a sense of belonging to this wider, global circle of teachers and learners in the Discipline of Authentic Movement, all of whom have received her gifts whether through direct contact with Janet or through their teacher. Her presence to the world of light, loving kindness and clear witnessing is inspiring. She has indeed been seen. I feel heartfelt appreciations for all she has offered to so many, for so long and with so much care. She will be missed dearly.

Professor Helen Payne, The Empty Studio, Hertfordshire, England. 4th August 2023.

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