Valerie (center) in Taiwan, 2013.
Valerie is a dynamic educator, consultant to schools and businesses, personal movement coach, and an international speaker and workshop presenter.
First and foremost, Valerie is a movement artist. A lifelong dancer in a family of jazz musicians, Valerie has danced for over 50 years. Training in Los Angeles with Bella Lewitzky and the Eugene Loring’s School of American Ballet gained her early admission to the first dance program at the new CalArts where she received her BFA. Moving to San Francisco, she has worked as a dancer, choreographer, director, and producer as well as a small business owner employing dancers. With Jaimen McMillan’s Spacial Dynamics Institute, she served as a choreographer and movement trainer for five international children’s Hands In Peace Festivals. These festivals took place from 2001 through 2009 in Olympia and Delphi, Greece, Quito, Ecuador, and Beijing, China, and the US. Social dance is an active part of all her current workshops.
When not traveling, she is still dancing as a performing member of the nation’s foremost vintage ballroom dance ensemble, The Academy of Danse Libre, leading warm-ups of movement technique before each rehearsal and its many performances throughout the year.
Valerie is a movement educator, helping to share the understanding of the movement development of the human being throughout the lifespan. After 15 years on the faculty of San Francisco Waldorf School, teacher training has been a strong focus. In addition to Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, Ca, and Spacial Dynamics Institute in NY, she has been a guest instructor for California Coastal Lifeways, RSF Social Finance, and at Waldorf schools and teacher training programs in the US and Asia. In 2013, she was a guest instructor of movement education at Hsinchu University in Taiwan, and at Chengdu University of Technology in China. She holds a Level III and a Bothmer Gymnastics certificate from Spacial Dynamics Institute.
Valerie leading children at the Hands in Peace Festival 2006 in China.
Photo: Benno Klandt.
Valerie is also a movement therapist (RSMT/Spacial Dynamics) with a private practice in San Francisco. An invitation to lead movement in a Stanford University’s dSchool course on mobility for seniors led to the founding of Agile Aging, a unique movement program designed to maintain mobility and prevent falls for the elderly. Valerie develops new activities, trains instructors, and gives community workshops for health practitioners. She has presented five programs for the California Assisted Living Association. Read more on our Agile Aging website.
Valerie is a producer, video director and author. With husband and creative partner, designer Michael Garrett, Valerie published several children’s books, and with Joan Carr Shimer Games Children Sing and Play (Hawthorn Press, 2013), a collection of movement games for adults to play with young children, as well as Dance As Movement History (AWSNA, 2001). In 2013, they produced and directed the film documentary, The Art of Puppetry and Performance.
Edmund Knighton, PhD
Edmund Knighton, PhD., is Department Chair and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Somatic and Pre/Perinatal Psychology Concentrations, at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. A somatic educator for more than two decades, he has served on the faculty and administration of nine graduate institutes and four Waldorf Schools. In addition to earning his PhD in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, Edmund completed a five-year training in Spacial Dynamics® Movement. Edmund’s current research interests lie in how spatial awareness may be developed through imagination and play. Valerie and Edmund have been teaching colleagues in public and private settings for over 20 years.
Valerie and Edmund at 2014 Movement Education Week
Other talented colleagues work together for our various programs:
Allegra Alessandri-Pfeifer, PhD, Education and Leadership programs
Heather Lanier, RSMT, Spacial Dynamics – Women’s Wellness Retreats
Kim Le Bas, RSMT, founder of Spacial Dynamics Pacific, Education programs
Terry Walters, Spacial Dynamics® practitioner and chef extraordinaire, Spacial Dynamics – Women’s Wellness Retreats
Valerie and Kim LeBas
Joan Carr Shimer, MA, Movement and Learning, early childhood programs and dance
Olivia Huff, RSMT, Agile Aging instructor, Sacramento region
Molly Hughes, Agile Aging instructor, SF Bay Peninsula region