Listening to the Body

Interoception through Gaga Movement Language


  • Lynette Marie Fisher University of Florida



interoception, interoceptive awareness, Gaga movement language


As an embodied species, the basis of human emotion lies within the physiological body.  The internal state of the body, determined by activity from the viscera, must be perceived by the bidirectional communication between the mind and the body through a process known as interoception. As an emerging area of research, interoception suggests that the perception and awareness of internal organ function contributes to empathy and emotional-regulation.  Improving interoceptive awareness presents clinical opportunities in the treatment of diagnoses that involve emotional dysregulation such as anxiety and depression.  Due to the introspective nature of Gaga movement language, a movement style within the field of dance, Gaga classes can provide potential therapeutic mechanisms for improving interoceptive awareness.  Dance intrinsically utilizes interoception by using the body as an outward expression of inward sensations. However Gaga classes, offered for both dancers and non-dancers, elicits movement from an attention to the body on a molecular level.  Through the lens of Gaga language and its particular emphasis on deep listening to the body, this paper demonstrates that Gaga movement language stimulates the development of interoceptive awareness and can expand the current literature on interoception and its clinical roles in emotional regulation.