Written By Lara Gillease

I remember when a nearby theme park was having a Halloween fest. They were hiring “actors” to scare people during weekends in October. I applied and was hired to play a zombie.

My job was to sneak up behind a couple while they were looking at a scene that promised to be scary, but was really quite boring.

One of the partners was usually standing a little further back than the other. I would get that person’s attention and motion them to step aside. I would slowly step into their place.

As the other person started commenting to their partner on how boring the scene was, they would turn to see me – a zombie standing just inches from them. At which point they would almost always jump and scream – to the delight and laughter of their partner.

My zombie look consisted of tattered, old clothes and make-up that was so hideous and deathly-looking that it also made me unrecognizable.

I never broke character – which means no matter how much I wanted to talk to someone or how funny I thought something was, I kept my deadpan zombie face.

During that time, I had a movement teacher who worked with me a few times a week to help me improve my dancing. I hadn’t told her I had taken this job on the weekends.

I was between scares doing my hunched over zombie walk of dragging one leg behind me when I saw her pass by. She immediately stopped and said, “Hi, Lara”.

I was surprised. No one else had recognized me. I just stood there for a moment. She again said, “Hi, Lara”.

I wanted to say hi back, but I wasn’t going to break character. I said nothing as I gave her my deadest zombie stare.

At our next appointment, I asked her how she knew it was me beneath all the make-up and costume.

She surprised me when she said, “I know how you move.”

I said, “But I was all hunched over and dragging one leg.”

She replied, “I still know how you move. No one moves quite like you. I can recognize you by the way you move.”

I began observing the way my parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors moved and I discovered she was right. Everyone moves in their own individual way. Like their autograph. Everyone has their very own unique movement signature.

I then started experimenting by trying to move like other people. I realized this wasn’t easy to do and is something actors and comedians become really good at.

What you probably don’t know is that you can improve your movement signature. And you’re probably wondering why you would want to.

One of the biggest motivators for most people to do so is chronic pain. Although they don’t realize that they will be changing the way they move, they are just looking for pain relief.

But in order for the chronic pain to decrease (as long as it’s not from some kind of progressive disease), they need to learn a new way to move.

A new way that takes stress off the affected area and gives them greater variability in their movements.

Another motivator is to become better at something they do.

By learning to move differently through using the larger muscles of their body for the brunt of the work, this will free up their joints where they have smaller muscles like in their hands and fingers.

Then they will be better able to do fine motor skills like write and play an instrument. Also when the larger muscles do their job more effectively, athletic skills improve.

One of the most effective ways I know how to improve movement is with a method called NeuroMovement, also called and named after its founder – Anat Baniel Method (ABM).

You can do this by attending a group class, do classes by DVD at home or visit a certified practitioner for one-on-one lessons.

So the next time you’re thinking you have to live with chronic pain… Or wondering how come you’re not as successful at mastering a skill as you’d like… You may want to consider improving your movement signature with ABM NeuroMovement lessons.


Lara Gillease is President & Founder of Lara’s Integrative Movement since 2000. She teaches adults and children how to improve their movement signature to have greater ease and freedom while relieving tension and stress in one-on-one Neuro-Movement lessons and in her online, at-home movement program, Move Free, designed for people over 40. She is also a Trainer in Anat Baniel’s ABM NeuroMovement International Training Programs for certifying new NeuroMovement Teachers. For more info, email her at: info@integrativemovement.com.

1 thought on “Movement Signature

  1. Enjoyed reading your article. It brought back a memory of how I would walk behind a person and pattern my walking to match theirs. Interestingly, I began to feel like a different person. sometimes even my emotions landscape would change too. Hard to describe.

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