Jacquelyn Marie Shannon

Jacquelyn Marie Shannon


Ghostly Practice: Guided Ritual Movement

Ghostly Practice is a movement-based ritual performance modality for investigating haunting, spectrality, death, mourning, and memory through the experiencing and relating body.

Drawing significant inspiration from Japanese butoh, expressionist dance, physical and psychodramatic theatre, and ritual practice and performance, this workshop engages performance as a liminal mode of consciousness that can be affectively apprehended as a haunted encounter. It offers a constellation of movement and ritual techniques for conspiring with memory, spirit and the more-than-human via the vehicle of the body within a guided ritual structure.

Together, we will use ritual movement to explore a liminal space “between the realms of the living and the dead” where we can witness and work with what haunts and what holds us, to dance with/from our ghosts in service of personal and collective release, expansion and transformation.

This physical and experiential workshop will unfold as an interwoven individual and group exploration of three images through Ghostly Practice techniques, collective breath-work, sensual stimulation, guided visualization and movement meditation, and the offering and activation of intentions, grounding, and reflection/integration. These images include:

I. The Gate
(of openings, thresholds, summonings and invitation, passage and protection)
II. The Veil
(of concealment and revelation, of masks and shadow, of seeing in the dark and among the hidden)
III. The Vessel
(of holding and carrying, of bearing weight and bearing witness, of transporting and channeling, moving and being moved by spirit).

Emphasis is on accessing and amplifying presence, presencing and re-membering, boundary-work (liminality, blurring, opening, crossing, closing), the pleasure of touch and its relationship to loss, making-sense as symptomatic evidence/felt appearances/signals of encounter, modes of sight and synesthetic awareness and cultivation, enfleshment, affective transference and empathic listening, movement-mediumship, hinge-work, suspension and release, grounding/integration/re-entry.

This is a physical movement-based workshop that includes individual and collective experiences and activities that are accessible to all bodies and ‘levels.’ No previous performance, dance, or ritual experience necessary.

Movement is responsive and exploratory improvisation, with modification and stillness always welcome.


Jacquelyn Marie Shannon is a theatre, dance, ritual artist and PhD student in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, City University New York (CUNY) researching magic, witchcraft, and ritual; spectrality and theatres of death, haunting, and mourning; queer and feminist performance; materiality, affect, and dramaturgies of the body.

Her work gravitates towards questions of presence and transformation, enchantment and whimsy, the supernatural and the extraordinary, spirituality, sensuality, and the tenuous relationship between life and death.

She is intrigued by how performance conjures, making the invisible visible, apprehendable, or encounterable, and how people are moved and make meaning within the sometimes blurred line between stage magic and ritual magic, spectacle and spirit.

As both a scholar and practitioner, Jacquelyn is especially drawn to performance and artistic process which engages witchcraft and the figure/body of the witch, ghosts, spiritualism and seance, necromancy, western esotericism and the occult, thaumaturgy, animism, shamanism, puppetry, vaudeville, sideshow, as well as other queer or marginal registers of performance that extend beyond bounded notions of body, space and time, that cultivate and operate as and through liminal and altered states, alternative temporalities, synesthesia, visions and dreams.

Over the last seven years, she has developed a method of ritual movement and performance called “Ghostly Practice,” a constellation of techniques for investigating and working with/in spectrality, liminality, affect, memory, and alternative temporalities, heavily informed by over 15 years of training in Japanese butoh, expressionist dance, physical and psychodramatic theatre, ritual practice and performance.

Her artistic practice has developed alongside an educational trajectory that includes an MA from Indiana University in Communication and Culture and an MA from New York University in Educational Theatre.