Lani Weissbach has worked as a dancer, teacher and choreographer of western contemporary dance and Butoh for over 25 years. She began her study of Butoh in 1989, becoming a principal dancer in Hawaii's first Butoh company, Iona Pear Dance Theatre, from 1990-93. Since then, Lani's work as a movement artist/educator has taken her to Canada, Mexico, Japan, Scotland, Germany and throughout the U.S. From 1999-2016, Lani founded and directed Shen & Bones Performance Group based in Erie, Pennsylvania, presenting dozens of performances of original choreography and conducted residencies in a variety of formats throughout Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Chicago and North Carolina. The company was selected for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour (PennPAT) roster in 2007 and has been funded by numerous arts organizations, including the LakeArts Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Erie Arts & Culture.
Lani specializes in introducing Butoh and somatic/contemplative movement practices to people of all walks of life, from novice movers to professional dance and theater artists. She has initiated the instruction of Butoh in the form of course classes, workshops and master classes for numerous colleges and universities, including Case Western Reserve University, Allegheny College, Mercyhurst University, Slippery Rock University, Point Park University, SUNY Fredonia, The University of Rochester, Alfred University, Gannon University and Arizona State University and has taught Butoh as associate faculty for the Eastwest Somatics Institute for Yoga, Dance and Movement Studies. As founder and co-director of Soma Movement Arts, Lani established Erie’s only movement studio with a focus on somatic movement education. Lani served on the faculty of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College for 15 years, initiating the instruction of yoga and modern dance. In 2015, Lani was invited to be an associate artist with Toronto’s Lbs/sq” company under the direction of Gerry Trentham. Lani holds an M.F.A. in dance from Arizona State University, is a certified yoga teacher through the Integral Yoga® Institute, and is a certified movement educator through the Eastwest Somatics Institute. As a Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME) with the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA) and a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500), she works with private clients and conducts training workshops for yoga/movement instructors throughout the region. Lani is honored to be a featured artist in “Butoh: Metamorphic Dance and Global Alchemy” by Sondra Fraleigh (University of Pittsburgh Press 2010).