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Karen Michaels has been a licensed massage therapist for over 35 years, is a Movement Educator, certified Embodyoga teacher, and the developer of Dynamic Balanced Movement.  Trained originally as a modern dancer, Karen has studied ballet extensively and holds a BFA from the Boston Conservatory of Music.  Karen has been teaching dance/movement to all ages in the Pioneer Valley area since 2004.

Karen continues to take classes in dance, movement, and bodywork techniques/therapies on an on-going basis, and brings these concepts/practices into all of her work with clients/students.


Individual attention and support is given to each student, encouraging focus and presence, and creating an environment where students feel safe to explore and challenge themselves.

All movement classes, functional movement, and postural re-patterning sessions are taught from the perspective of Dynamic Balanced Movement, with attention to musicality (when applicable) and incorporating imagery and practicality within the modality of the class/session.

Movement Rehabilitation Through Experiential Awareness  is developed from Dynamic Balanced Movement.   All movement classes/sessions are based in concepts of Dynamic Balanced Movement and Movement Rehabilitation Through Experiential Awareness.  The format of classes/sessions may vary- i.e., Ballet, Modern, Yoga, Cardio-flow, etc., but concepts remain the same.

How much time is spent directly on these concepts will vary class to class, based upon student needs/interests. Some of my classes may not spend much time on these concepts and thus may not seem to be very different from other classes; some classes will spend more time exploring these concepts.

  "Experiential Explorations" is an integral part of how I teach/work with students/clients.

Dynamic Balanced Movement can be experienced in different settings: individual bodywork sessions, individual conditioning/functional movement/postural re-patterning sessions, group classes - correctives, dance, yoga, conditioning, or Dynamic Balanced Movement classes with a specific focus (i.e., (Dynamic Balanced Movement: Back Pain, or Dynamic Balanced Movement: Basic Yoga Asanas).

See "Movement" page,  "Dynamic Balanced Movement" for more information.

Therapeutic Movement is also offered in small group class format.  Contact me if you are interested. 


If you are interested in dance classes that you do not see listed below,  or have any other questions, contact me either at  or (413) 665-4977


   "... I was very skeptical when we had to switch from in person to online ballet class, I did not think that a class via zoom, with no hands on support, could be successful. I was wrong. Karen pays close attention to details, whenever I struggle with an exercise and can’t quite get it right, Karen identifies where my struggles are originating and is able to correct them with verbal cues..."

    Introduction to Ballet,  Beginning Ballet**

       (Ballet classes can be fully traditional, classical, classes, or can include Experiential Explorations; see below)

    Dynamic Balanced Movement: Move To Reduce Stress

    Dynamic Balanced Movement: Dance Flow

    Dynamic Balanced Movement: Work Out

    Breath Correctives And Conditioning

    Let's Get Moving

~~ Classes will be 1 hour (unless we agree otherwise)

~~ Some classes can be adapted to become chair classes

~~ All classes will meet you at your level of ability

~~ The option for 2, 3, or 4 person classes is also available

** Intermediate/Modern classes available also

(See below for class descriptions or contact me)


Some classes are currently offered in-person and some via Zoom.

Class times/days/offerings change periodically. Please check with me for current classes-  or (413) 665-4977

Adult Ballet

 Intermediate Level class. Traditional ballet class. At least a few years current dance experience recommended.  

Mondays, 6:30-8:00  

March 21, 28, April 4, 11


Registration is through me: 

Class is located a few blocks from Amherst Center

Introduction To Ballet I for Adults

This class is designed for total beginners/those who have never taken a dance class.  Also welcome are students who have not taken ballet in many years or who want to go over the basic building blocks of ballet.

Students will learn the beginning basics of ballet technique- basic ballet positions, vocabulary, and class exercises - with an emphasis on healthy bio-mechanical alignment and musicality; and will be encouraged to explore how their bodies can 

be comfortable within the framework of the structure of ballet technique.

This is a 6 week series.

Introduction To Ballet II for Adults

Still an Introduction to Ballet class, this class will build on the basics students have learned in Introduction I.  Class exercises and concepts will become more complex and physically demanding. 


This is an 8 week series.


Introduction to Ballet III for Adults

This class continues to build on what was learned in Introduction I and II. Students should already know basic ballet positions, vocabulary, and class exercises.  Class exercises and concepts will continue to become more complex and physically demanding, preparing students to be ready for the Adult Beginner High I class.

Beginner Ballet   High I (Adults)

This class is suited for those with at least 1 year recent dance experience, and those with past dance experience if basics are remembered.  Students should be familiar with basic ballet/dance vocabulary.

Tuesdays, 6:00- 7:30 p.m. This class is on-going via Zoom, and registration is through me directly. 

Beginner Ballet   High II (Adults)

 This class is for those who have more experience but still are not ready for an Intermediate level class, or for those who could manage in an Intermediate class, but prefer to focus more in depth on sequencing and alignment.

Contact me for more information         

Intermediate Ballet

Class is offered periodically; contact me for more information

Description of a ballet class:

Depending upon the class level and interest of the students,  classes may be typical, traditional, classical Ballet classes, or may focus more on connecting traditional ballet exercises to the experience level of the students.

In all Ballet classes, we will do traditional ballet exercises, but in the lower level classes, may not always do an entire barre in each class, instead spending more time exploring movements that make up traditional barre exercises. While we are still working via Zoom,  we will do less/adapted center/across the floor work.

"Experiential Explorations":

We often will break down ballet movements/vocabulary into smaller pieces, exploring how to do them with proper biomechanics, and finding the underlying common movement patterns.
We sometimes add conditioning/strengthening exercises, or developmental movement exercises.
We may look at how the patterning of ballet vocabulary and principles can be used in our every-day lives.
We look at and experience how the flow/pulls of energy can help us to achieve the classic ballet lines. 

We bring our awareness to how it may feel to do the same movement focusing on different things.

        "Using the modality of classical ballet, we explore healthful and efficient body bio-mechanics to build strength

                                              and coordination, and to experience our own Inner Grace."

                                   If  you are interested in a Modern dance class (Limon/Graham based)

                                                  or a more Advanced Ballet class, please contact me


Dynamic Balanced Movement: Move To Reduce Stress

     This class is designed to get the blood flowing with use of breath and gentle movement.  Yoga-based, conditioning, and dance-based movements; floor/mat work and standing work.  1 hour classes.

Class Begins week of November 30th.  There are different times available.  Contact me for times.

(Class is on-line)

Dynamic Balanced Movement: Dance Flow

       Combining dance, yoga, correctives, breath.  On the floor, standing, and moving across the floor.



We will use breath to help bring awareness to our movement patterns, focusing on freeing the diaphragm so our breath supports our movement.  This will help soothe the nervous system, and allow the body to strengthen more readily. Mat work and standing.

Introductory class followed by a class of 3 sessions.

Contact me if you are interested.



I am offering this class because I see that when many of my Therapeutic Bodywork clients exercise, they are often exacerbating old or creating new problems.

In this semi-private group lesson, we will look at and apply Dynamic Balanced Movement principles to some basic yoga asanas/exercises.

  Students will be encouraged to bring an asana/exercise to class that they would like help with.

  This semi-private class  is less expensive than a private session,  and we can learn from watching what others are experiencing/changing.  Each student will receive individual attention.


(Cardio and Strength)

Have you tried a workout class but found it hurt your back/knees, or you couldn't "keep up"?

Come try this class!

This new class will explore a basic workout that includes movements from "barre" workout classes. We will apply the principles of Dynamic Balanced Movement to everything we do, giving attention to proper bio-mechanical alignment, and how energy and weight transfer and use effect our bodies.

We will start out with a few basic movement sequences and fewer "reps", and build the full 15 minute workout over the course of a number of classes, increasing the number of "reps" and the difficulty of the class.

Classes are 30 minutes and will be held in N. Amherst. If there is enough interest, we can add a half an hour of combined modern dance/yoga.

Pre-registration is required. This helps me to get to know what physical issues each student may be working with.



This class consists of simple, everyday movements combined with more dance-like movements, set to music, and is appropriate for those who have not been moving around too much lately. Designed for increased health. "Let's Get Moving" Level 1 is for those who have not been moving much at all; "Let's Get Moving" Level 2 is for those who are ready to do a slightly more strenuous class, with more moving around the room.

Wear comfortable clothing, shoes you can move around in, and come ready to have fun!

Classes are 45 minutes.

Introduction to DYNAMIC BALANCED MOVEMENT: Back Pain

1.5 hour introductory class

You will learn some basic postural concepts and simple exercises that can help alleviate back pain.

(This class is offered periodically. Other classes are also taught that approach movement/issues related to pain and restricted function from the perspective of Dynamic Balanced Movement)


I often offer different presentations around the area. Listed below are a few. Please contact me if you are interested in these or other ones.

~~ BACK PAIN: Massage, Self -Care, and Other Options

Back pain can limit our ability to function well and be present in our lives. I will talk about some treatment options that can bring relief, and present some basic postural principles and simple exercises.

This is a 45 minute presentation that I bring to local libraries, community centers, etc..


 ~~ Are your FEET contributing to your back/neck/knee pain?

  I will talk about how dysfunction in  our feet can contribute to back/neck/knee pain, and teach an exercise that can help  to increase the health and proper functioning of your feet.

This is a 30 minute talk that I bring to local libraries, community centers, etc..


Learn tips that will make shoveling snow easier on your body:  Karen Michaels, owner of Bodywork Beyond Massage, will teach some easy warm-up exercises, and show, explain, and demonstrate how to shovel using proper body mechanics and proper body stance, how to bend, lift snow, shift weight and snow, and toss snow; and how proper use of our bodies while shoveling can lessen the risk of injury.  Participants will get to practice, so bring your shovel!

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