OPHIA MARTINS (Selene as dancer name) is an international neuroscientist, dancer, performer, mental health professional, and dance teacher. In 2021, she was nominated for the One Dance UK's Applied Dance Science Award and chosen as a Healthier Dancer Practitioner. Her journey started during her postgraduate studies in neuroscience, where she conducted her research thesis on the brain mechanisms beyond dance, having worked with one of the most influential researchers in the field. Her research has been published in the "Dance Data, Cognition, and Multimodal Communication" Routledge volume and presented at various conferences/summits.
She trained in dance therapy, butoh, and somatic practices, has a degree in Psychology and Forensic Psychology, and a postgraduation in Brain Sciences and Psychology of Dance. She is a certified suicide first aider and worked as a mental health practitioner for 4 years. During those 4 years, she counseled adults (including dancers) with anxiety, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, eating disorders, OCD, PTSD, and personality disorders, among others. Her passion and skills in mental health are intertwined with her being.
Through her Neuroscience of Dance project and Dance Integrated Healing Method, Sophia provides neurocognitive and dance healing tools. She has been helping dancers and dance teachers all over the world for the past two years through 1-1 sessions and various workshops with the following key aspects: dealing with injuries, neurological recovery, overcoming struggles (memory, equilibrium, learning difficulties), improving dance environments and teaching techniques, improving mental well-being, improving dance skills, and using dance for healing purposes. Seeing people improving, recovering, falling in love with dance fuels her drive to do more for others.
Whilst her focus is on dancers, the audience is often broad leading her to also assist parents, psychiatrists, psychologists, physiotherapists, doctors, dance science students who are keen to know more about the brain, movement, body dynamics and how to better apply it in their practices.
Currently, Sophia still takes part in research, conducts the Dance is Medicine Podcast, and occasionally grades academic work.
At a personal level, she can never sit still, she lives for cats and coffee, loves to play the piano, and write poetry. She is from a mixed background, part of the LGBTI1A+ community, and actively supports the BML movement. As a dyslexic, she emphasises neurodiversity in every teaching.