OPHIA MARTINS (Selene as dancer name) is an international neuroscientist, dancer, performer, and dance teacher.
Through her postgraduate studies in neuroscience, she joined her passions by doing 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 international conferences/summits.
She trained in dance therapy, butoh and somatic practices, has a double degree in Psychology and Forensic Psychology and did her postgraduate studies in Brain Sciences. Apart from her experience in fraud prevention and crime prevention at Lloyds and the Scottish Government, 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, 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, occasionally grades academic work and teaches cognitive neuroscience and brain imaging research methods.
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.