I came to the Feldenkrais Method® from the world of dance, where I have danced, taught and choreographed for many years. (You can read more about my dance life here) . In 2011 or so, I decided to retire from my position as Associate Artistic Director of Zephyr Dance, and was thinking about what I would want to do next. I knew I would continue making choreography and I knew I would continue to teach dance, but I was looking for something else, the next learning journey.
I had noticed through my teaching practice that I could discern deeper principles about movement, about how we live in our bodies and how our bodies reveal something about human experience. I could see in the bodies of my ballet students that sometimes their obstacles to movement, to achieving the skills they desired were not physical limitations, exactly, but were something of habit, pattern, in the way they carried themselves or approached their work. I wanted to find a way to study that more deeply, and to extend it out into people who weren’t necessarily interested in dance training. We all have bodies; these movement experiences and obstacles and habits were something that occurred in everyone.
Nerd that I am, I began to do some research. I knew I wasn’t interested in becoming a “therapist” of some kind: not massage or myofascial release or PT. While my interest was in bodies, it was not in a “therapeutic” way. I am interested in movement and how movement reveals. I am interested in teaching as an exploration, a journey. My curiosity lies at the intersection of bodies and culture, how we unknowingly conform our physical selves to our situation, and the traces that leaves on us. My dance career had exposed me to many somatic modalities and related practices: the Alexander technique, Body Mind Centering, Authentic Movement and various improvisation practices. The Feldenkrais Method just seemed to “fit” me, in a variety of ways, and the universe conspired to make my path clear: There was a training available in my area, taught by the incredible Paul Rubin and Julie Casson Rubin, who were trained by Moshe Feldenkrais. Their approach to teaching and learning in the Method was a revelation—I discovered an experiential way of learning, combined with rigorous intellectual practice that, for me, exploded and expanded what it means to be a teacher. I also met an amazing mentor in both ballet and Feldenkrais, in the person of Mme. Peff Modelski. She continually helps me see connections, in bodies dancing or non-dancing. The stable of Associate Trainers and my classmates also contributed tremendous gifts to my learning.
But what has been the biggest gift of learning is the opportunity to experience the magnificence of the body – of EVERY body. Every person – every body – of any age, gender, ethnic heritage, language group, religion is worthy, more valuable than the symbolic points system we have created to smooth our daily transactions. Everyone is magnificent. Everyone is invaluable. Everyone deserves care.
Through the Feldenkrais Method®, I have discovered so much about my self, I can’t easily quantify it. I am in far less pain, I wake up moving freely, and I feel much more present in my whole body. But it’s not just relief from discomfort; it’s really the sense that I’m grounded and centered in my self. It helps me to see more clearly what is affecting me in the moment, and what my responses mean. It’s not easy to describe. The experience of it is the best recommendation!
Website photos and design by Cristina Tadeo; Pictured: Amanda Boike, Morgan Cutler, Brianna Heath, K’Lysa Knowles, Camila Rivero, Misha Woodward