Monday, December 30, 2013

modern dance monday with feldenkrais

The slow, gentle, and graceful movements comprise the Feldenkrais Method.  Moshe Feldenkrais’ ties to dance date back to the 1940s in Israel when modern dancer and movement notator Noah Eshkol took an interest in his work.  Eshkol recorded Feldenkrais’ innovative Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lessons using Eshkol Wachman notation.  You can read more on his full biography here.

Awareness Through Movement is a component of the Feldenkrais Method, which is a mode of somatic education.  During each class, students engage in structured movement explorations that involve thinking, sensing, moving, and imagining.  Many lessons are based on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities.  Some are based on more abstract explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships.  The lessons consist of comfortable, easy movements that gradually evolve into movements of greater range and complexity.  Lessons attempt to make one aware of one's habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities and to expand options for new ways of moving.

“What I’m after isn’t flexible bodies, but flexible brains.  What I’m after is to restore each person to their human dignity. ”

“I believe that the unity of mind and body is an objective reality.  They are not just parts somehow related to each other, but an inseparable whole while functioning.  A brain without a body could not think.”

“Find your true weakness and surrender to it.  Therein lies the path to genius.  Most people spend their lives using their strengths to overcome or cover up their weaknesses.  Those few who use their strengths to incorporate their weaknesses, who don’t divide themselves, those people are very rare.  In any generation there are a few and they lead their generation. ”

“The aim [of the Feldenkrais Method] is a person that is organized to move with minimum effort and maximum efficiency, not through muscular strength, but through increased consciousness of how movement works.”

“No matter how closely we look, it is difficult to find a mental act that can take place without the support of some physical function."

“Movement is life.  Life is a process.  Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.”

-Moshe Feldenkrais