Feldenkrais Method® and The Arts: Performers and Artistic Creativity
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PERFORMERS and ARTISTIC CREATIVITY
Theater, Dance and Performance Training
Pages 200-218 | Published online: 25 Jul 2015
This essay discusses the Feldenkrais Method® as a critical resource within performer training. The essay draws on performance research undertaken between 2004 and 2012 and on pedagogical practice within international dance and actor training contexts. It examines the development of Feldenkrais-informed performance pedagogies as means to facilitate conditions for embodied self-care, collaborative creative inquiry, and an embodied criticality through movement. There is a trend towards democratisation and collaborative practice in Western contemporary performance ecologies and training, calling for autonomous learners and reflective practitioners with a highly developed sense of agency, empathy and psycho-physical flexibility. The essay proposes that informing performer training through Feldenkrais processes and value systems can offer timely educational models that transcend notions of reductionist, discipline-oriented skills provision, by offering embodied modes of artistic questioning and aesthetic inquiry. It argues that the Feldenkrais Method (FM) offers emancipatory, empathy-forming, and agency-constituting processes which can support an open-ended and rigorous approach to performer training.
Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 6:2, 233-246, 2015
Feldenkrais developed his method between the 1950s and his death in 1984, drawing on his background as an engineer and physicist, his research into anatomy and early neuroscience, exhaustive personal experimentation and his knowledge of judo. FM is a somatic method teaching ‘Awareness Through Movement’ (hereafter ATM) and ‘Functional Integration’ (hereafter FI). Both teaching strategies have relevance for contemporary and traditional puppetry training. For traditional techniques such as marionettes and hand puppets, FM can improve fluidity, coordination and understanding of movement and help with pain avoidance and habit awareness. For more contemporary work it also nourishes notions of dialogue with one’s material and expanded awareness. While FM in dance, acting and music training has been the topic of more extensive research, the coupling with puppetry has not been significantly studied. I propose that FM and puppetry have much to offer together as restorative human and ecological practices dealing in responsive and sensitive dialogue between ‘actants’, a term borrowed from Latour (2004) which dissolves the hierarchy putting people above objects.
Centre for Innovative Performance Practice and Research (CiPPR) School of Performance and Literature
Swansea Metropolitan University, July 2010
The use of the Feldenkrais Method® in performance training dates back to the work of Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1970s when he first taught actors and dancers in the United States and Israel. It was also during this period that the renowned theatre director Peter Brook invited him to teach the Method to actors at théàtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris. Following Feldenkrais’ work in Paris, Monika Pagneux who, at that time, was Movement Director for Peter Brook's company went on to propagate the Feldenkrais Method through her own work. Even though Pagneux is not a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, her approach to movement training draws extensively on the Feldenkrais Method. As one of the foremost teachers of movement in Europe, Pagneux’ influence in performance training is quite profound and far reaching. Through her former students, Pagneux continue to play a key role in the recognition and acceptance of the Feldenkrais Method as a somatic discipline and practice that is suitable for training in performing arts. Within the past two decades in the United Kingdom Feldenkrais Method has continued to gain significance within the performing arts community through events like the International Workshop Festival.
Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Volume 6, 2015 - Issue 2: Moshe Feldenkrais
In recent years, there has been a growing interest within performer training institutions in using the Feldenkrais Method® when developing actors and dancers. However, introducing this type of experiential reflective practice into a university timetable is not without its challenges. This article discusses the practicalities of adapting the Feldenkrais Method® to a HE curriculum and examines the use and benefits of the Method for emerging performers and practitioners. Particular reference is made to recorded responses of theatre students who have experienced regular Feldenkrais Method classes as part of their undergraduate programme at University Centre Doncaster and the perceived effects this type of work has had not only in performance but also on their general personal development. This article further explores the culture of acceptance and exploration that the Method promotes as an aid to creativity.
Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Pages 174-186 | Published online: 25 Jul 2015
Richard Allen Cave
This article offers an account of working as a freelance Feldenkrais practitioner for over 10 years with a professional theatre company, where the repertory focuses chiefly on Shakespearean and renaissance drama. The lessons, which mainly used the Feldenkrais Method to assist with vocal issues faced by actors, were given as part of the Artist Development Programme established by Michael Boyd and run by Lyn Darnley for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Several perspectives are followed in the essay. One investigates the kinds of challenges for the practitioner posed by working within the structures and priorities of a large-scale established theatre company. Another explores the kind of Feldenkrais work undertaken to help young actors coming new to the company to cope vocally with the demands of speaking verse in different kinds of auditoria, each posing its own acoustic issues.
Nick Hern Books, Feb 21, 2017 - 280 pages
This is a book and transcripts are not provided on the internet.
The Feldenkrais Method uses movement to enable a performer to feel, adapt and respond in new ways - not just in limited, habitual patterns - thereby increasing physical, emotional, and mental potential. Written by an experienced actor, theatre-maker, and Feldenkrais practitioner, this book covers a range of topics and includes exercises that lead to more spontaneity, sensitivity, simplicity, and flexibility.
New Vistas • Volume 3 Issue 1 • www.uwl.ac.uk • © University of West London
Robert Sholl, University of West London, UK
In this short article I discuss some strategies in the educational method focused on learning and movement known as the Feldenkrais Method. ... At the heart of this method are many strategies and I will only refer to a few of them here. The design of these strategies is to facilitate effortless movement and a range, choice and comfort in movement through an organic learning. ... For musicians and creative artists, people who ‘practise’ their art, the process of this essentially auto-didactic activity of differentiation is encapsulated by one of Feldenkrais’s favourite statements. He often stated that his method was ‘to make the impossible possible, the possible easy and comfortable, and the comfortable aesthetically pleasurable’ (Feldenkrais, 1975). This is what creative people do every day. ... The March 2017 conference invited creative practitioners in music, dance and drama to consider how the method provides a means and an educational impetus to find new, alternative and engaging beginnings for research, teaching and practice. ... Feldenkrais was proud of his achievement, but he was always open to the idea that other people could improve upon what he did. He often said: ‘there is no end to improvement’.
‘Making the Impossible Possible’: Feldenkrais Method in Music, Dance, Movement, and Creative Practice
University of West London, January 2016
The work of Mosche Feldenkrais (1904-1984) has been hugely beneficial to creative artists and performers, and is increasingly taught at conservatoires and Universites throughout the world. Feldenkrais himself worked with Igor Markevich, NarcisoYepes, Yehudi Menuhin, Leon Fleisher and also Peter Brook. The Method is a non-invasive, non-religious, extremely gentle, somatic learning techique that is designed to make “the impossible possible, the possible, easy, and the easy, aesthetically pleasurable,” as Feldenkrais himself stated. This is what creative artists attempt to do every day.
International Journal of Arts and Technology
Lian Loke, George Poonkhin Khut, Maggie Slattery, Catherine Truman, Lizzie Muller, Jonathan Duckworth
This article describes interdisciplinary research undertaken by a group of artists, designers, curators and somatic bodywork practitioners to explore a human-centred approach to the potential of touch, movement, balance and proprioception as modalities for interactive art. Somatic bodywork methodologies such as the Feldenkrais method provide highly developed frameworks for attending to these very phenomena. Re-sensitising the body through somatic investigations allowed us as makers of body-focused interactive art to translate the subtle shifts in attention and nuances of felt sensation into the audience experience of sensor-based interactive artworks.
Royal Holloway, University of London: Thesis submitted for the degree of PhD Department of Drama and Theatre Studies, December 2017
Krystin Elinor Fredricksson
This thesis investigates somatic movement and puppetry as tandem practices. It draws particularly on the somatic education approach of Moshe Feldenkrais, originator of the Feldenkrais Method (FM) and its two modalities; verbally guided Awareness Through Movement and hands-on Functional Integration lessons. I pinpoint self-image in FM, which relates to a person's kinaesthetic awareness of herself as she acts, as a key concept for theorizing puppetry, reframing it as person-image to avoid some of the theoretical pitfalls of 'self'. I re-examine the idea of body-image in Paul Schilder, Feldenkrais's source, and identify the importance of his work for critical thinking on personimage and performance. Relating person-image to the trainings and writings of Jacques Lecoq, Dennis Silk and Heinrich Von Kleist, I analyse the ways in which it can include objects, puppets and materials and propose a new practice, Awareness Through Puppetry, which goes beyond an application of FM in puppetry training.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, 2018
Janel R. Miley Knipple
Proprioception and kinesthetic awareness are important factors in actor training as performers strive to increase their physical
and vocal prowess in order to respond to the demands of roles. The Feldenkrais Method, a somatic approach to learning that
promotes greater awareness, has been utilized in actor training for decades; ... In this thesis, I will examine the history of
the Feldenkrais Method, particularly considering interactions between theatre artists and Feldenkrais. In addition, I
will suggest new possibilities for creating a voice and speech curriculum that integrates the Feldenkrais Method,
providing both historical precedents and current findings to support the efficacy of incorporating the Feldenkrais
Method into actor voice and speech training.
Feldenkrais Journal, Number 14, Winter 2002
The Feldenkrais Guild
Alan S. Questel
Movement is an integral part to the actor's ability to tell the story. This is true not only in terms of what is to be expressed and communicated, but also in terms of tuning, refining, and developing the instrument.The Feldenkrais Method presents a unique opportunity for the actor to create a role, as well as gain a deeper understanding of the creative process. It can serve as a resource to bring together all aspects of developing a character whether the actor chooses to do it through voice, feeling, thinking, or movement.
Centre for Innovative Performance Practice and Research, Swansea Metropolitan University, 2010
This research project sets out to explore and document this growing practice within the UK higher education, and to look
specifically at some of the approaches adopted by various Feldenkrais Practitioners in their work with actors, dancers
and performers in general. ... At the heart of the Feldenkrais Method is the development of a heightened awareness of the self in stillness and in action. This need to awaken and develop awareness in students is key to the adoption of the Feldenkrais Method in performance training. The Feldenkrais Method has much to offer performing arts students as a heightened psychophysical awareness and the ability to make intelligent movement choices can contribute immensely to their potential to succeed as creative practitioners and performers.
Feldenkrais Journal, 2016
Feldenkrais Guild of North America