If you choose a career in dance then you choose a trajectory of life-long kinesthetic learning and it will be up to you to confidently assume the role of protecting your most treasured tool in this art form - YOU!
Your body and your emotional well-being are in your hands so it is important that you activate your intelligent inquiries, motivate your curiosity, and stimulate your personal learning process so you can uncover your strongest, most agile self.
Here is what Soma Studies offers:
Live Online Classes: Tuesday & Sunday (recordings are offered if Live Time doesn’t work)
Available for purchase and home study.
Private Live Online Sessions
For the dancer who likes to dig deep, reach into embodiment, and enjoy thinking beyond kinesthetic fixes. Here is what the Feldenkrais Method works with beyond the body while still with the body.
1. Self Direction - You are the best author of your body, movement, and life.
Feldenkrais is a direct experience of kinesthetic learning and there is one thing that needs to happen. You must be available for it! Available in the sense of being present enough to pay attention to you for at least an hour! Needed is the ability to observe yourself, question your actions, and try different ways of moving. During the movement lessons you don’t need to intellectually understand everything but you do need to be able to WANT to pay attention and WANT to learn for the sake of self learning.
Your Feldenkrais experience depends upon you!! Sometimes, this is one of the problems that people have with the work. A Feldenkrais practitioner will not tell you what is right or wrong, instead you will be asked to explore, to feel, to sense yourself and observe yourself so that you can decipher what feels right or wrong to you.
A Feldenkrais practitioner will not teach you one correct way to stand or to get up from sitting, instead you’ll explore multiple pathways of movement so that you can naturally choose the best option for a particular moment when necessary. A Feldenkrais practitioner will not force a philosophy upon you because this is about the bones, the nervous system, the brain, and your whole system - this is about you learning in real time about you!!
Quite often dancers seek out Feldenkrais practitioners if they have chronic pain or are recovering from surgery or an injury. This is great because PAIN is usually a really good reason to be ready for learning, especially for a dancer who depends upon the health and wellness of her or his body. This is how I came to the method when I was about 20 years old and yes - all of my aches and pains were relieved. However, I became hooked by the process of the in-depth learning so even though my surgery ailments were healed, I stayed on every week because the unfolding process of being human had truly taken off and I loved every moment of it!
2. KNOW WHAT YOU DO so you can DO WHAT YOU WANT
If you always fall out of a pirouette, how do you fix it? What is your process? Usually, dancers grow to be very physically intuitive. If something technical happens like falling out of a pirouette you can try it again and make internal corrections by way of feeling through the problem. For instance - Your body may take over for you, try it again, but this time with the hip down or the ribs differently placed. Or, you could tell yourself - shoulders down, abdominals connected, go! Whether it’s a mental or physical stimulus - you try different corrections to get different results. But first, before trying different technical options - you must know what you’re doing with your pirouette. Are you always falling to the left, or back? Only when you know what you do - you can attempt to reroute yourself.
This ability to know what you do so you can do what you want is one of the key elements to the Feldenkrais Method. And of course, we really like to dig into this concept to reveal layer by layer how everything is connected. Feldenkrais doesn’t work with technique but rather human movement based upon organic physical functions that are necessary for human living - flexion/extension, rotation, side-bending, or eye/head coordinations.
With these structural functions in mind, The Feldenkrais Method uses sensitivity to enact change. To create change, one must become sensitive and self aware of her or his actions, thoughts, feelings, and sensations. In Awareness Through Movement, we slow down so we can discern what it is we do, we observe our actions so we may feel and connect, and we listen deeply so we may sense where we are in our process of learning. During each lesson, no matter what body part we’re working with, we practice shifting our attention so we may grow not only our body awareness but also enhance our mental ability to place focus on the intended action and by doing so - we integrate both the mind and the body.
Whether Feldenkrais or not, all somatic and dance practitioners know that there is truth and intelligence in the act of moving. The understanding of self is deeply entwined in the understanding of your physical body. Your movement gives you a visceral experience of guiding this life. Know what you do so you can do what you want. Drop in, Dig in, explore you!
"Dancer Undone" with the Feldenkrais® Method
3. Be ok with the UNKNOWN
With a Feldenkrais lesson - you never know what you’re going to get. There are over a thousand different lessons and it’s not a method that follows a progression of technique. During each ATM lesson, the direction of the lesson unfolds in real time as you close your eyes and wait for the next directive. What happens as you wait for the next sequence? Well - this is the amazing in-between moment where presence emerges as you’re feeling your weight, observing your action, listening to you but also for the practitioners next direction. Your attention is internal as well as external. Your focus is broad. You’re in the present moment, sinking into it - feeling, sensing, thinking, moving. It’s such a brilliant space to exist in. So yes, in Feldenkrais, one must be ok with the unknown. There is no roadmap just as there is no official roadmap for your life. You must sit back inside of your moment and enjoy the ride as you direct yourself and listen simultaneously. Yes, what a special and wild ride it is!!!
During the unknown, moment to moment, ATM progression there are things that happen. The action of trust grows as you give yourself to the process. Acknowledgment of a process also grows. The ability to reduce the noise of the world and the noise in your body expands. Attention shifts lightly. Focus on small movements becomes sensitized. Feldenkrais goes small so you can spread your wings wide and lightly take off within yourself.
Every dancer at some point along their journey will come undone from pain, injury, failure, or heartbreak. I ask - What do you do when you’ve come undone and unraveled from your pristine place of precision?
The Awareness Through Movement lessons in this course are classic lessons that provide a wonderful introduction to The Feldenkrais Method which helps to improve greater range of motion, skeletal stability, and increased flexibility.
Dancer Undone is certainly for dancers in pain who feel undone but it’s also for the healthy dancers who need to undo their dancer self! I believe it’s crucial to undo the bun, undo the pointe shoe ribbons, undo the technical training and release into the more human you.
Learn how to use the Feldenkrais approach to improve your quality of movement by using the power of less!
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