I am a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner and adjunct lecturer at Northeastern Illinois University. I received a B.A. in Dance and Psychology, with a minor in Mathematics, from Beloit College in 2005. I have danced with Kate Corby & Dancers, Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, Lucky Plush Productions, Mordine & Company Dance Theater, CDI/Concert Dance, Inc., Julia Rae Antonick/Khecari, Hedwig Dances, and The Dance COLEctive. I’ve also participated in performance art projects, including Tino Seghal‘s Kiss at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
My early movement training was in contemporary modern dance – a technique which prioritizes efficiency over effort. The technique is designed to conserve energy through thoughtful manipulation of weight and conservation of momentum. To create this kind of movement, dance technique has had to adjust to be in accordance with what we currently know about how the body is structured. This investigation of movement incorporates elements of anatomy and kinesiology – the medical study of how the body is structured and how the body moves. If we can understand this, then we should know what makes movement ideal – thus we can tell people what to do differently so the quality of their movement improves.
But a structural study of the body, and how movement ideally “should” happen, can only go so far without leading to the question of how this movement is actually produced by the nervous system. How is it that the nervous system coordinates all of the different parts of the body at the same time? What can be done to improve that control in specific movements and in general? Interventions we make in a person’s movement that do not take this into account will have limited efficacy.
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais realized that people must learn movements through personal experience – intellectual understanding is not enough, because of how the brain is structured. Telling someone how they should be moving does not actually help them to move much better. Imagine that someone tells you how to sit in a chair – i.e. “Sit up straight!”. Does it actually help you to sit better? What tends to happen is that you will try to sit in a different way than is habitual for you, but once your mind attends to other things, you will immediately forget about it and will return to your habitual way. What you actually need is something else – a change that will help you to adopt the better way intuitively. That’s what the Feldenkrais Method does.
The natural process of improving one’s movement – which all human beings go through from infancy to adulthood – uses the sensory feedback from the body and the environment to figure out what is best. Through our own experimentation (think of playing as child), we gradually we learn what is good and appropriate and what is not. This process, when not acting optimally (causing some pain or limitation that others don’t experience), can be improved through specific attention to movement learning. This learning must be experiential. Thus my work applies a combination of touch, guided movement, and conversation about your experiences, habits, and options for growth.