Creative beginnings – dancing with Feldenkrais

Kampe, T (2017) Creative beginnings – dancing with Feldenkrais. In: New Beginnings - Beginning Again: the Feldenkrais Method in Creative Practice, 11 March 2017, University of West London, UK.

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This papers aims to retrace and re-connect the beginnings of early Modernist Dance and Body Cultures to body-codes and creative emancipatory ethics found in the work of Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984). It draws on the author’s extensive Feldenkrais-informed teaching practice in the theatre and dance sector, on recent practice-led somatic-informed dance research undertaken by the presenter in collaboration with choreographer Carol Brown and The New Zealand Dance Company, and on dialogues about dance and migration with scholars in Australia, Germany and Israel. The author hypothesises that Feldenkrais’ emphasis on an embodied fostering of the curious mature adult as a creative and emancipated individual not only emerged from his studies in Judo and his scientific background, but also from the early modernist ‘Körperkultur’ (body culture) and dance beginnings that formed important part of the cultural milieu in the 1920’s Palestine that Feldenkrais encountered before he left for Paris. Aldor (2012; 2017) suggests that Feldenkrais experienced holistic dance/gymnastic studies with Israeli expressive modern dance pioneer Margalit Ornstein (Vienna 1888 – Tel Aviv 1973) before moving to Paris. Ornstein was influenced by the work of Viennese Choreographer Gertrud Bodenwieser (Vienna 1890 - Sydney 1959) and European body-culture pioneer Bess Mensendieck ( date) , both visionary emancipatory proto-somatic pioneers While revealing similarities between Mensendieck’s, Bodenwieser’s and Feldenkrais’ ethos and practices, the paper also places Feldenkrais into the context of post 1940’s Israeli body-culture education which drew on European exile Modern Dance and holistic Gymnastic practices including the work of Elsa Gindler. It aims to re-view the beginnings of Feldenkrais’ work not as the work of a monolithic genius but as the result of an interdisciplinary milieu that emerged from utopian and diasporic Modernist artistic and educational endeavours. The author will present short video clips of recent examples of practical research that aimed to re-somatise the nearly forgotten practices of Gertrud Bodenwieser through Feldenkrais-informed dance processes.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Keywords: Feldenkrais; somatics
Divisions: Bath School of Music & Performing Arts
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2018 15:27
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 15:13
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