IntelliDANCE is a space for dance professionalseducators, performers and choreographersto explore their personal and professional growth and creative process. We gather here to post our insights and discoveries with respect to our shared experience studying the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education and our commitment to integrate somatic strategies into our experiences in the dance studio.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. We are going to start 2008 with a lesson that I really love. I call it Just Up. I have drawn the movement from a series of Awareness Through Movement® lessons that involve the use of oscillations.I like this lesson for dancers for many reasons. I especially like the way it helps dancers to experience the feeling of being pulled up, without triggering unnecessary tension in the body.I like it for another reason as well—I think it helps to generate a feeling of optimism. I can think of no better way to begin the New Year. Enjoy!IntelliDANCE Podcast 6: Just Up© Andrea Higgins 2008.
Last week’s blog post and Podcast lesson were inspired by a lecture that Moshe Feldenkrais once gave, in which he discussed Nijinsky. We received a wonderful follow-up post from Daniel Gesmer. If you have not yet read Daniel’s comments, please go to the post titled “Jump Thoughts,” (Nov. 2007) and click the "comments link" at the end of the article.Daniel’s post got me thinking about the use of imagination in the Feldenkrais Method®. Specifically, how Awareness Through Movement® (ATM) lessons can help to develop the ability to imagine not only the visual image of movement, but also the kinesthetic sensations associated with it. After experiencing how effective imagining was at bringing about remarkable changes in my own organization and functioning, I began to utilize imagining more and more in my teaching practice, and in life generally. This week’s Podcast lesson will introduce you to the process. Enjoy! IntelliDANCE Podcast 5: Imagining© Andrea Higgins 2007.
I have been working with the ideas and movement explorations in this week’s Podcast lesson for a number of years. I would like to share the background, for it has to do with a story I once heard about Nijinsky.When I was training to become a Feldenkrais® practitioner, the Educational Director of my program, David Zemach-Bersin, showed a video of a lecture given by Moshe Feldenkrais on Nijinsky. I was not able to obtain a transcript of the lecture, as it was under copyright, so I contacted David afterward to see if he might be able to provide further information. He was only able to provide some basic context, the essence of which, is that Moshe was introduced to a family member of Nijinsky, who let Moshe look at Nijinsky’s private journals.In his lecture, I recall Moshe talking about how Nijinsky was able to “fly out the window.” He never clarified this point further; I assume he was referring to a moment in a specific ballet, but as I am not a Nijinsky scholar (and have never studied his journals), I am not
Taming the Wild Child15/10/2007
I have a confession to make. Back in my pre-Feldenkrais® days, when I first started teaching dance, I worked primarily with children. One ballet class stands out in my memory, for it was one of those classes in which a number of the children just didn’t know how to focus. They were constantly talking or fooling around between combinations.One day, feeling totally exasperated and ready to loose patience, I said, “Ok, let's see who can hold their breath the longest.” Suddenly—there was silence. As I watched those angelic little faces turning various shades of red, I was stunned—they were suddenly completely committed and focused. The really interesting thing was that even after they let go of their breath and returned to dancing, they remained pretty focused—at least for the rest of that class. I must admit that I used that trick on a number of occasions, with similar results.I have noticed that there seems to be more and more children these days exhibiting the behavior that I witnessed in that class. I suppos
Re-posting Podcast Link12/10/2007
Hi Everyone,I am re-posting the podcast link for the October 8 lesson, Scoliosis and Supporting the Pattern, because for some reason it did not transmit to our iTunes subscribers. We are officially listed in the iTunes Directory, but may not show up in searches for a couple of weeks. You can access our link by clicking here. If you do go to the iTunes Store to subscribe, please consider posting a review!Here it is again:IntelliDANCE Podcast: Lesson 2
Alignment for Dancers—Part Two: Scoliosis and Supporting the Pattern08/10/2007
Alignment for Dancers—Part One: The Inside-Out Principle01/10/2007
In dance, we have a constant companion—our reflection. Many of us are taught (both implicitly and explicitly) to evaluate our performance in class by what we see in the mirror. Over time, this visually oriented process instills an outside-in model for evaluating alignment—or placement—as it is more commonly referred to in dance class. In order to be effective, this model relies on informed seeing. Informed seeing requires knowledge of human anatomy and the ability to identify skeletal landmarks on the body, which help to determine if the body is aligned properly.So, what do we mean by “proper” alignment. (This was a word that virtually every one of my dance teachers used when referring to issues of placement.) I found the following definition in my Encarta® World English Dictionary (© Microsoft Corp.):prop·er adj 1. Appropriate or correct. 2. Fulfilling all expectations or criteria. 3. Behaving in a respectable or socially acceptable way. 4. Characteristic of or belonging exclusively to somebody or somet
IntelliDANCE Podcast Premier!01/10/2007
Hold on to your iPods—the IntelliDANCE Podcast has arrived! I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time, but hadn’t really decided when or how. Then, when I was working on the previously promised recap of my presentation at the DanceLife Teacher Conference, it all came together.Since the presentation included two Awareness Through Movement® (ATM) lessons on alignment, and since ATM is best experienced by following verbal instruction (as opposed to written instruction), I realized that I needed a way to talk you through the lessons. In the two articles that follow, you can read a summary of the ideas covered in the lecture portion of my DanceLife presentation, but you can try the lessons by subscribing to the Podcast.Click below to listen to the introductory episode, which provides some general background information. You will find Lesson 1, which addresses alignment while standing in turnout, at the end of the next article. Lesson 2, which will address scoliosis, will be coming next week.Enjoy!Click Her