Learning with the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education in the Dance Technique Class

A Case Study

  • Jenny Coogan BFA Dance, PhD Candidate; Professor for Contemporary Dance, Palucca University of Dance Dresden
Keywords: dance pedagogy, somatic approaches, Feldenkrais Method, dance technique, conservatory model, action research

Abstract

As a dance artist, educator and Feldenkrais practitioner I am committed to facilitating somatically oriented teaching and learning environments in professional dance education. This article illuminates action research conducted in the form of a case study with Bachelor of Arts students in a conservatory-modelled program in Germany. Embedded in a socio-constructivist epistemology the study sought to make the synergetic relationship between the Feldenkrais Method and contemporary dance technique accessible for the students in ways to support the development of their physical competencies, personal agency, self-regulative and self-reflective processes. In addition, the study’s methods investigated how a collective somatic sensibility might enable the dancers to navigate more effectively within the interplay of contextualization and shared responsibility in the learning environment. The inductive methodology of grounded theory was used for the collection, evaluation and interpretation of the data. Reviewing the data four categories emerged that bring different and interrelated perspectives to the complex processes of situational learning: Environment, Reflection; Personal Agency, and Transferability. This paper locates the research in the context of German vocational education, identifies its methodological and pedagogical underpinnings and outlines the setting, participant group, and the planning and operationalization of the study. Included is a description of the methods of data capture, its analysis and a critical reflection of the processes.

Author Biography

Jenny Coogan, BFA Dance, PhD Candidate; Professor for Contemporary Dance, Palucca University of Dance Dresden

Born in the USA, Coogan is based in Germany where she is Professor for Contemporary Dance at the Palucca University of Dance Dresden. For nearly forty years she has worked internationally as a dance artist, educator and scholar, performing, choreographing, teaching, researching and publishing. She directed the repertory-touring ensemble, Coogan Dancers, whose productions appeared throughout Europe and in the USA. Since 2011, she directs ArtRose, an intergenerational community dance ensemble. Coogan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance from the Juilliard School in NYC, pursued postgraduate studies at the State University of New York at Brockport and is currently a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University in the UK. Coogan graduated from the Berlin 1 Feldenkrais Training Program in 2001. Her research works with the Feldenkrais Method as a scoring practice and creative catalyst in both dance facilitating and dance making. Coogan is the editor and principal author of the publication, Practicing Dance: A Somatic Orientation (2016, Logos Verlag Berlin).

Published
2019-04-22
How to Cite
Coogan, J. (2019). Learning with the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education in the Dance Technique Class. Feldenkrais Research Journal, 6. Retrieved from https://feldenkraisresearchjournal.org/index.php/journal/article/view/11