Learning with the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education in the Dance Technique Class
A Case Study
Keywords:dance pedagogy, somatic approaches, Feldenkrais Method, dance technique, conservatory model, action research
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.