Does engagement with the Feldenkrais Method® influence body awareness, motivation and self-regulation of adolescent dancers?
A case study during the Covid-19 pandemic
Keywords:Dance Education, Feldenkrais Method, Motivation, Self-regulation, Covid-19 Pandemic, Interoceptive awareness
As dance educators and researchers, our particular concern, beyond teaching dance skills, is to support the dance students in becoming self-determined, satisfied dancers, and somatic practices can play an important role in this process. This exploratory case study investigated the experience of the Feldenkrais Method in supporting motivation for dance, body awareness and self-regulation of adolescent dancers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Twenty adolescent female recreational dance students recruited from the first author's dance studio took part in the study (intervention group: N=10, age M=14.80, SD=1.81, control group: N=10, age M=14.50, SD=2.06). Both groups were involved in regular dance classes; the intervention group participated in a 10-week Feldenkrais Method programme consisting of one lesson per week, the control group had no Feldenkrais Method lessons. The study was conducted online due to Covid-19 lockdown measures in place at the time.
Qualitative data was collected from the intervention group in the form of drawings, individual reports and feedback to capture individual experiences with the Feldenkrais Method.
In addition, two questionnaires were used in both groups to assess the impact of the intervention on body awareness and to explore motivation to dance, which were completed before and after the intervention. A two-way mixed ANOVA (analysis of variance) revealed tendencies towards increased interoceptive awareness and self-regulatory processes in the intervention group. The influence on motivation in dance classes could not be determined. Both groups showed a significant increase in felt pressure/tension and also a more self-centred focus, suggesting a possible influence of the pandemic. Thematic analysis of qualitative data revealed high levels of engagement and heightened awareness among those who took part in the Feldenkrais Method classes.
Results suggest that even a short Feldenkrais Method intervention under the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic may be appropriate for adolescents to improve their self-awareness, learning and self-regulation processes. Future research should investigate psychosocial and learning outcomes of Feldenkrais Method interventions in general and with adolescent students in particular. Further research is also recommended to determine possible confounds of the pandemic and their influence on motivation.