From Posture to Acture
Developing Awareness in Movement and Performer Training in UK Higher Education using the Feldenkrais Method®
The last three decades has seen the Feldenkrais Method continuing to gain acceptance within UK Higher Education as a pedagogical tool which offers dynamic approaches to performer training that complements, and often challenges, established modes of learning and teaching that are body-centred and somatic. This article draws on a longitudinal study that I started in 2010, and which has been sustained through my teaching and practice research work. It discusses the growing practice of incorporating the Feldenkrais Method in movement and performance training within the UK Higher Education context and explores some of the strategies and approaches adopted by practitioners of the Feldenkrais Method in their work with performing arts students. The article emphasises that this growing interest in the use of the Feldenkrais Method in movement and performer training programmes have meant that practitioners often adapt their approaches to teaching the Feldenkrais Method in its ‘pure form’ and instead introduce a range of ‘scaffolding’ techniques in order to cultivate and sustain students’ engagement with the learning process. Furthermore, it contends that the Feldenkrais Method does not function as a performer training technique in itself, but as a viable foundation for underpinning the learning and teaching of technique. The article concludes by iterating the case for foregrounding the Feldenkrais Method in movement and performer training within UK Higher Education due to its effectiveness for facilitating experiential learning, heightened psycho-physical awareness and efficient self-use among performing arts students.