somatic interventions in choreographic practices

  • Thomas Kampe PhD; Senior Lecturer in Acting Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Bath Spa University
Keywords: somatic practices, choreographic practice, Release Technique, collaborative arts practice, social choreography, Feldenkrais Method


This article aims to articulate how collaborative choreographic processes can be informed through somatic educational practices. Focusing on the Feldenkrais Method® (FM), the author elucidates how this trans-disciplinary dialogue offers a bio-psycho-social model of critical artistic inquiry. By leaning on choreographic research ‘Body/Soma/Self’ and artistic play undertaken between 2004 and 2011, the essay gives an insight into the development of FM-informed performance-making practices. The author discusses creative process development from a practitioner perspective while offering contextual debate with reference to the fields of ‘Release’ (O’Donnell 2010) and ‘Social Choreography’ (Hewitt 2005; Klien 2009). By placing FM in the context of performance-making, this article aims to make a distinct contribution to the emerging field of ‘somatic-informed’ choreographic practices (Brown 2011). The author explicates how Feldenkrais-informed interventions offer the development of preparatory processes, kinaesthetic tuning scores, choreographic vocabulary development and choreographic structuring strategies. The transfer of the Feldenkrais Method into performance-making—a process-of-enquiry within a process-of-enquiry—is discussed as a complex system involving a large number of interacting agents, allowing for conditions of uncertainty, ambiguity, and emergent nonlinear causalities while offering an empowering corporeal tool for process-participants.

The essay also discusses how the Feldenkrais Method offers micro-choreographic processes to offer creative modalities of self-inquiry through the combination of application of de-familiarisation devices, logic in compositional structuring of lessons, and the use of touch and verbal instruction. The article indicates how the use of FM as an intersubjective tool for choreographic intervention can support shared decision-making processes. Within such context, the role of the choreographer is understood as facilitator of conditions for co-creation and an ‘embodied choreographic questioning’ (Kampe 2013), which supports alternatives to the ‘myth of the lone genius of the artist’ (Montuori 2011) as a contemporary mode of choreographic enquiry and production.

Author Biography

Thomas Kampe, PhD; Senior Lecturer in Acting Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Bath Spa University

Thomas Kampe has worked with dance, theatre and movement for the last 30 years as performer, choreographer, director and educator. He has taught somatic approaches towards movement education and creative practice in different settings around the world. Throughout his career he has coordinated international transdisciplinary initiatives that bridge performing arts, health and education. He currently works at Bath Spa University as Senior Lecturer in Acting Studies. Thomas trained as a visual artist in Kassel, Germany and studied dance at the Laban Centre and at Middlesex University in London where he worked for 13 years with Austrian Ausdruckstanz pioneer and Holocaust survivor Hilde Holger (1905–2011). International artistic collaborations have included artists Liz Aggiss, Laura Belem, Carol Brown, Hilde Holger, Rosemary Lee, Julia Pascal, Colin Poole, German media-arts company ‘Blackhole-Factory’, Tanzinitiative Hamburg and Proforma Dresden. He is a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method® which forms a foundation for his teaching, research and artistic practice. His most recent publications on Somatics and criticality include the chapter ‘The Art of Making Choices: The Feldenkrais Method as a Soma-Critique’ (Triarchy Press 2015), and ‘Eros and Inquiry – The Feldenkrais Method as a Complex Resource’ (Theater Dance and Performance Training 2015). Thomas is currently co-editing journal volumes for Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices and the International Feldenkrais Federation (IFF) Feldenkrais Research Journal.

How to Cite
Kampe, T. (2016). ‘crossing/weaving’. Feldenkrais Research Journal, 5. Retrieved from https://feldenkraisresearchjournal.org/index.php/journal/article/view/25
Hypothesis and Theory