Special Edition of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training dedicated to the Feldenkrais Method® and Performer Training

This will be the fourth Special Issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, following issues on sport, Chekhov and politics and ideology. Special issues do not necessarily follow the form and structure of the standard journal offer and will adapt to the material received.

This special Edition of Theatre Dance and Performance Training will focus on the work of Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) in relation to professional performer training.

Feldenkrais’ unique approach to the study of learning through movement extends beyond notions of physical training to incorporate a much broader range of concerns that include cultural, philosophical, psychological and environmental factors. He placed ‘awareness through movement’ at the heart of his method which was developed as a detailed and subtle collection of experiential lessons to support ease and fluidity in functional movement.

Feldenkrais was highly experienced in working with performing artists of many disciplines including Peter Brook (theatre director), Anna Halprin (dancer/choreographer), Yehudi Menuhin (violinist) and Yo Yo Ma (cellist). Feldenkrais Practitioners, all of whom have undertaken the four year accredited professional training, continue to introduce new generations of performers to the value of learning through experiencing how small changes in movement habits can contribute to confidence, quality and safety in performance. This enhanced awareness and sensory refinement has the potential to enrich creativity, and artistic outcome, aid concentration and prevent injury related to overuse of the body.

There are currently centres of expertise in working with the Feldenkrais Method and professional performers in various Universities, Conservatoires and Performing Arts Companies scattered worldwide. One of the intentions of this special edition is to bring discourse on these experiences together in a form that can support further international interchange and debate. Some of the many questions arising from this somatic practice could form the basis of an article or source submission. The editors welcome proposals from academics (arts, social sciences and sciences), performers (including musicians), journalists, Feldenkrais practitioners, directors/choreographers, trainers/teachers on any of the suggested themes below or that link with the proposed special edition focus.

·         How does the Feldenkrais Method address issues of self-image in relation to performance?

·         Given the currency of discussion on the aging performer/dancer etc., what potential is there for this specific practice to aid longevity of career and how does it compare with other somatic or training practices?

·         How can the Feldenkrais method support performers from both a therapeutic/health standpoint and as creative artists?

·         Given fresh understandings developed in the field of neuroscience on movement development and the fascination many neuroscientists have shown in researching performance activity, what can contemporary performers contribute to this field of knowledge through their heightened experience of movement awareness?

·         With a scientific background and commitment to experiential learning, Feldenkrais was a pioneer in conceptualising the relationship between brain plasticity/ potential and kinaesthetic awareness. With new studies in this field, how might contemporary neuroscientists contribute to both understanding and articulation of the range of benefits performers experience in working with the Feldenkrais Method?

·         How responsive is the Feldenkrais Method to different cultural performance training practices and philosophies, with respect to areas of cultural difference such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, age and disability?

·         How might the Feldenkrais Method be positioned and interrogated through cultural, historical and theoretical frameworks beyond the regimes of performance preparation and training?

·         Feldenkrais was an engineer, physicist and judo expert as well as a movement practitioner. How does knowledge and expertise from such diverse sources contribute to performer training in this and other forms of somatic practice?

·         With the current wave of interdisciplinary performance practices so prominent, how might aspects of Feldenkrais methods and principles support communication and creative interchange across the arts?

·         Feldenkrais developed a distinctive pedagogic methodology to support the teaching of awareness. How has this been absorbed/adapted/altered to respond to the changing needs of performers whether in the studio or classroom? Are there core principles within this form of pedagogy and how might these be assessed or compared with other practices?

How to Submit

Submissions might take the form of articles, interviews, documented discussions between professional performers and trainers/F. Practitioners, reflective profiles of Feldenkrais teachers, reviews, case studies, documentation of relevant events/practices/projects, performative writing, or photographic essays. Cross- or inter-disciplinary approaches will be welcomed. A brief biography for Feldenkrais will be included in the introduction to avoid multiple repetitions of his life history in the articles.

To signal your interest and intent to write an article or a source document in this special issue please email an abstract (max 250 words) to Libby Worth at the below address. Our first deadline for these is 24th March 2014.

For ideas and contributions to the Feldenkrais Training Grounds section please send your proposals to Dick McCaw at the below address.

Approximate timelines

24th March 2014: 250 word proposals identifying key topics to Editor, Libby Worth, for Articles and Sources sections

Early April 2014: Response from Editor and, if successful, invitation to submit full essay

Early September 2014: Deadline for full submissions: Full papers should be no less than 5000 and no more than 6500 words

September – November 2014: Peer review

December-January 2015: Final Revisions

February-June 2015: Proofing and final typesetting

July 2015: Publication in TDPT Issue 6.2

Editorial information

Guest Editor: Libby Worth, Royal Holloway, University of London (libby.worth@rhul.ac.uk)

Training Grounds Editor: Dick McCaw, Royal Holloway, University of London (dickmccaw@blueyonder.co.uk)