Sunday 22nd October 2023 Online 10-11am
What is Feldenkrais, how and why is it useful for Actors, Movers & Performance? Can an experienced Actor improve further with this kind of work? How by doing less, do we discover more? We shall delve into such questions.
Victoria’s book “Feldenkrais for Actors – How to do Less and Discover More” was published by Nick Hern Books in 2017. Definitely worth a read!
Victoria & Sarah shall kick off the conversation and then leave plenty of time for Q&A
We will have an hour to natter, answer your questions and delve deep in conversation. Grab a cuppa, sit comfortably and away we’ll go. Open to Actors, Movers and all Movement & Feldenkrais enthusiasts.
(£10 Troupe members)
We asked Victoria a few questions – this is what she had to say…
Who are you, what do you do?
I’m Victoria Worsley, I’ve been a Feldenkrais Practitioner for 15 years and am a movement coach for actors and performers. I was an actor/theatre maker and occasional movement director for 20 years before that.
What brought you to Movement/Performance and what does Movement mean to you?
I started experimenting with movement in performance at school from about the age of 15. I did my own physical version of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘Telltale Heart’ without ever having heard of Stephen Berkhov! Then I worked as a stage manager for a troupe from the Jacques Lecoq school at the Edinburgh Festival when I was 16, and on their advice did as many physical theatre workshops as I could manage with Philippe Gaulier and Monika Pagnuex in Paris from the age of 17-19. I did all sorts of performance from then – theatre of all kinds, bits of TV and film but always movement was core for me. How does this person move through the world, how does it feel to be in their skin? What does it feel like inside me when I relate to another actor or the audience or the camera? What does this emotion feel like physically? How does it shape me from the inside? What is the story we are telling in the way we do something – the speed, the quality, the specific use of ourselves individually and as a group? There is no performance without movement – indeed there is no life without movement. So it always seemed like a good idea to get a better understanding of – a better feel for – what I was actually doing.
What is Feldenkrais?
The Feldenkrais Method was developed by engineer, physicist, martial artist and all round polymath Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984). The method invites us to notice our own very specific patterns and habits in moving, and learn how to explore, imagine and integrate all the different parts of ourselves in movement in more efficient and more varied ways, so that we can do what we want better, more skilfully and more easily. Dr. Feldenkrias drew on his understanding of how we learnt to move as babies and young children and new discoveries in brain plasticity as well as what he knew from judo, engineering and physics. The method involves floor work that uses slow, detailed explorations of even the tiniest building blocks of our movement patterns – and can build into a wide variety of bigger, more complex patterns at speed too.
How is Feldenkrais useful for Actors/Performers/Dancers/Creatives …?
The Feldenkrais Method is huge and could be described as an experiential study of human functioning – which is really the territory for performers and creators. How do we do anything? Standing, breathing, reaching, walking, running, pulling, pushing, jumping, making sounds, talking, singing, feeling, connecting to each other and the world – its all in there. One huge factor for creatives is that there are no routine exercises, no fixed protocols, no ‘do it like this’ reducing what an artist does or imagines doing. It is exploratory, improvisatory, a method for finding things out and finding new possibilities. Yes there are very carefully constructed lessons – its not a free for all in which we just continue doing things the way we always tend to do things – but the constraints within the lessons function more like the rules of a game that make the game possible. They mean you have to find, learn, invent another way to do something. And another. Discover, vary and move beyond. If all a Feldenkrais lesson does is offer a performer a different way to experience themselves, that right there is of enormous value.
Talk a little about your experience with Shapes in Motion.
Over the years Sarah has given me the opportunity to do a variety of workshops with performers, teachers, movers and creators who are all committed to learning and exploring and are at a level where this often delicate and nuanced work can really land and be of value. Sometimes they are workshops I know well – more often they are brand new explorations for me. I always value these opportunities enormously.
What has been a creative highlight, what brings you joy in your work?
That moment when people start playing after a feldenkrais lesson and it is all different: when everything goes quiet and we are drawn into watching every breath because the performers move with a new quality, connect in a completely different way, allow the space and time to just be there in the game.
What has been a creative challenge?
Every time a performer walks through the door it is a creative challenge. I never know what I’m going to do. It depends on what they are looking for, what I can cook up to help them find a new experience of themselves that they can play with and use. For example, at the very end of last year a talented young film actor I had never worked with before came in needing to explore a complex lead character we see aged 20 and then aged 40 as he goes through and is impacted by a very particular traumatic experience. How this character moved through and took up space, how he related to others, how he protected himself and how that changed over time was a really interesting challenge.
Can you share a pearl of wisdom for emerging & experienced artists
Do less, play more. Keep finding another way. Keep listening. Remember that nothing is always true, no ‘rules’ always apply and everything is just a version for this moment.
How can we find out more about you?
You can find my book “Feldenkrais for Actors, How to do Less and Discover More” for a discount from the publishers here: https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/feldenkrais