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The Feldenkrais Method teaches that the body is the primary vehicle for learning. The method has two main forms: Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration. The first consists of movement sequences taught by a practitioner, usually to groups of people in a classroom setting. The lessons make one aware of habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities, and expand options for new ways of moving, while simultaneously improving efficiency and increasing sensitivity. Several hundred hours of lessons are thought to achieve the best results. Functional Integration is a hands-on form of kinesthetic communication; through gentle touching and movement, a practitioner teaches a student how to move in more expanded motor patterns.
My flamenco teacher, Miel Castagna, told me, “When I think about how dance has enhanced my life, my mind becomes overcrowded with words. I think when you are a dancer, there is somehow no other option of how to be or what to be. Dance is your life.” She explains that aside from becoming a mother, flamenco is the only thing that fills her heart with complete and intuitive passion.
I agree. If I eliminated dance from my life, my existence would be much less rich. I can even say it would feel like an integral part of myself had died. I absolutely adore flamenco because of the amount of utter emotion it entails. It embodies sorrow, love, joy, honor, and even death. Like other forms of ethnic dance, the meaning behind the dance is paramount. It tells a story, a feeling, and oftentimes translates an entire history of a particular culture.
The desire to know oneself and express one’s deepest feelings using the body is an incredibly humanistic, primal instinct that crosses barriers of language. When I am moving my body through a dance or through a yoga asana, I experience a divine sort of freedom: an ability to express myself from the heart, which awakens a natural intuition and a feeling of connection to the rhythms of the universe. Dance becomes prayer, and movement becomes life.