Feldenkrais training for performance and life
Young Artists’ Programmes
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Opera Academy, National Opera Teatr Wielki, Warsaw

When a singer can unite their intellectual understanding of music, text and narrative, with their innate musicality, emotional empathy and physicality then the outcome is extraordinary. The opera singer needs their whole physicality, intelligence and emotional resource to produce the voice needed for the art form. This in turn informs their acting and power to communicate. How can Feldenkrais assist this holistic development?

At the Opera Academy at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw a select group of international young soloists work intensively for week long residencies with a range of specialists: conductors, vocal teachers, language coaches and directors. The tutors, including Eytan Pessen, Isabella Klosinska, Matthias Rexroth and Beata Klatka the Artistic Coordinator, work closely together to support the individual singers. During the week each soloist has at least one Functional Integration session. They also take part in daily Awareness Through Movement sessions so that they can build their repertoire of self-understanding. I observe the singers in their coaching sessions and rehearsals so I can use the Feldenkrais sessions to integrate and consolidate the aspects of their craft that they are learning with the other professionals.

When students feel a particular benefit from a lesson I suggest that they take a part of it that they enjoyed, or found interesting, to “play” with. A sense of play and enquiry is important. If you do movements as simply repetitive, mindless exercise the effect is not the same as doing it with curiosity, observation and a sense of discovery. The purpose of the Feldenkrais input is to develop awareness, not create another habit. I encourage students to adapt lessons in this way for their warm ups, performance preparation and general wellbeing.

Thank you for your work, this intensive week of Feldenkrais completely changed my vision of singing, breathing and...living. Diana Gouglina, Soloist, at Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth


“Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.”

Moshe Feldenkrais