a learning community

unpolished thoughts 1/28/2019

Yesterday, I visited the contact improv jam in Seattle and got the chance to see – and share weight with – my good buddy, the vocalist and dancer Christian Swenson.

I grew up in Seattle, but these days I live in DC.

Still, now I’m here every few months to attend the Feldenkrais Training Academy (FTA), so I can periodically join into the jam here and get to know some folks.

As I moved yesterday I remembered what I’d learned at a recent contact improv class I took in DC with two leaders of the ¡DC Movement Research! group.

Margarita Castro and Juliana Ponguta led a beautiful hour and a half of moving partner games that made it possible to test out the principles I’m studying at the FTA in a dynamic and interactive experience.

Margarita described it as “finding the ground through your partner in the dance.”

Margarita invited the community to a potluck the next day where Ken Manheimer, Ana Orenstein Bisker, Yulia Kriskovets – and her two beautiful children, Maya and Neel, gathered to celebrate something new that we have been creating together for a couple of years now.

¡DCMovementResearch! began after Juliana and I met each other at a workshop in Pennsylvania led by the inimitable Linda Kapatanea and Josef Fruzek, otherwise known as Fighting Monkey

We decided that we wanted to keep playing movement games when we got back to DC. It evolved from there and more people starting participating. It continues to grow.

Another joyfully inquisitive member of the group is Umair Asn, who is currently traveling to the most beautiful places you can imagine by the looks of the photos he posts online.

(contact me if you’d like to join us on a Tuesday afternoon to see what it’s all about)

After Margarita’s potluck, most of us went to see the Nancy Havlik Dance Performance Group, which Juliana, Margarita, and I have all previously danced with.

I’m looking forward to co-hosting a workshop with Nancy after my return to DC. On Sunday February 10, 2-5pm at the Center (4321 Wisconsin Ave NW), we will be offering our Improvisation for Everyday Life for the second time.

Here in Seattle, many more classmates are already part of my community.

Chrish Kresge, also from DC, my consistently generous and stunningly sensitive mentor, teacher and colleague in the Feldenkrais Method, is also part of the FTA.

Like Juliana, I met Chandler Stevens, for the first time at the Fighting Monkey event. Chandler is the creator of the EcoSomatics. We later collaborated for a workshop in DC called Unbox Yourself which was an important turning point for me in my teaching practice.

Shrutee Sharma, another classmate, has become a good friend in recent years. FTA director Jeff Haller originally put us in touch when I was enrolled in his IOPS Academy in New York and Shrutee was considering the same program in Seattle.

She ultimately participated and last summer we discussed together many times our decision to join the FTA program before we both decided to make the plunge again.

Shrutee and I are planning to offer a Feldenkrais workshop in Seattle during our next training segment in April.

(get on Shrutee’s mailing list if you want to be the first to know when we set the details).


All of last week and over the weekend, I have been writing about the lessons I’ve been learning at the Feldenkrais Training Academy.

Yesterday, at the contact jam, I could momentarily leave the necessary ongoing project of putting those lessons into words and allow my body to speak instead

One classmate from the training also was there, discovering contact improvisation for the first time!

If you, for whatever reason, do not know what I’m referring to when I say “contact improv”, I’d like to invite you to watch this beautiful video which I recently discovered online.

Yesterday, I was able to publicly express myself with the superpowers I felt growing inside me all last week.

The Feldenkrais Method continues to be a magical experience to me. It’s what made it possible for me to reclaim myself in the course of the challenging and exciting last half-decade of my life.

There was a particular moment in yesterday’s jam when I really felt how all these things had come together.

I remember rolling through a forest of moving dancers, spinning off of each other like dragons and angels. I always aimed towards gaps of light between the trees, amazed to discover that I had the control and vision to navigate this moving landscape – at high speed – without harming myself or others.

Thanks, Moshe Feldenkrais!

Now I think I’m really starting to get this principle of reversibility.

During my twenty minutes of writing for the morning I managed to mention the names of many of my favorite people who are helping me understand what the word community means.

But there are many more.


Here’s are some videos I made at the FTA today: