Folkwang

Body Awareness Teaching Programme

“An individual’s conscious awareness of their physical body is an indispensable aspect of study on their path to innovative artistic excellence”
- N. Kevan

Every human being’s consciousness and physical body are programmed by nature to work together in harmony to create upright posture, walking, self-perception, life energy and an ability to move freely and with perfect coordination. Yet these two basic elements of the human organism often seem „separated“ from each other. This condition of inner separation limits personal development and artistic excellence, yet this state can be replaced by the natural forces of inner connectedness simply by becoming more aware of the body and how it wants to function. This kind of natural strength gives a person a lively and reliable sense of their body.

It seems to many people that the body does not want to do what the head plans and intends to do! The back hurts, their thoughts are uneasy, the breathing shallow, the knees are painful, the neck and shoulders feel stiff, the hands shake and they cannot control their voice as they wish. These experiences are in no way unusual even among gifted young people, particularly at a university of arts where the students need the very best personal conditions for their future vocation and for the continuing development of their creative potential.

Many young artists, pedagogues and scientists come up against the „limits“ of their physical bodies during their studies. But very often the problem is not created by their body at all but by their unconscious physical habits,  and by their lack of awareness how they can use their body more naturally which means in a healthy and constructive way.

One of the aims of the Folkwang University of Arts and the vision and task of the Body Awareness Workgroup is to raise attention for the necessity to improve the level of body awareness by offering a regular and diverse teaching programme for all students.

For the last fifteen years all students of the Folkwang University of Arts can learn the natural and conscious use of their body. That is not to be found everywhere in the European landscape of Arts Education and because of this Folkwang is becoming known as a pioneer of an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to Body Awareness Teaching.

Working together every student from all undergraduate and postgraduate study courses can gain extensive skills in Body Awareness, independent of whether they are studying Photography, Dance, Design, Composition, Theatre Directing, Teaching, Voice, Acting, Instrumental Performance, Jazz, Choir Directing or Physical Theatre. The positive and long term results can be applied in every aspect of their studies and the value of theses courses have proved to be indispensable.

The Body Awareness Teaching Programme covers different areas of learning, and the aims and contents of the courses are varied:

  • Support can be found through the skills of Body Awareness which are stage presence, natural posture and movement and clarity of gesture, for the application of an individual’s creative and artistic impulses both for performing and for teaching.
  • Raising a student’s self-awareness and the ability to be in control of their mind-body unity during different study tasks, particularly in their own main subject of study.
  • Training a personal psychophysical balance to reduce or avoid stress in every day activities, both in their professional studies and in their personal lives.
  • Students are given concrete and well-founded material through which they can improve their own ability to take care of themselves and at the same time intensify the individuality of their artistic development.
  • Support will be offered which will help regulate health issues related to body awareness. This can prevent or reduce injury and discomfort.
  • Body and Spatial Awareness can be practiced in a group to create a shared “field” for interdisciplinary and intercultural performance work.

These skills are taught in a number of courses offered weekly by teachers who are not only qualified and experienced in their particular body awareness methods, but they each have an artistic background ­- many of them still performing world wide.

At present we offer 10 courses:

  • Mind Your Movement (Prof. Nadia Kevan)
  • F. M. Alexander Technique/Group Lessons (Torsten Konrad)
  • F. M. Alexander Technique/Individual Lessons (Torsten Konrad)
  • The Inspired Body (Torsten Konrad)
  • Gyrokinesis (Jean-Christoph Pellerin)
  • The Feldenkrais Method (Jean-Christoph Pellerin)
  • Yoga (two courses) (Thomas Schäfer)
  • The Agility of the Tiger (Dr. Wilfired Dörstel)
  • Body Awareness/Alexander Technique with your Music Instrument (Asa Moori and Anna Kopperschmidt)

You will find more details about all the courses under Optional Studies and Folkwang Organizer

Body Awareness at the Folkwang also offers lectures, performances and symposions open to the general public.

Prof. Nadia Kevan is chair  and one of the founding members of the Body Awareness Workgroup at the Folkwang University of Arts. Prof. Kevan is responsible for the courses of study offered and can be contacted for information or support in all questions around Body Awareness at the Folkwang.

“Body Awareness refers to the physicality of a presence of mind, a phenomenon which everyone can experience and each of us should attain, an ability to be present in a way which others can feel and which make other feel. Body awareness is an integrate part of the very process of an individual’s conscious development particularly for people in artistic and artistic-teaching vocations.”

- Prof. Dr. Josef Fellsches, Founding member of the Body Awareness Work Group