Yael Davids lead an introductory session for all participants of WHW Akademija Summer School on line and an intensive 7 day trans-disciplinary seminar along with one open public Feldenkreiss session focused on somatic knowledge achieved through collective practice. This experimental, trans-disciplinary seminar was based on non-hierarchical politics of knowledge grounded in bodily and social practices. Yael Davids began to integrate the Feldenkrais Method in her practice in recent years. Developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, a physicist and engineer, the Feldenkrais Method is a school of somatically geared study that seeks to cultivate and refine physiological awareness through slow, sequential patterns of movement. The Feldenkrais doctrine is geared towards our conditions and process of learning — a potential that can be applied towards other learning systems. These patterns function to stimulate and underpin a dialogue with one’s body, thereby enhancing one’s sensitivity to the entrenched movement compulsions that we accumulate throughout life. Yael Davids gave Feldenkrais lessons throughout WHW Akademija Summer School during which she showed a sequence of basic, distinct positions that we go through as part of the process of maturation, and which are also an echo of the evolution process: from lying/crawling to standing. As a Feldenkrais Method practicioner Davids presented this method as a research device for comprehending the inner-workings of structures and prevailing tendencies — bodily, institutionally, artistically. A question that was tackled through these lectures was also how collective heritage and socially charged narratives become intertwined with the individual’s biography and sensibilities.
Open public Feldenkrais lesson with Yael Davids
Feldenkrais lesson with Yael Davids on May 21st 2023, was a practical session open for the wider public with the participants taking part in the class. The Feldenkrais Method looks at the structure that holds us – the skeleton, and the correlations between each of its parts, emphasising their interdependence. The core Feldenkrais premise is to enable maximum support with minimal struggle – becoming aware of one’s micro-movements – and seeking alternative movements when faced with strain. The Feldenkrais Method promotes an inclusive approach that encompasses care and ecology, further enriching its practice. Alongside the aforementioned aspects, it emphasizes the importance of caring for oneself and the environment. By cultivating kinesthetic empathy, practitioners develop a heightened sensitivity not only to their own bodies but also to the interconnectedness of all living beings. This awareness extends to the ecological implications of movement choices, fostering a sense of responsibility towards the natural world. The method encourages individuals to consider the ecological footprint of their actions, promoting mindful and sustainable movement practices. Additionally, the Feldenkrais Method acknowledges the importance of self-care and self-compassion, recognizing that nurturing oneself is essential for overall well-being. It encourages practitioners to approach movements with gentleness, avoiding force or strain, and prioritizing self-care in the process. By integrating care and ecological mindfulness into the practice, the Feldenkrais Method extends beyond the individual realm, fostering a holistic and compassionate approach to movement, well-being, and the environment.
Yael Davids lives and works in Amsterdam. She studied Fine Arts at the Rietveld Academie, Sculpture at the Pratt Institute and Choreography and Dance Pedagogy at the Remscheid Academie. Her practice draws on a sculptural and performative vocabulary, in which the body is understood as a vessel wherein knowledge, memories, and habits are archived and enacted on a daily basis. As a trained instructor in the Feldenkrais Method, Davids often employs the method as a device for examining how the forces of psychology and physics influence perception, movement, relationality, and self-awareness.