Research in Dance and Physical Education

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Research in Dance and Physical Education - Vol. 4 , No. 3

[ Article ]
Research in Dance and Physical Education - Vol. 4, No. 3, pp.19-31
ISSN: 2586-1034 (Online)
Print publication date 31 Dec 2020
Received 30 Oct 2020 Revised 13 Dec 2020 Accepted 13 Dec 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.26584/RDPE.2020.12.4.3.19

Awareness Through Movement® as Critical Pedagogy in Ballet
Rainy Demerson*
The University of the West Indies Cave Hill, Barbados, U.S.A. Lecturer

Correspondence to : *Email address: rainydemerson@yahoo.com


Abstract

Feldenkrais methods emphasize individualization, freedom, and ease. Ballet methods emphasize perfection and hierarchy, and this can lead to injuries. This paper asks how Awareness Through Movement (ATM) and ballet - two practices that seem to have disparate philosophies and goals - could ever align, given the long history of authoritarian pedagogy inculcated in ballet. By cross referencing my experiences as a ballet and ATM student, interviews with teachers who combine these techniques, and documented research, I argue that ballet pedagogy can be reconstructed with an emancipatory approach using ATM to help disrupt institutionalized practices of body shaming, racism, and elitism. I interview teachers who engage both modalities within one class to imagine what a professional ballet community could look like with critical pedagogy and somatic practice at its core. I propose Awareness Through Movement as a vehicle for reconstructing our understandings of the interplay between race, class, and gender issues in ballet, restructuring thoughts and practices not through dialectic, but through the body itself.


Keywords: Awareness Through Movement, Ballet, Critical Pedagogy, Dance, Diversity

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