Feldenkrais Video: Impressions of Moshe at “CERN”

The video below, “Moshe Feldenkrais at CERN” shows a small part of Moshe’s presentation at CERN circa 1981.***

Unfortunately, what you see below is only the demonstration portion and does not include Moshe’s prior lecture. The lecture was quite fascinating not only from a theoretical perspective, but also from a group dynamics and teaching perspective. Why? On several occasions, people in the audience asked Moshe to show his method rather than just talking about it.

Each time he said “no”, and intimated that the audience would not be able to follow what he was doing and that the work was both too complex and too subtle to be seen in such a short period of time. Moshe kept building the tension about doing a demonstration. By the time Moshe finally agreed to work with someone, the group was ready and “primed” to pay attention and watch Moshe deeply.

Several people in the Feldenkrais community have commented that watching the demonstration makes them very uncomfortable. Why? To them, is seems as if the demonstration objectifies the demonstration person and puts the focus on Moshe and his work and not fully on the other person where it belongs.

I think that anyone who is sensitive to the Feldenkrais learning principles can see the basis for this criticism in the video. Of course, that does not mean you have to agree with it.

Moshe Feldenkrais Video At “CERN”


Watch Moshe Feldenkrais in CERN in Educational  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

***CERN is the acronym for “The European Organization for Nuclear Research.” In French, it’s called “Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire. According to Wikipedia, It is one of the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and is located at Geneva Switzerland. However, the original posting of the video mentions “Moshe Feldenkrais at CERN, Munich, 1981.” Munich or Geneva? I do not know.

5 thoughts on “Feldenkrais Video: Impressions of Moshe at “CERN”

  1. Andrea

    “objectifies the demonstration person and puts the focus on Moshe and his work and not fully on the other person where it belongs.”

    Goodness, there’s a lot of judgment in those last three words, isn’t there?

    In a private FI session, certainly the FDK practitioner’s attention should be on the recipient. But, that’s not the context here. In front of this audience, I think it’s only appropriate the focus was on Moshe and the work. What benefits would this audience of non practitioners and non-aspiring FDK students get without the explanation? What benefits would a general audience get from watching a massage therapist give a massage to a person on their table, paying full attention to that recipient? Wouldn’t it be appropriate for the therapist to describe what was happening, pointing out the benefits of massage, etc.? (Putting aside the issues around massage itself, for the purpose of the example.)

    I would hazard to say that there were too few times when this Moshe and ‘work’ centered-focus was taken and we are poorer today as a result.

  2. Eric

    Is the lecture itself available Ryan?

    As for uncomfortable did I see right, did he kiss the person on the lips in the middle of the lesson?

  3. Ryan Nagy

    Eric – Great to see your comment. I have seen the lecture at a workshop, but do not have a copy. I will ask around and see if I can find it and put it online.

    As far as the kiss….I may have seen it…but perhaps I blocked it out of my memory!

    – Ryan

  4. David

    Those two kisses at 12:40 create a lot of cognitive dissonance for me.
    I have enjoyed his books, and subscribe to his theoretical foundation, but perhaps I’m so thoroughly programmed by modern sexual conventions that I’m unable to see that type of flirtation as innocent or appropriate.

  5. Anna

    He was certainly no saint – no guru. The stories of his obnoxiousness and outrageousness are legion. That’s the context – make of his teaching what you will…

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