Have you ever been curious about how people found out about or decided to attend the Feldenkrais Amherst training back in the 1980's? Elinor Silverstein posted one of the original flyers on Facebook and I have posted it below along with a copy of the text.
In 1983, when I was 16, I spent 3 months in Israel (not doing Feldenkrais, as I had never heard of it) and did so after seeing a poster on a wall at my high school in Texas. After all these years that poster still gives me a magical, mystical feeling when I see it. I imagine that many Amherst attendees feel the same way about the advertisement.
Feldenkrais Amherst Training: The Original Advertisment Text
Professional Training Program
Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais is the world-renowned Israeli who has for the past 40 years taught thousands of actors, dancers, athletes, disabled and elderly persons a method for enhancing their physical and mental abilities The FELDENKRAIS METHOD of private sessions in Functional Integration and group classes in Awareness Through Movement integrates neuro-muscular skeletal and environmental factors. It has achieved highly successful rehabilitation in a wide spectrum of disabilities, including multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy stroke, degenerative arthritis and orthopedic as well as increased capacity for artistic and athletic performance. Among his books are Body and Mature Behavior, Awareness Through Movement, and The Case of Nora (first in a series entitled, “Adventures in the Jungle of the Brain”). Two additional books will be released this spring. His earlier works include Judo and Judo for Blackbelt Groundwork.
What: The Feldenkrais “Professional Training Program" is the first in a series of 3, and possibly 4, consecutive summer sessions leading to professional status as a Feldenkrais practitioner.
Where: Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. Swimming, Tennis and other recreational facilities will be open to class members. Housing (private, dormitory, communal) is available at modest prices
Tuition: $2000/summer session
When: June 9-August 8 1980 (9 weeks).
How: To apply submit a brief statement (3 typewritten pages maximum) indicating goals educational and work background, hobbies, publications, interests. as well as workshops, private sessions, group classes and Feldenkrais practitioners you may have experienced. Please submit at least two letters of recommendation with your application Send to "Feldenkrais. Professional Training Program”, 1968 Green Street. San Francisco, CA 94123. Enrollment is limited. Deadline for application is April 25. 1980 All applicants will be notified of their status within 3 weeks of receipt of their application. For further information call 415/921-7103or 415/383-0900.
In affiliation with The Feldenkrais Guild. 1776 Union Street San Francisco. CA 94123
A bit of commentary
Feldenkrais as Physical Therapy. There are many in the Feldenkrais community, who criticize current training programs and practitioners in general for marketing the Feldenkrais Method solely for its ability to deal with physical complaints and issues rather than as a means of personal growth and development. I find it interesting to note that the flyer above does just that. It focuses on using with degenerative diseases and stroke and such with very little language about personal development.
Service Marks. Notice that there is not a single service mark or trademark symbol on the page. How about that? Moshe managed to make a living without service marks and trademarks. Heaven forbid.
Professional Status as a Feldenkrais Practitioner. Moshe was really reaching when he used the words "professional status." His work had NO professional status anywhere in the U.S. at that time. And to all appearances the Amherst training program and the earlier San Francisco training programs were experiments that he was conducting to see if how he could teach the work and get it out into the world.
A Few Photos From the Amherst Training
The International Feldenkrais Federation has published some of Jerry Karzen's photos from the Amherst training on it's website.
A Bit More Feldenkrais History
Here is a growing page with some notes about Feldenkrais history.
Ryan C. Nagy