How to teach

Moshe Feldenkrais
Moshe Feldenkrais

When I think of the great teachers I have known, I see this is how they taught:

Imagine a dancing party attended by a man who never dances,
for reasons best known to himself. He always declines all
invitations to participate saying that he does not know how.
One woman, however, likes the man sufficiently to persuade
him to take the floor. Moving herself, she somehow manages
to make him move too. The dance is not very complicated, and
after a few awkward moments when his ear tells him that the
music has something to do with it, he becomes conscious that
her movements are rhythmical. Nevertheless, he is relieved
when the dance stops and he can return to his seat and
breathe again. At the end of the evening he finds he can follow
her movements and steps more easily, and can even avoid
bumping into her feet. Half thinking, he feels that perhaps he
has not performed so badly, although he knows that he still
cannot dance.

After going to a second party, he makes sufficient progress
to shake his conviction that dancing is not for him. At the next
party, finding a woman left sitting alone like himself, he asks
her to dance, still protesting that he is not very good. Ever
since then he has danced, forgetting to begin with an apology.

Consider the woman who could dance, and how she made a
pupil or client dance also, without teaching musical rhythms,
dancing steps, and all the rest of it. Her friendly attitude and
her experience made him learn without any formal teaching.
A certain kind of knowledge can pass from one person to
another without a healing touch. However, the man must
have learned to use his legs, hands, and the rest of him before
a friendly touch could help him to use his experience and learn
to dance so easily. He learned notwithstanding his ignorance
of his latent ability.

— Moshe Feldenkrais. The Elusive Obvious or Basic Feldenkrais. Cupertino, Calif: Meta Publications, 1981, p. 8.

Thanks to Tres Hofmeister for leading me to Feldenkrais.

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