New England Region: Opportunities for All
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
by: Misha Forrester, New England Region Representative

Section: CORR News




The New England Region covers six states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. We are the smallest region in terms of membership, but we have always worked to build a sense of community and common purpose in the exploration and promotion of the Feldenkrais Method®. Graduates are very social and dedicated. Strong bonds and mutual moral support have been maintained over many decades despite extensive geographical distances (it’s a 10+ hour drive from the top of Maine to the southwestern Connecticut shore!). With advanced workshops, study groups, region sponsored events, and a regional newsletter, we work to stay well connected and cohesive. Ranging from the Amherst training over thirty years ago to this year’s newly certified graduates, practitioners exist side-by-side in various collaborations whether through advanced trainings, team-taught workshops, mentoring, attending each other’s ATM® classes and workshops, or sharing resources which include tables, mats, and even clients during practicums and study groups.

Mainstays within this region include our study groups, which go all the way back to Amherst. Most recently, following with the desire to refine the touch and skill sets nurtured in Larry Goldfarb’s Trilogy and Mastering the Method’s series of advanced trainings, Mischul Brownstone and June LaPointe initiated an intensive all-weekend practitioner study group that is now in its sixth years. Meeting in Arlington, MA, a suburb of Boston, six to eight times annually, it rotates leadership and facilitating styles, but always includes conversation and structured FI® practice based on video resources from Larry’s current trainings. Attendance has reached more than a third of the membership in the region on occasion and created a mature, self-generating, and enthusiastic coming together for serious professional practice. Additional study groups, changing locations within their own approximate ‘neighborhoods,’ are well established in Maine and western Massachusetts/Connecticut. They meet four to six times annually for a day of ATM and FI practice. Many Region members attend regardless of weather conditions. In 2016, we will also start a monthly AY online study group using the region's ZOOM account.

Without a lot of hoopla, quietly and competently, New England Feldies have been generating a deeply felt engagement in the Feldenkrais Method, one student, one client, one event at a time. Most recently, to name a few, Deborah Lotus started the “Hip Joint,” a low-fee clinic, Andrea Higgins addressed the Massachusetts State Council on the Aging, Gretchen Langner spoke on Feldenkrais Somatic Learning and Neuroplasticity at the University of New England, Lauri Weinstein generated interest in our work during a well-attended Boston-area health fair, Stephen Paparo wrote an article on somatic teaching and learning in The International Journal of Music Education, and Gillian Franks created our first Feldenkrais Festival in Vermont. Practitioners can now be found teaching and applying the Feldenkrais Method in some of our major New England educational institutions including Smith College, Harvard, Lesley, Longy School of Music of Bard College, MIT, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Berklee School of Music’s Richard Ehrman Memorial Series is a well-attended event with New England practitioners facilitating the ATM lessons with a musicianship theme. Members note that we are encountering less puzzlement or indifference from the public; instead we solicit genuine curiosity, attention, and a desire for MORE!
 
This year, the Region has had a most unusual and significant bounty of advanced trainings and events: spring and fall Mastering the Method with Trainer Larry Goldfarb, Trainer Jeff Haller’s Learning Self-Organization, Assistant Trainer Anastasti Siotas’ Anatomy of the Foot and Ankle, Trainer Ruthy Alon’s Solutions for Optimal Mobility, Assistant Trainer Anna Johnson Chase’s weeklong ATM summer camp under the starry skies in Maine, ten study groups, a free region sponsored advanced ATM Zoom offering (the first from any region) and most recently, an enormously well-attended public workshop with Trainer Aliza Stewart with a waiting list in the double digits. Our completely free two-day region sponsored event for Guild members, also with Trainer Aliza Stewart, brought nearly half the region together despite very short notice to Northampton, MA in mid-summer.

The New England Region has an amazing library resource, perhaps one of the largest compilations in North America, fully used by the region in addition to some out-of-region members. Part of our annual membership dues allotment goes toward increasing this collection, with special thanks to Margo Hennebach, our volunteer library steward. The library collection can be viewed at https://sites.google.com/site/newenglandfeldenkrais/home.
 
We have hosted only three professional trainings in the region: Amherst (1980-83), and Boston 1 and 2 with Educational Director Dennis Leri (1994-2001), This summer, seven New England Region practitioners came together to encourage Trainer Aliza Stewart to pursue the possibility of bringing another training to the region as part of a larger, charitable non-profit vision. With much diligence, there is now a newly formed non-profit organization recognized by the state of Massachusetts and pending federal 501(c)(3) status, as a charitable and educational organization within the region. Part of its mission is to foster continuous learning and bring low-fee educational access to New England practitioners, and to expand the Feldenkrais Method within New England, in particular, to inform our diverse cultures, ages, and ways of thinking. Feldenkrais Education of New England, Inc., is pleased to announce its very first venture, a Feldenkrais training program in the Boston area to begin August 2016 with Aliza Stewart as the Educational Director. (FENE* is currently applying to the North American Training Accreditation Board for accreditation.) We are thrilled that after a hiatus of fifteen years there will be a training in the region and much more!
 
Stay tuned to happenings in the New England Region and come visit!

*Misha Forrester is a volunteer Board member of FENE.
Post a Comment

Name
Email
Comment