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S3NSE: The Rites of Spring


“I was guided by no system whatsoever in composing the Rites of Spring. I had only my ear to help. I heard and I wrote what I heard. I was the vessel though which the Rites of Spring passed.” ~Igor Stravinsky~ Think of the rites of spring, what comes into mind? Warm days of sunshine and blossoming flowers? The world turning green? Google Rites of Spring and the answer will surprise you. Rites of Spring is a ballet composed by Igor Stravinsky with a horrifying scenario: a pagan ritual about a sacrificial virgin who dances herself to death. It’s safe to assume she did not practice the Feldenkrais Method. The ballet premiered in May, 1913 and caused a scandal. The music was complex and difficult, the sets were bizarre and the dancing more erotic than tasteful. The audience was shocked and outraged. Yet when presented a year later, everyone loved it and carried Stravinsky out of the theater. Sometimes it takes time for people to get it. Some thirty years later, Moshe Feldenkrais like Stravinsky, is following his inner voice and writing the theoretical framework of his method (the book Body and Mature Behavior). He wonders if his ideas are too crazy and if he is losing his sanity. A couple of intellectual friends think he may be on to something. Feldenkrais preserveres and devotes himself to his method. Many years later, I have my first experience with Feldenkrais. It was like the premier of Rites of Spring. I bought the book “Awareness Through Movement” and spend a few days reading and trying to do it. I was more confused than shocked or outraged. I just didn’t get it and forgot about it. Fortunately, my second experience was better like the second showing of Rites of Spring. I was integrated and made it a part of my life. However, Feldenkrais sometimes feels like Stravinsky’s ballet. The floor is a strange place to study movement. Some of the instructions and questions seem out of tune with today’s social norms and certain movements are too esoteric for logical thinking. Yet, in time, it starts to make more and more sense. You learn to follow your inner self and become a vessel in which the movement lesson has passed. There are times when we feel like we are dancing ourselves to death. Stop, take a breath and start dancing to a different tune. Dial into S3NSE at www.s3nse.org. You just might enjoy what is playing.

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