Imagina(c)tion: Ruth Zaporah's Action Theater™ and the Feldenkrais Method® in dialogue about the coextensivity of imagination and action

Vesty, Robert (2017) Imagina(c)tion: Ruth Zaporah's Action Theater™ and the Feldenkrais Method® in dialogue about the coextensivity of imagination and action. IFF Feldenkrais Research Journal, 6 . ISSN 1817-4000 (Accepted/In press)

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We’re stepping inside a new world in an improvisation – an imaginal world. Real life is the hard world (Zaporah in Vesty 2014, Journal Notes)

This article will expand on my presentation for the (re)storing Performance symposium given at Bath Spa in June 2015. It draws on my own research and practice as both a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method (FM) and performer working with improvisation as a tool, and here I will specifically refer to my participation in a ten-day workshop training in Ruth Zaporah’s improvisatory performance practice known as Action Theater™ which took place in Tarbena, Spain, (June, 2014).

I pitch FM and Action Theater in dialogue by asking how conceptions of the imaginal and real worlds encountered in these practices challenge ideas about their supposed separation in common everyday understandings. FM makes much of the function of imagined action. Many ATM lessons invite students to integrate an imagined version of a movement with a more active version. My central argument is that imagination and action are coextensive, and merely differentiated by degree, hence my playful invitation at the very end of this essay through the use of the term – imagina(c)tion – to consider the way in which processes of imagining can be seen to collapse, though not flatten, distinctions between subject/object, internal/external, mind/body etc. I borrow from some recent understandings developed in cognitive philosophy. For this I turn to Mark Johnson’s (1987) book - The Body in the Mind: The bodily basis of meaning, imagination, and reason – to arrive at a point where FM can be seen as a useful companion practice with Action Theater because it can help a performer understand that the so-called ‘imaginal world’ is not one we need to step inside because we are always already there; and that crucially it is these processes of imagination that allow for the creativity of rational knowledge.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Theatre Arts group
Item ID: 20232
Notes on copyright: Access to full text restricted pending copyright check
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Depositing User: Robert Vesty
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 09:48
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 11:54

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