Course

Movement as Praxis

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Movement as Praxis

Gessie Houghton

If you can walk, you can dance

​- African saying

The course, which will take place at October Gallery before each in-person seminar, is for anyone and everyone in the New School community. Prior knowledge is assumed. If the participants ‘can walk’ then they will have no difficulty in keeping up with the simple set of evolving exercises practised each week. Light clothing—neither too heavy nor too tightly restrictive—allowing a full range of movements is encouraged. You might also like to bring along easily changeable clothing specifically for this half hour class. Normally we will work inside and with bare feet, though this is not a necessary requirement. We will practise light, gentle exercises—that would never be classified as ‘aerobic’—singly and sometimes in pairs. 

 

Core functions of this class might be understood to be:

 

  • emphasising physical movement as an independent discipline of at least equal importance to mentation, thinking, study, relaxation, etc.;

  • improving blood-flow to the brain before sitting down for each weekly seminar; 

  • grounding each participant in his or her own body; 

  • encouraging mindful attention towards simple movement patterns;

  • releasing tension and stress, with consequences for health & longevity; 

  • and learning a new form of movement that—if practised attentively over time—builds towards radical change, both physical and mental.

 

The course will address Félix Guattari’s statement that, ‘…mental ecosophy will necessarily reinvent the relationship between the subject and the body.’ We will explore basic structural issues and movement patterns that are ‘automatically’ inscribed in each human being. From our earliest, preconscious times, inscribed (habitual) movements form into conditioned structural layers which we simply accept as ‘being who and how we are’ but which prevent the acquisition of new forms of movement (new forms of knowing). We learn to conform (submit) to the bodies we construct over time, including adjustments made to adapt to conditions, cultural values, injuries, age, etc. Literally, we must overcome our very ‘selves’ to change and become different. Engrained habitual patterns must, therefore, be identified and ‘unlearnt’ before new learning (progress) becomes possible. Such activity is a necessary precondition of activism.

 

At the end of the year, keen and determined participants will have learnt a new range of movement patterns that they can continue to practise by themselves, as they re-form and refine their habitual patterns of movement.