by Jan Dunn MS
Today is all about the Franklin Method (FM). The FM is not really an “outside conditioning” method, although it can be used for only that – but it is really much more. It is something which can be integrated into dance training and your daily life — a movement education system that can be very beneficial not only for learning new movement, but also for “re-patterning”. That term refers to when we have a poor movement habit or postural pattern, and want to change it to one that is more efficient and healthy for our body.
The FM is science-based, founded on principles from physics, biomechanics, evolutionary anatomy (how the human body has evolved over time in its movement capabilities), concepts from both Western and Eastern science —and is especially based on the new science of Neuroplasticity – i.e, the plasticity of the brain.
This has been one of the most important scientific discoveries of the late 20th / early 21st centuries. Science is only beginning to understand how amazingly flexible our brains are, not just when we are infants / young children, but though out our lifespan. How we live, what we do and think on a daily basis, profoundly affects and shapes our brain –constantly. We DO have the capacity to change our brain, and thus our bodies as well (“The Brain That Changes Itself”, by Norman Doidge, MD, is a terrific book about this field – available on Amazon and in bookstore). The FM gives us the tools to accomplish those changes ourselves.
The founder of the FM is Swiss-born Eric Franklin, a multi-talented man who is a:
-author (10 English-language books currently on the market, 3 of them completely dance-oriented)
-movement scientist, who began developing his work nearly 30 years ago.
The FM is now taught and used world-wide, in dance as well in many other environments, such as:
-Music (The Music Conservatory of Vienna, for example)
-Pilates (many FM instructors are also Pilates teachers, and it has been presented at Pilates conferences in the US)
-Yoga (again, a number of FM trainers also are Yoga instructors, and it is taught at Yoga centers and conferences in the US and UK)
-Sports (Franklin has worked with world-class athletes, including those at Olympic level)
-Medicine (US PT’s are increasingly becoming certified and using it in their clinical work, and in Europe it has been used for many years in healthcare systems, including physical therapy and midwifery)
Tune in tomorrow for a closer look at the FM in the dance world!
Editor Jan Dunn is a dance medicine specialist currently based on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, where she is affiliated with Pilates Kauai. She is also a Pilates rehabilitation specialist and Franklin Educator.
Originally a dancer / choreographer, she became university dance faculty, most recently as Adjunct Faculty, University of Colorado Dept. of Theatre and Dance. Her 28 year background in dance medicine includes 23 years with the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) – as Board member / President / Executive Director – founding Denver Dance Medicine Associates, and establishing two university Dance Wellness Programs.
Jan served as organizer and Co-Chair, International Dance Medicine Conference, Taiwan 2004, and was founding chair of the National Dance Association’s (USA) Committee on Dance Science and Medicine, 1989-1993. She originated The Dance Medicine/Science Resource Guide; and was co-founder of the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science. She has taught dance medicine, Pilates, and Franklin workshops for medical / dance and academic institutions in the USA / Europe / Middle East / and Asia, authored numerous articles in the field, and presented at many national and international conferences.
Ms. Dunn will be writing a new column, “Dance Wellness” for 4dancers in 2012 and will also be bringing in voices from the dance wellness/dance medicine field to share their expertise with readers.