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Physical Awareness

 “Our lives consist of those things we have attended to.” (James Wiliam).

The artists body is his instrument and his contact to the audience. Therefore, the knowledge and use of the body are present in courses in the different performing arts programs of the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp. Developing artists need to be able to express, capture and keep the audience’s attention and need to excel in the technicity of the performance. Physical awareness helps the artist to develop, create awareness and maintain the body as a strong expressive instrument in order to build a rich carrier.

At the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, awareness of the body is being stimulated and trained in different courses such as Physical Awareness, developed since 1987 by Magda Thielemans. Her method is qualified by the alumni and colleagues as unique and valuable and is said to be essential and supportive to the artists carrier. Alumni witness that Physical Awareness training increased their level of artistic performance as well as they learned how to take care of their precious instrument.

At present, the method is only being thought by Magda Thielemans. After more than thirty years of teaching, the researcher wants to find out if the method is unique in its own and, if so, filter out this unicity. The researcher will observe, reflect, analyse data and compare her own method to those being used in other educations in the arts and other known physical awareness methods. Literature research, interviews, focus groups will help to define and describe the methodology and benefits of the courses. This one-year starting project will be the fundament of further research and the development of a platform to share the technique with any artist, student, lecturer, teacher-trainer or teacher in the performing arts.

(c) Images: Philippe Wuyts (dance), Marc Wellens & Albert Engelen* (music) 

[1] citation from Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Flow and the foundations of positive psychology: The collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.