JUMP RHYTHM® Jazz Project artistic director Billy Siegenfeld spent several years of his performance career dancing with chronic pain before he met ideokinesis teacher Andre Bernard. Thanks to Bernard’s method of correcting body alignment and posture with visual imagery, Siegenfeld had an epiphany about how to dance without pain.
“I was a big muscle-forcer. I went to Andre with lots of tension and asked him, ‘Why am I hurting?’ He said, ‘Billy, let me show you something.’ He picked up a humerus bone and a scapula, and he fit the head of the humerus into the shoulder socket of the scapula. He said, ‘See the way this bone is meant to go into the shoulder socket? When you work your arms, you’re not doing that. You’re pushing your humerus back, so as a consequence, you’re pushing your scapula back.’ I realized that the dance techniques that I’d studied, where they tell you to stand up straight and pull up, were sending my weight backwards and forcing my body into positions it didn’t want to go.”
JUMP RHYTHM® Jazz Project will celebrate its 25th anniversary season in Chicago with revivals of some of Siegenfeld’s oldest works, October 24–November 2, at Stage 773.
Photo by Justin Barbin, courtesy of Siegenfeld