Samantha Basford Damoulakis

Samantha Damoulakis, a former professional ballerina, has practiced Feldenkrais® since the beginning of her career, at age seventeen.  She discovered the Feldenkrais Method to be helpful in recovering from several serious injuries she sustained, as well as proving to be a means of prevention for future injury.  It not only helped her heal faster but also improved her technique, artistry and coordination.  Wishing to share the benefits she gained with others, she began training to become a Feldenkrais practitioner.  Samantha has taught the Feldenkrais Method® since 2011, after having spent four years of intensive study under David Zemach-Bersin, a world renowned Feldenkrais educator and practitioner.   As a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practicioner, Samantha regularly works with musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music.  Since 2013, she has co-taught a Feldenkrais course for musicians at CIM with Russell Hall.  She has taught workshops and lessons throughout the world using her knowledge and skills, most recently in Sapporo, Japan and Oberlin, Ohio.

A native of New York, Samantha began formal classical ballet training with Feld Ballets NY, studying at the Joffrey Ballet School, and continuing advanced training at the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center and LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts.  As a dance student she had the opportunity to work with such distinguished mentors as Stanley Williams, Violette Verdy, Patricia McBride, and Lynn Taylor Corbett, among other legendary teachers, choreographers and artists.  Samantha joined Miami City Ballet, under Edward Villella’s direction, where she toured extensively, including performing in Torino, Italy and Caracas, Venezuela abroad, as well as at the Spoleto Festival, Charleston, South Carolina and the Kennedy Center’s Balanchine Festival in Washington, D.C.  During this time, she studied the Feldenkrais Method with Miami practitioner, Dale Russel, founder of Noble Savage Workshop.  In 2004, she joined the staff at the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center as Artistic Assistant, working directly under Peter Martins and Kay Mazzo.  Since moving to Cleveland in 2007, she has become a member of the faculty at Sharron’s School of Dance and Cleveland City Dance teaching children and adults, including professional dancers.

  • “...learning is the gift of life.  A special kind of learning: that of knowing oneself.  They learn to know ‘how’ they are acting and thus are able to do ‘what’ they want-- the intense living of their unavowed, and sometimes declared, dreams. “
    - Moshe Feldenkrais

Moshe Pinhas Feldenkrais (1904-1984)

Moshe Feldenkrais was a Renaissance man who synthesised the fields of science and movement and art so he could have less pain in a bad knee and in turn offered his innovative discoveries to share with the rest of us.
Moshe Feldenkrais was born in the Ukraine and emmigrated to Palestine by himself at the age of 13.  During the years 1919-1930, he worked as a laborer, cartographer, student and author.  While recovering from a knee injury incurred in a soccer match, he co-authored and wrote Autosuggestion (1930) a translation based on the method of Emile Coue and Jujitsu (1931) a book on self-defense.  From 1930-1940, he was a student at the Sorbonne studying mechanical and electrical engineering, then worked in the scientific commmunity in Paris collaborating with such notables as Frederic Joliot-Curie.  Based on his continuing studies in Judo, he published two more books on the subject.  Escaping from the Natzi’s to Great Britain, he continued on in his career by working with the British Admiralty.  He also continued his studies in Judo, publishing three more books on the subject.  Moshe began to explore a way to deal with his knee injury, studying the scientific basis for Judo movements and absorbing himself in the work of contemporaries and mentors such as F.M. Alexander and Heinrich Jacoby.   He published his first book, Body and Mature Behavior(1949), on what would later develop into his method.  In 1951, he moved to Israel direct the Army Department of Electrics and by 1954 transitioned to practicing his method full time.  Awareness Through Movement lessons were taught on a regular basis, as were Functional Integration lessons.   In the late 1950’s he travelled throughout Europe and America and continued his public teaching until he fell ill in 1981.  He penned several more books on his ideas- including Awareness Through Movement (1972), The Case of Nora (1977), Elusive Obvious (1981), The Potent Self (1985.)  His books continue to be published- most recently- Higher Judo(2011.)


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