About Me

Tessa_Chandlrer_Photo_by_Cristobal_Vivar18765

A lifelong student of movement and the body, I have taught varied approaches to embodied awareness since 2004. I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and began my movement career as a ballet dancer with the Alabama Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and Dutch National Ballet. Unhealthy in the ballet world, I tossed my pointe shoes to the winds in 1996 and moved to New York to earn my undergraduate degree at Columbia University’s School of General Studies (B.A., English, Dance, and Writing). Repeated mentions of “Feldenkrais” at the 2001 Bates Dance Festival led me to seek out this unique somatic practice and ultimately join the 3.5-year New York I Feldenkrais Practitioner Training Program, directed by David Zemach-Bersin. During my Feldenkrais training, I performed with Molissa Fenley and other contemporary dance choreographers; pursued theater and composition studies; began to teach ballet at Barnard College; and earned my living as a contemporary dance booking agent and artist representative for Elsie Management and Jodi Kaplan and Associates.

From 2003-2016, I held an adjunct faculty position in the Dance Department at Barnard College, giving ballet and modern technique courses and originating a course in the Feldenkrais Method® at the invitation of the late Mary Cochran. In 2010, I earned my Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival, a life affirming site of radical pedagogy under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield and Thomas DeFrantz. Feldenkrais teaching engagements during this time included the Paul Taylor Summer Dance Intensive; Trisha Brown Dance Center; Feldenkrais Institute of New York; New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts; World Dance Americas General Assembly (Salvador, Brazil); American Dance Festival; Gibney Dance Center (with Kathy Westwater); Hollins University; Princeton University; and Columbia University’s Union Theological Seminary.

In September of 2014, I opened Inwood Movement, a neighborhood movement education studio where I currently offer individual and group sessions alongside other practitioners of related disciplines. From 2016-2018 I completed the first Ideal Organization and Profound Strength (IOPS) Academy, a post-graduate Feldenkrais practitioner training program directed by Feldenkrais Trainer Jeff Haller. During this time I also began strength training and functional fitness classes at Hanuman Health Club, directed by Eoghan O’Kelly, which inspired me to attain a Level I Certification in Movnat, a fitness training method oriented around human movement in natural environments.

My aim is to contribute to a thriving community by cultivating embodied awareness at the individual level (“Be the change…”). I practice Aikido ongoingly at Inwood’s unique community dojo, Aikido Up Here, and am a student of Sat Chuen Hon, director of the New York Dantao Qi Gong School. As of 2019, I completed a 9-month instructor apprenticeship at Wild Earth, an organization in New York’s Hudson Valley offering nature connection mentoring to humans of all ages.

 

Photo: Cristobal Vivar – Vivarphoto.com

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