The Pioneers
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Pioneers | Introduction


Mabel Elsworth Todd's ideas and practices served as the foundation for the field now known as Ideokinesis. Initially Todd's work was taught privately in studio settings. First, students learned simple aspects of anatomy as background for the introduction of certain body images or goals. Next, in the "table work" component of the lesson, the teacher used touch to facilitate concentration on the imagined actions. This highly individualized system of education helped students to identify poor postural habits, reduce muscular tension and explore new patterns of coordination.

Many of Todd's most dedicated students became Studio Teachers and helped her to refine her teaching methods. The careers of two of Todd's better-known students, Lulu Sweigard and Barbara Clark, established Ideokinesis as a scientifically tenable and broadly accessible educational process. Students like Sally Swift carried features of Todd's approach into other dimensions of movement education. The discussion of the first era in the history of Ideokinesis brings focus to the work of Todd and her students, who can be considered the field's Pioneers.

Mabel Elsworth Todd
Barbara Clark
Lulu Sweigard
Studio Teachers
Sally Swift

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