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The Apostasy of Rolfing®Movement Integration

In the beginning, there existed these things:  Ida Rolf and the men who followed her, and a couple of women hanging around. Then some reason, perhaps the search for clients, led men to work with women, and there was divergity.

Many of these women were fugitives from the dance world, with their badges of honor of bad knees, ankles, feet, and backs.

Some of these women had uppity ideas about how function could go along with structure; indeed, be an integral part of it.  (Which is more important:  the palm of your hand or the back of your hand or the function of your hand?)

Judith Aston was one of those uppities.  Louis Schultz was one of her early students; he was my first movement teacher.  Generously over the course of several years he let me in on her and his ideas, and how they went with Rolfing Structural Integration.  By this time, 1984 and 1985, Judith had already gotten tired of being on the fringe of the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (RISI) and taken off.

Although I had seen other Rolfers™ work with structure and function together, Louis was the first Rolfer that really brought the idea home to me.  I also knew Janie French and Annie Duggan, movement teachers, from my early training, and I went to work with them.  Shortly after that, Janie and Annie got tired of their apostatical pigeonhole and took off.

Ironically, Janie and Annie brought some of the first indirect work to the RISI and were driven out into the wilderness for it and then indirect work took off at RISI.

I studied with Rebecca Carli and Hubert Godard, and we just did what we did, integrating away.

Fast backward for a little history:  Ida Rolf had died in 1979, and after a certain scuffle amongst the would-be leaders,  Jan Sultan, Michael Salveson, and Emmett Hutchins emerged.  They were all in their ways carriers of Ida Rolf’s misogyny.  Very few women entered the pantheon of the structural faculty.

In my first class in 1983 we noticed that there was a segregation, the movement faculty (women) and the structural faculty (men, though there was one woman–we heard).  We also heard that it was so in the beginning.

These movement teachers came in for a week at the beginning of the training, sharing the week with anatomy teachers, and were sent away when the “real Rolfing” started.

Fast forward:  today we mark the beginning of the second phase of a movement certification course in Claymont. By the year 3000, perhaps the great Movo-Phobics (Jan Sultan, Michael Salveson, and Emmett Hutchins) will have moved on in their own ways and we will have Integration at the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration and at the Guild for Structural Integration.

Some of us can’t wait, we are personally going for it now, every day.

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