Hi! I’m Fritha Pengelly.
I love moving, being outside, learning, dancing, and spending time with my family and friends. I have become fascinated with developing resilience, understanding physical manifestations of emotional experiences as a way to move towards health, developing self-trust and accessing inner wisdom, and removing barriers to authenticity.
Growing up in a culture that does not value the body or one’s own experience as valuable and viable avenues for self-knowledge and learning, while at the same time spending hours in the dance studio learning to develop skills of attention, awareness, and bodily expression through movement has perhaps given me a dual sense of myself. I do trust in my body and my intuition, and yet I’m constantly discounting the wisdom that springs from my self-knowing.
I am deeply committed to developing a sense of agency in my own being, and I am passionate about providing an environment in which my clients and students can discover their ability to trust themselves and their own experiences.
Every day my clients teach me this is not only possible, but inevitable within a safe and supportive context.
I am consistently in awe of the innate intelligence and wisdom that my students and clients tap into on a daily basis when the conditions are just right. When we reconnect with our ability to listen to our bodies, honor our emotions, and tease apart the patterns and beliefs we embody, we can move towards health, ease, and living a life that feels fully in tune with what we want for ourselves. This is life-changing.
As an EFT and Feldenkrais Practitioner, and teacher of Dance for Parkinson’s, I provide a judgement-free zone in which the people I work with can connect to their authentic selves and generate change through creativity, self-knowledge, and self-direction.
If it would be helpful to know more about how I got here, read on to learn a bit about my background.
All of the experiences leading up to this moment have of course contributed significantly to what I offer. After an uncountable number of dance classes, rehearsals, and performances (including many years of Nutcracker productions) as a young person, I went on to receive my B.A. from Hampshire College in 1994 with a concentration in dance. I met Doug Elkins at the Bates Dance Festival the summer after I graduated and began dancing with his company in the fall of 1994.
I spent seven deeply formative years performing and teaching nationally and internationally as a member of the New York City-based Doug Elkins Dance Company, serving as co-rehearsal director from 2000-2001. In addition to my work with the Elkins Company, I performed with The Chamber Dance Company, David Neumann, and Wire Monkey Dance. My own work has been performed at several venues in New York City, The Five Colleges in Massachusetts, Northampton, Darien Arts Center (CT), Seattle (WA), Omaha (NE), and at Jacob’s Pillow.
After leaving New York City, I taught as a visiting artist at Hampshire College, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Realizing that I loved teaching, I decided to attend graduate school and received my M.F.A. in dance with a focus on anatomy and physiology from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2006. After returning to the Pioneer Valley, I continued teaching at various colleges and universities including the Five Colleges, Bennington College, North Carolina School of the Arts, Wake Forest University, the Hartt School, and Springfield College.
As I continued my teaching career I became interested in improving my skills as a movement educator, and I decided to attend a Feldenkrais® training. This was not the only reason I was curious about Feldenkrais®. Right before I had entered graduate school, I suffered a back injury. When I arrived in Seattle, I was just at the beginning of my healing journey and this is when I found the Feldenkrais® Method. Taking classes felt like absolute magic. It was an extraordinary experience of accessing a relationship to myself that resonated, and connected me to a much deeper knowing. I was hooked.
I attended the Feldenkrais Professional Training Program at the Feldenkrais Institute of NY (2009-2013) where I studied with director David Zemach-Bersin, Sheryl Field, Anna Johnson, Aliza Stewart, Arlyn Zones, Ruty Bar, Deborah Bowes, and Elizabeth Beringer. I have also had the pleasure of studying with Dr. Jeff Haller, and graduated from Dr. Haller’s first IOPS Academy Graduate Training in May 2017.
At some point during my Feldenkrais® training I realized that the process of changing movement patterns was fundamentally tied to changing behavioral patterns. As Moshe Feldenkrais understood, they are one and the same. I personally experienced the enormous benefits of EFT and received my EFT Certification in 2020. I have also taken additional EFT courses The Art of Delivery, Tapping out of Trauma 1.0, Tapping out of Trauma 2.0, and a foundational course in Meta Health. Additionally, I completed my Matrix Reimprinting training in September 2023 and am now a Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner as of November 2023!
I continue to explore the intersections of the experiences that guide my work, and I am inspired by the potential we all have for learning, changing, and supporting the path toward health.
And, I’d love to hear from you to learn how I can support you
in your journey towards health!
Please reach out if you have questions or would like to set up a No-Cost Initial Conversation.
“Working with Fritha is a profound and enjoyable experience. As a teacher and practitioner, she has a deep respect for each person’s learning process as well as continual engagement in learning herself. She brings years of expertise in working with the body as well as a fresh perspective to each lesson. She is able to assess and address issues on both subtle and full-body levels simultaneously so that all aspects of one’s being are integrated through moving. Her sensitivity, attention to detail, clarity, and focus help me as a student and client reach exactly what Feldenkrais work has the potential to unlock—a greater sense of ease and awareness through movement.”
– Candice Salyers
“Fritha introduced me to EFT in a unique atmosphere of empathy and professionalism. In her work, Fritha gracefully walks the fine line between making me feel taken seriously without creating any ‘heaviness’. On the contrary, Fritha’s EFT work suggests curiosity, self-respect and self-knowledge as viable strategies to sustainably process and heal challenges. I deeply trust Fritha’s expertise and although the EFT work with her addresses ‘road-blocks’ in my life, I am always looking forward to working with her and am left feeling ready for growth, empowered and joyful after our sessions.”
– Ninette Rothmüller
“I have been in my body doing body work my entire life. I have worked with some of the greatest dancers and some of the greatest teachers, anywhere. And, I’m 84 years old and finally, with your work, I‘m really inside my body. Would I recommend this to anybody? Yes! I would recommend you to anybody for anything. Because all of us need to slow down, take a breath, be inside and aware of our own bodies. You are a kind and generous person, and this comes across in your teaching. So, I thank you profusely for what you’re doing and what you’re giving to your classes. You go on my list of wonderful teachers.”
– Lynn Kingston