FREEDOM TO ACT

January 5-7 , 2018 New York City

Developed by: Belinda Mello and Ann Rodiger

Located at midtown studios in NYC

 

Join us for workshops, presentations, lively discussions and brunch

The Actor’s Self and Personal Journey

Become a part of our growing AT and Acting community of artists and teachers for the quality of your personal and professional daily life.

Self-Care, Self Knowledge and Living Well

This theme includes preventing injury, working through vocal and movement problems, managing character requirements on stage, and recovering from the mental, emotional and physical demands of performing. The Alexander Technique helps actors recognize their own strengths and habits and provides a pathway to embody growth and change.

Pre-Conference for AT Teachers and Trainees

We will explore how we teach the AT to enhance the actor’s work and training. We will dialogue about how we can best relate the two disciplines in order to be most effective.

 


 

 

 

 


workshop archive

Freedom to Act
 

 

 

January 10-12, 2014

Pearl Studios

500 8th Ave. 4th floor

New York City

Contact: info@balanceartscenter.com

Voicemail: 646-526-6515

www.balanceartscenter.com

REGISTER HERE

Discovering new ways to make your acting come alive requires skill and awareness. The Alexander Technique provides a foundation for the growth of your acting technique. It offers insight into how you can expand the freedom and easy movement of your mind, body and emotions. It is an indispensable tool for the continued development and refinement of your craft.  With the expanded awareness brought about through the Alexander Technique, you are able to be present and creative in rehearsal and performance.

The variety of workshops and presentations offered at this conference reflect the vitality of the Alexander Technique in many aspects of acting on film and stage.

There will be special sessions for Theatre and Alexander Technique teachers, workshops for those who are new to the Technique, and an open showcase of works-in-progress. 

REGISTER HERE

Registration by December 15th: $230

Registration after December 15th: $255

Student (with current ID) registration by December 15th: $165

Student (with current ID) registration after December 15th: $185

Pay-by-session $45

Student Pay-by-session $30

Registration includes attendance at Friday night 

events, one workshop in each of the 6 sessions 

and the Informal Presentation and Closure

*Actor's Equity members are eligible to receive the student discount.

REGISTER HERE

Schedule:

(please see workshop descriptions and teacher biographies below)

FRIDAY - 1/10/14

6:00 pm:  Registration Opens

6:15-7:00 pm Introduction to the Alexander Technique with Bill Connington

7:00-8:30 pm Activities and Social

SATURDAY - 1/11/14

9:00-11:00 am:  SESSION 1   

A. Enlivening/Embodying the Production Process 

Meade Andrews

B. Poise and Flying:  Speech to Song, Voice and the Alexander Technique

Kathryn Armour

C. Trusting the Principles:  Introducing the Alexander Technique to Actors

Jed Diamond 

11:30 am - 1:15 pm: SESSION 2

A. The Breathing Costume

Jessica Wolf

B. Embodying the Character; Coaching Actors by Using the Alexander Technique      

Jean-Louis Rodrigue 

C. Suspension,  Support, and Breath, for Actors

Betsy Polatin 

1:15-2:15 pm  LUNCH

2:15-4:15 pm  SESSION 3

Experience the Alexander Technique in small group coaching sessions

Session Leaders:

A. Ariel Weiss

B. Clare Maxwell

C. Constance Clare

D. Diana Bradley

E. Sheila Bandyopadhyay

F. Alexander Technique as a Paradigm to Enhance Actors’ Choices on Stage

Gabriella Minnes Brandes

4:30-6:30 pm  SESSION 4

A. The Collaborative Teaching Experience in Production 

Teva Bjerken, Cynthia Reynolds and Stephen Fried

B. Floor Work for Warm-up and Cool-down

Ann Rodiger

C. Alexander Technique:  An Acting Approach

Sarah Barker

D. Presence

Cathy Madden

SUNDAY - 1/12/14

9:00-11:00 am  SESSION 5

A. Alexander Technique and Mask: Embodying and Releasing Strong Emotions.

Belinda Mello

B. Freeing The Natural Voice

Geordie MacMinn

C. Integrated Alexander Technique/Camera Acting

Cathy Madden

D. Collaborative Creation:  Alexander Technique and Devising Theatre

Susan Pfeffer

11:00 am-12:00 pm  BRUNCH

12:00 pm-2:00 pm  SESSION 6

A.  Speaking the Same Language: Actors, Alexander Teachers, and the Art of Not Knowing  [*This workshop is intended for recently certified Alexander Technique teachers (with up to 5 years of teaching experience) and for Alexander trainees in their second or third year of training.]

Carolyn Serota and Richard Feldman

B. Accepting the Ridiculous as Way to Be Fully Present: Theatrical Clown and the Alexander Technique

Jean E. Taylor

C. Physical Expression on Stage and Screen

Bill Connington

D. Learning how to learn:  Alexander Technique as a Framework for Learning Monologues and Developing Practice Regimes

Jennifer Mackerras

2:15-3:30 pm SESSION 7

Informal Presentation and Closure

REGISTER HERE.

*Schedule based on participant registration and is subject to change.  The final schedule will reflect registration.

Class Descriptions and Biographies 

Meade Andrews - Enlivening/Embodying the Production Process

This workshop will focus on a 3-tiered approach to coaching theatre productions via the AT: 1. Creating the ensemble; 2. specific explorations for the specific play; 3. individual work with character development. The whole group will participate with levels 1 and 2, and level 3 will focus on individual actors from a specific production.

Meade Andrews currently teaches AT, and Movement for the Actor, at Rider University and Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, NJ. Meade has taught in the graduate acting program at Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton), and continues to work at the Studio Theatre (Washington,DC). As a movement coach, she has brought the AT to 40 theatre productions in professional and educational venues.

Kathryn Armour - Poise and Flying: Speech to Song

Voice and the Alexander Technique

A brief presentation on voice anatomy will be followed by exploratory etudes for  better awareness of the structure and function of the vocal mechanism. We will practice bone resonant speech, free use of arms and the breath, and the effect of artistic intention. As a group we will move from speech into song, from poise into continuous airborne vibration.    

Kathryn Armour (M.A. University of Chicago), studied voice in Florence, Italy for 5 years, and then returned to study voice and acting in New York City.  She was a finalist in both the Metropolitan Opera and Pavarotti Competitions and has extensive performing experience in all genres from opera to cabaret.  She was on the voice faculty of New York University for 17 years, teaching in the CAP21 Music Theater Studio.   She also has a busy studio in midtown Manhattan, where she teaches voice (for classical and Broadway singers) together with the Alexander Technique. She holds intensive summer courses in Voice and Alexander Technique at Lake Como, in the Italian Alps, and in late summer she runs a VoiceCamp in New Hampshire.  See details of these study opportunities at www.KathrynArmour.com   Kathryn is currently the Voice and Alexander Technique teacher for the Broadway award-winning Fiasco Theater Company.  Their production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods for the McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ  (April-June  2013) won a rave review in the New York Times, and praise from Sondheim himself.    Kathryn was McCarter’s voice coach for the production. She was certified as an Alexander Technique teacher in 2003, and is a member of ATI. She has been a performer at the last 3 international Alexander Technique Congresses, and participated in the recent Dublin conference.  She has been a workshop presenter in voice and Alexander work at the October ATI convention in Canada, at Wheaton College (MA) Drama and Dance Dept., and  the University of Wisconsin Medical School Voice Clinic.  She will be on the faculty of the February 2014  Florida AT workshop with Meade Andrews and Martha Hansen Fertman.

Jed Diamond - Trusting the Principles: Introducing the Alexander Technique to Actors 

This workshop will be conducted essentially like a first class with an ensemble of actors.  Themes touched upon will be keeping it simple, fostering experience and inquiry, getting to hands on, letting the work speak for itself, and letting it unfold slowly.  Beginners to experienced practitioners are all welcome.

Jed Diamond is Head of the MFA in Acting program at The University of Tennessee / Clarence Brown Theatre, a three year conservatory, where he teaches acting and the Alexander Technique, and is a member of the Clarence Brown Theatre Company.  Under his leadership, the Alexander Technique is a core emphasis of the MFA training at UT.  Mr. Diamond has acted at Arena Stage, The Roundabout Theatre, The New York Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse Stage, Signature Theatre, with The Acting Company, and in many other venues.  He taught acting and the Alexander Technique in New York from 1997 to 2005, at the New York Shakespeare Festival, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, The Actors Center, Stella Adler Studio, Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, and privately.  He trained in the Alexander Technique at the Mathews School in New York, and completed a post-graduate term of study with Walter Carrington in London.

Jessica Wolf - The Breathing Costume

For the actor, there is nothing more immediate than the breath. In this workshop, we will use “The Breathing Costume” to inspire inventive and imaginative character interpretations. We will explore how our breath conveys emotion, supports the voice, and fuels physical movement. “The Breathing Costume” is an invaluable tool for actors hoping to deepen character transformation.

Jessica Wolf completed her training at the American Center for the Alexander Technique in NYC and was certified in 1977.  She has maintained a private practice for over three decades.  Jessica also trained as a Laban Movement Analyst in 1981. For over 35 years, she has been exploring and conducting research in respiratory function and breath.  In 1998, Jessica established the Alexander program at Yale School of Drama where she holds the position of assistant professor.  In 2002, Jessica became the founder and director of the first post-graduate training program for Alexander teachers in "The Art of Breathing". There are now over 60 teachers authorized to teach the work. Other faculty appointments include the Aspen Music Festival, The Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase, Circle in the Square Theater School, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College and the Verbier Music Festival. Jessica travels extensively giving workshops to performers and health care providers.

Jean-Louis Rodrigue - Embodying The Character: Coaching Actors by Using The Alexander Technique

If you did not have words, could you still tell the story? The workshop will focus on recognizing the power of movement and physicality in creating a character in theatre and film. Every gesture has enormous implications in telling the story and revealing the character. We will explore what are the elements that make an actor charismatic, emotionally authentic, and clearly expressive by:

-Developing kinesthetic awareness of your body

-Exploring the basic principles of the Alexander Technique as applied to character development

-Connecting to Breath Coordination and the voice to text

-Being in space and entering the world of the story

-Understanding how to bring ritual, myth and primal ancestors into your performance

-Using animal movement as a way to find the spine of the character and connecting to your emotions

This is a hands-on workshop, interactive experience with practical application. Active participants will be asked to have a monologue ready for practical application.

Jean-Louis Rodrigue is an internationally recognized acting coach and movement specialist in theater and film. Recently he has coached Matt Bomer to embody Felix, one of the leading characters in HBO’s movie of Larry Kramer’s Tony Award winning play “The Normal Heart” and Paul Dano as Brian Wilson in a new movie about the Beach Boys. Previously he coached Leonardo DiCaprio for his acclaimed performance in “J. EDGAR” and collaborated with director Ang Lee and screenwriter David Magee in the development of the tiger movement for the Academy Award–winning “LIFE OF PI.” 

Originally an actor, Jean-Louis trained with Herbert Berghof at the HB Studio and at the American Conservatory Theater. In 1980, he trained and was certified as an Alexander Technique teacher at American Center for the Alexander Technique in San Francisco . He founded and directed the Alexander program for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute 1983-1988 and the Verbier Festival and Academy in Switzerland 1999-2006. Since 1988 he has been an Associate Professor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and a Lecturer at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Betsy Politan - Suspension, Support, and Breath, for Actors

Many Alexander teachers have Actors coming for lessons. In addition to applying basic principles of direction, and inhibition, it is often helpful to address specific performance issues. The class will have demonstrations and also the participants in the class will have an opportunity to explore the ideas and principles presented. An actor wants to understand how to use support. I will present different approaches to finding the support from the ground that can provide a kind of solidity that allows freedom from habit. I will also present explorations to discover the suspension and expansion that allows an actor to fill the stage. We will look at how this combination of support and suspension can allow unrestricted breathing for full physical and vocal expression.

Betsy Polatin is a Master lecturer at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, where she pioneered a four year Acting/Alexander program for the acting conservatory. She is a graduate of two, three year AT certification courses, and has done extensive post graduate studies. Her background includes forty years of movement education and performance, as well as training in music, yoga, meditation, and the healing arts. Her work is greatly influenced by Carl Stough’s breathing coordination principles and Peter Levine's somatic experiencing theory. Please visit betsypolatin.com. Betsy's new book, The Actor's Secret, will be out in November. 

Experience the Alexander Technique in small group coaching sessions

Bring a monologue or activity of your choice so you can participate. These sessions are designed for participants to receive and observe practical Alexander Technique in the working sessions. All of the group leaders are very experienced in coaching acting through the Alexander Technique lens. You will be assigned to a group so we can keep the group sizes even.  If you have a special request please......

Ariel Weiss has maintained a private practice teaching in the Philadelphia area since 1988. She has worked with singers  for the Voice and Opera program at The Curtis Institute of Music since 1998, and with actors at the Brind School of Theater Arts at The University of the Arts since 2008. Active as  a dancer and choreographer for over 30 years, Ariel brings a wealth of movement training and performance experience to her teaching practice. She has a Masters degree in Movement and Dance from Wesleyan University, is a teaching member of Alexander Technique International and also trains teachers at The Philadelphia School for the Alexander Technique and the Biodynamic Structural Integration training. For more information: www.atphila.com.

Clare Maxwell, dancer/choreographer/educator, maintains a private Alexander Technique practice in NYC and is on the faculty at the William Esper Acting Studio and at Movement Research, an experimental dance organization. She trained at The American Center for the Alexander Technique in 2000 and certified with Jessica Wolf in The Art of Breathing in 2010. Clare danced with choreographers Ann Carlson, Amy Sue Rosen, John Jasperse, and many others, as well as making her own dance works over her 30 year career. She has a passion for integrating the AT principles with the creative processes related to live performance.

Constance Clare-Newman graduated from ATI-SF (Frank Ottiwell, Director) in 2001 and has been teaching full time since then. Constance currently teaches in the actor training program at Academy of Art University and has a private practice in Oakland, CA.

Sheila Bandyopadhyay is an AmSAT certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, actor, and theatrical movement specialist. Sheila is the interim Head of the Movement Department at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and spent the 2011-2012 academic year as Assistant Professor in Movement and Dance at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training in Sarasota, FL. Additional teaching with: Shakespeare & Company, NYU Gallatin, the Linklater Center, the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and Emerson College. Sheila completed her Alexander Technique Certification in 2008 under the direction of John Nicholls and Nanette Walsh at ATNYC, where she has subsequently served as an assistant faculty member. Recent acting credits include Romeo & Juliet (Nurse) and The Misanthrope (Dubois). She holds a Master's Degree in Movement and Physical Performance from NYU's Gallatin School and trained in physical theater with Dell'Arte International.

Diana Bradley, M.Ed., has been a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique since 1979. Her training includes a 13-year apprenticeship with Marjorie Barstow, an innovative first generation teacher, trained directly by F.M. Alexander. She has a 10-year background in modern dance and 16 years of training in Aikido, a Japanese martial art in which she holds a 3rd degree black belt. In various capacities Diana has taught performing artists at The Baltimore School for the Arts (11 years), University of Maryland, Catholic University, and Arena Stage. She is a faculty member at Studio Theatre's Conservatory Program, a 2-year professional actor training program located in Washington, DC. A founding member of Alexander Technique International (ATI), she has traveled to Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii presenting workshops. Diana is a teaching member of both AmSAT and ATI. She is a faculty member of the Barstow Institute and Chesapeake Bay Alexander Studies, an Alexander Technique teacher training program. Diana teaches at OSU's Annual Alexander Technique Winter Workshop.  She completed a two-year training in Gestalt Therapy at the Washington Center for Consciousness Studies. Diana teaches group classes and maintains a private practice in Takoma Park, MD.

Gabriella Minnes Brandes - Alexander Technique as a Paradigm to Enhance Actors’ Choices on Stage

In this session I will share the preliminary results of a study, funded by the American Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, that was designed to investigate how the application of Alexander Technique can help performers facilitate awareness, intention, interpretation and response to stimulus during performance.

We worked with four actors who had not had any previous Alexander Technique experience. Meeting six times over three weeks, we had the actors improvise, learn basic Alexander Technique principles and then apply them in “real-time” improvisation.

Our data (videos of the workshops, semi-structured group interviews, and journals that the actors kept throughout the project) are analyzed to examine how workshops in the Alexander Technique provide actors with language and tools for interacting with one another and expanding their collaborative expression.

Intended audience: Actors and directors, acting teachers, Alexander teachers who train actors

Gaby Minnes Brandes has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1988. She is the co-director of the Vancouver School of the Alexander Technique and teaches the Alexander Technique in the Theatre Department at Capilano University while maintaining a thriving private practice. She is the recent recipient of the AmSAT research grant for the project entitled: Enhancing actors’ interactions on stage using Alexander Technique.  She is also researching the connections between Alexander Technique and creativity in the performing arts.  Gaby holds a Ph.D. in education, informing both her practice and her research.  For more information, please see http://alexandertechniquecentre.ca

Teva Bjerken, Cynthia Reynolds and Stephen Fried - The Collaborative Teaching Experience in Production 

In this workshop Cynthia and Teva will offer a group warm-up to all participants which will introduce an AT sequence that was developed and practiced by the second year actors in their fourth semester of AT training.  The intention of this sequence was to build skills that offered support for integrating the AT in rehearsal and performance.  

They will be joined by director, Stephen Fried, and current MFA third year actors who worked on a production of Shakespeare's, "As You Like It" in their spring 2013 semester of training at the New School for Drama. Cynthia and Teva will work with Stephen and the actors "as if" we were a touring company and re-mounting selected scenes with an intention to further satisfy the director's vision.  

Finally, we will ask Stephen to speak of how it was to have us in rehearsals and how this affected his experience of directing, as well as the final production.  The actors will contribute from their experience of this process as well.

Teva Bjerken teaches the Alexander Technique to performers, bringing her career in dance to the art of performance.  She trained and was certified by the American Center for Alexander Technique (ACAT) in 1995. From 1995-2003 she was on the faculty of The Actor’s Studio MFA program and since then she has been on the faculty of the New School for Drama MFA program at the New School University along with Cynthia Reynolds. Teva recently joined the drama department at Fordham University and The Lee Strasberg Institute Theatre and Film, an NYU studio.  Teva is published in the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal by Routledge of the Taylor and Francis Group as a co-author with Belinda Mello. 

While she was dancing with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Cynthia Reynolds trained to be an Alexander Teacher at American Center for Alexander Technique (ACAT), graduating in 1987. She teaches actors at the New School for Drama, vocalists and instrumentalists at NYU Steinhardt in the Vocal Performance Program, and at Mannes College in the Extension Division, as well working with dancers, musicians and actors at the New School For Public Engagement. She is a senior teacher training future Alexander teachers at ACAT and she also teaches a weekly dance class at the 92nd Street Y.

Stephen Fried is a director based in New York City.  His work has been seen at theaters and training programs across the country.  He currently serves on the MFA directing faculty at the New School for Drama and is an adjunct instructor of acting at Marymount Manhattan College.  He holds a BA from Stanford University and an MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama.

Ann Rodiger - Floor Work for Warm-up and Cool-down

Learn how to use an active extended lie down as part of your warm up or as recuperation and cool down.  We will incorporate breathing, vocal production and simple movements to help you find your back, length and width. Bartenieff fundamentals will be incorporated as part of the movement vocabulary for the session.  We will end standing and walking to integrate your breath, sound and balance so you will be rejuvenated and energized for your next activity.

Ann Rodiger is the Founder and Director of the Balance Arts Center and Balance Arts Alexander Technique Teacher Training Course.  She has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1981.  Along with her private practice and training course in NYC, she has private practices in Berlin and Antwerp.  She is a co-director of the Body-Mind-Voice workshops held for opera singers in Berlin every summer. She has an MA in Dance and has done extensive work with Laban’s theories.

Sarah Barker - Alexander Technique: An Acting Approach

Sarah Barker will demonstrate how she works directly with actors’ challenges in developing extreme physical characterization. Drawing on 39 years of acting coaching for university and professional productions she will focus on using the AT as an acting approach to work closely with several actors as they explore and perform bold physical character choices.  Themes for the work include reducing excess effort in extreme physical and psychological choices, initiating actions with greater ease and economy, unifying voice and body with the imaginative action.  Participants may sign up ahead of time to work on a character monologue.

A nationally recognized leader in movement training and a respected actor trainer, Sarah Barker teaches at the University of South Carolina. Recognized for her innovative work teaching the Alexander Technique for actors she trains Alexander Technique teachers in Japan, Germany and North Carolina.  Sarah’s book, The Alexander Technique, (translated in five languages) and her new DVD, Moving with Ease (also in Japanese) are used in many theatre-training programs throughout the US.   

Cathy Madden - Presence 

This workshop explores how the Alexander Technique is an invaluable tool for the quality we call presence onstage.  We will actively explore this in performer to performer communication and performer(s) to audience communication.  When AT is an active tool, it turns out that presence is not so mysterious - clear coordination reveals and amplifies your intentions to communicate.

Cathy Madden - Integrated Alexander Technique/Camera Acting

An interactive workshop that will involve: reports  (and videos)  about how Madden uses the Alexander Technique to coach in the  University of Washington's Camera Acting class(,taught by Andrew Tsao); demonstrations of the processes; and  an opportunity for participants to explore some of the ideas (potentially using our cell phones to film ourselves.).

Cathy Madden is Principal Lecturer for the University of Washington’s School of Drama, and Director of the Alexander Technique Training and Performance Studio in Seattle.  She is an Associate Director for BodyChance in Japan, a former chair of Alexander Technique International, and teaches workshops for performers and Alexander Technique teachers in Australia, England, Germany, and Switzerland.  She is Theatrical Director Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders.  Her complete CV is available on her website  www.cathymadden.net

Belinda Mello - Alexander Technique & Mask: Embodying and Releasing Strong Emotions

Because the Alexander Technique assists us in being open and engaged in the moment, it as an invaluable tool for entering into, contending with, then releasing strong emotions. Playing with masks that evoke strong character choices, we will explore how we can use our primary coordination and breathing to access authentic emotions – and then to let them go. We will put AT to practical use in building the actors confidence and sense of safety while working with love, humor, fear and other emotions. Belinda’s teaching is also inspired by acting techniques from Action Theater, Rasaboxes and Margolis Method through an Alexander lens.

Belinda Mello, MFA directing, teaches the Alexander Technique for Actors at the Tom Todoroff Studio Conservatory, The Barrow Group and Brooklyn College/CUNY Theater Department where she has also taught Introductory Acting, Movement and Mask. She has been a guest artist for Ted Bardy Studio, Muhlenberg College, The Actor’s Movement Studio, and has worked on theater productions with The Women’s Project, Prospect Theater Company Dark Nights, and others. She has performed in the USA and Europe, and was both a director and actor in an Obie Award-winning production. Currently, she is working toward certification in the Margolis Method. Studying mask with Per Brahe inspired her explorations in mask building and performance. After an extended collaborative process with Teva Bjerken, they co-authored an article published in Theatre, Dance and Performance Journal, and subsequently began organizing Freedom to Act conference with Ann Rodiger. An Alexander Technique teacher since 1989, member of ATI, she teaches at the Alexander Residential Workshops in Spokane and Columbus with Dr. William Conable, her mentor. Belinda’s practice, AT Motion, is based in NYC and Brooklyn.

Geordie MacMinn - Freeing The Natural Voice

Each one of us has a voice that's capable of freely expressing the wide gamut of emotion and the most subtlest of thoughts. So often though, we don't experience this. When working on a piece of text, the emotions don't come, or they get trapped in the throat, or we "get in our head."  We find ourselves pushing, or we start listening to ourselves, trying to control how we sound. In this workshop, based on the voice work of Kristin Linklater, we will explore ways to restore the connection of our creative impulses to our voice - which is our birthright. The result is a voice that is transparent, a voice that reveals, rather than merely describes, the speaker's own unique inner world.

Geordie MacMinn is one of only a very small handful of people internationally who are double-certified in both Linklater Voice Work ('07) and The Alexander Technique (ATI-LA, '01). He has served on the faculty of the University of NC School of the Arts, School of Drama since 2003. He was the recipient of the 2013 UNC Board of Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Susan Pfeffer - Collaborative Creation: Alexander Technique and Devising Theatre

Alexander Technique and devising theatre provide actors with fresh, explorative territory in the creation of performance. Both processes are oral and physical traditions of working with impulses in the studio together with collaborators. Alexander Technique and devising theatre point to an array of artistic choices and the inseparable relationship between self and environment.

In our workshop, we will play with Alexander Technique as content and support for devising theatre. Combining these techniques will lead to the generation of short movement and sound scores that culminate in a delightful performance showing at the end of conference celebrations.

Susan Pfeffer is a theatre artist and Assistant Professor of Theatre at University of Nevada, Reno. She recently opened the Miami Performance International Festival with SMS Ensemble, a long-distance collaboration based out of Reno and Chicago. She is affiliated with Home Soil in Seoul, South Korea, where she devised and directed the first inception of her theatrical performance, I Am the Pilot in Command. The second inception was written, devised and directed at University of Nevada, Reno for the repertory. Susan has studied the performance generating techniques of Tectonic Theatre, Wendell Beavers, Simone Forti, Barbara Dilley and SITI Company, among others. She first learned of Alexander Technique from her late grandfather, William Rodier, and has studied with many AT teachers over the years. Susan graduated from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in 2002 and holds an M.F.A. in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.

Carolyn Serota and Richard Feldman - Speaking the Same Language: Actors, Alexander Teachers, and the Art of Not Knowing [*This workshop is intended for recently certified Alexander Technique teachers (with up to 5 years of teaching experience) and for Alexander trainees in their second or third year of training.]

Judith Leibowitz used to say "Actors and Alexander teachers speak the same language." In this workshop we will examine some of the most basic challenges facing both actors and Alexander teachers and the values they share. How do we as Alexander Technique teachers learn to embrace and embody the concepts of letting yourself not know, giving up the goal, being in the moment, and getting it wrong? And how do we begin to bring these values to the individual actor and to the acting community? Working experientially in both basic Alexander Technique activities and beginning acting exercises, we will explore together ways of working with actors that are both concrete and philosophical. Some Juilliard actors will be present to participate.

*Limited to 16 participants.

Carolyn. M. Serota has been teaching the Alexander Technique in the Drama Division of the Juilliard School since 1990 . After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she performed and taught dance before training as an Alexander teacher at ACAT under Judith Liebowitz and Barbara Kent. She was a member of the ACAT Teacher Training faculty 1989-92; The Chautauqua Conservatory Theater Faculty 1994-95; and

The Actors Center 1997-98. Since 1991, in addition to teaching, she has joined with many directors at Juilliard to explore the integration of the AT into the rehearsal process. She is married to director and acting teacher Richard Feldman, with whom she has an ongoing artistic collaboration. Carolyn also has a private practice in NYC. 

Richard Feldman is the Associate Director of the Drama Division at Juilliard where he has taught Improvisation, Text Analysis and Scene Study, and directed many, many projects and plays for 26 years. After receiving his undergraduate degree at Yale he studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He has taught and directed at the Chautauqua Conservatory Theater, the Actors Center, and for the past 9 years at NYU Graduate Acting. He has an ongoing artistic collaboration with his wife Carolyn Serota who teaches the Alexander Technique at Juilliard.

Jean E. Taylor - Accepting the Ridiculous as a Way to Be Fully Present: Theatrical Clown and the Alexander Technique

workshop:The workshop process is about bringing who you are, and what you already have, forward. It is an opportunity for participants to embrace, through openness and humor, their own unique ridiculousness. The acceptance of the less than perfect helps us bring our full humanity to the forefront and transforms our habits of restriction into skills of open expression. Theatrical clowning develops our capacity for playing in the moment and offers us new perspectives on ourselves as both teachers and performers.

Connections are made throughout the workshop between Theatrical Clown and the Alexander Technique, specifically recognition of habit, positive inhibition, and non-end-gaining.

Jean E. Taylor, teacher and performer, collaborates on the development of original plays, which have been featured at a variety of national and international venues. Her latest work, True Hazards of Childhood was presented at The Barrow Group Theatre in June 2013. True Hazards of Childhood is the third work in a trilogy including Wild Hair and Pants and Skirts. Jean is a teaching artist for Lincoln Center Institute and teaches theatrical clowning for The New School for Drama and The Barrow Group Theatre.  Jean studied clown and movement with Philippe Gaulier, Merry Conway, Ron Foreman, and David Shiner.

Bill Connington - Physical Expression on Stage and Screen: Using the Alexander Technique to Help Create Unforgettable Performances

Working actor and certified Alexander teacher Bill Connington will lead you through procedures he developed at the Actors Studio Drama School, and are included in his new book PHYSICAL EXPRESSION ON STAGE AND SCREEN (Bloomsbury), to be published in the spring of 2014. Learn how to use the mind-body-emotional connection to help create unforgettable performances.

Bill Connington is an award-winning actor and Alexander teacher. He is former Chairman of the Board of ACAT, co-author of THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE and author of PHYSICAL EXPRESSION ON STAGE AND SCREEN (Methuen Drama). He was on the faculty of The Juilliard School, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and the Actors Studio Drama School. He currently works with performers privately, in group classes, and in university workshops around the country.

Jennifer Mackerras - Learning How to Learn: Alexander Technique as a Framework For Learning Monologues and Developing Practice Regimes

Young actors come to classes with enthusiasm and a burning desire. They are learning monologues, taking classes, working hard to get into a full-time acting course and begin their careers. But passion alone cannot make a performance - there needs to be characterisation, embodiment, and craft.

In theatre as in music performance, in the pre-college entry world there is often a lack of teaching on analysis and practice. The young actor knows that line and character analysis is important. She knows that practice is important. But has anyone given her clear principles on how to do these things? Maybe not so much!

The Alexander Technique provides fantastic tools and frameworks to guide performers in how to learn and prepare their work. This presentation will show you how.

This presentation is inspired by my experience in teaching pre-college entry actors. I was employed to help ‘keep their bodies safe’ by teaching them how to move. Actually, my most valuable role within the teaching faculty is teaching our students how the principles of the Alexander Technique can help them structure not just their movement, but their character analysis and their rehearsal time too.

I will discuss:

• how Alexander’s work can help actors put their enthusiasm in perspective

• how Evolution of a Technique tells you everything you need to know about planning • how using Alexander’s principles on the text frees the performer physically

• why efficient preparation guards against performance anxiety

Jennifer Mackerras teaches Alexander Technique at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, working primarily with 16 - 20 year olds who are on the first steps towards a professional acting career.

Jennifer studied Theatre at the University of New England, Armidale (Australia), and went on to complete a PhD in Drama at the University of Bristol (UK). She worked as an Education Officer and freelancer in Theatre in Education before training to be an Alexander Technique teacher with the Interactive Teaching Method (ITM). She now teaches Alexander Technique privately in Bristol, and has run classes for Bristol City Council, Southampton NHS Trust, and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, as well as assisting on the current ITM teacher training course. She recently presented a workshop at the Alexander Technique and the Performing Arts Conference 2012, held at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne Australia. She also co-presented a workshop at the Dance and Somatic Practices Conference 2013, held at Coventry University, UK. She is about to publish a short eBook called Four Words to Conquer Stage Fright.

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS: January 10-12, 2014

Hello Friends of the Balance Arts Center!

We are excited to be making plans for Freedom to Act 2014, Acting and The Alexander Technique conference, which will take place over the weekend of January 10-12, 2014 in New York City. This year we are sending out a call

for proposals for workshops and presentations from Alexander Technique teachers and their collaborators who work specifically within theater and film. We feel this will allow us all to hear from more people in our international AT community – and we hope this includes you. 

The on-going theme of this conference is the Alexander Technique’s unique role in supporting the actor's craft in training, rehearsal and performance. Our goal for the 2014 conference will be to draw attention to how the AT is being used by performers, directors and coaches in theatrical and film productions.

The conference schedule will include a gathering for a showcase and discussion. Please let us know if you or your students would like to perform a monologue, short scene or excerpt from a performance in which AT has been an integral part of the process. 

Please submit your proposals by July 8th to: info@balanceartscenter.com or bmello@AlexTechMotion.com

We are eager to further the lively exchanges we witnessed these past two years. By creating an environment where people can share artistic discoveries and pedagogical approaches, we can support the growth of the Alexander Technique in the theater world!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Warm Regards,

Ann Rodiger and Belinda Mello

Please feel free to forward this to others who you think would be interested in presenting!

CONFERENCE ARCHIVE:

Freedom to ACT: 2013

The Conference on Acting and the Alexander Technique

January 11-13, 2013

Shetler Studios & Theatres

244 West 54th Street, Suite 1206

New York, NY, 10019

Developed by Teva Bjerken, Belinda Mello and Ann Rodiger.

Presented by AT Motion and the Balance Arts Center

Come join us for the Freedom to Act 2013:

The conference for students and professionals in Theater, Film and the Alexander Technique. 

Freedom to be physically, vocally and emotionally flexible is a must for actors. As they learn to access this freedom, they take the audience with them through a transformational experience; storytelling served by authenticity. 

The Alexander Technique is an indispensable tool for discovering freedom and flexibility. Performing artists worldwide value the foundational role that the Alexander Technique plays in art and in life. 

Young actors, as well as seasoned professionals, rely on the heightened consciousness and unhabituated expression they gain when the Alexander Technique is integrated into their artistic work. The variety of workshops and presentations offered at this conference reflect the vitality of the Alexander Technique in many aspects of acting and actor training. There will be special events for Theatre and Alexander Technique teachers, workshops for those who are new to the technique, and social gatherings. 

All the conference presenters have extensive experience teaching the Alexander Technique to actors, directing theater productions, or  coaching actors on film, many have had distinguished performance careers. Everyone who attends will be exploring the vital role that Alexander Technique plays in illuminating the acting process. 

Come join us to explore, experience and share!

Fees:

Full Professional Conference Fee: $225

Full Student Conference Fee: $160

Single workshop rates available at checkout.

Fees and sign up information here.

FRIDAY (at the Shelter Studios Penthouse)

6:00: Registration Opens

6:15-7:00 pm: Introduction to The Alexander Technique 

7:00-8:30 pm: Activities and Social  

SATURDAY 

9:00-11:00 am: SESSION 1

A. The Alexander Technique in Acting Class and At the Heart of Actor Training 

Jed Diamond 

B. The Alexander Technique as an Effective Means for Learning and Teaching Some Basic Acting Skills 

Kathleen Baum 

C. Connecting With Our Roots: Alexander Technique and Training the Speaking Voice 

Diane Gaary 

D. Limps and Tics and Humps–Oh My!: Extreme Character Physicalization 

Christine Stevens 

11:15-1:15 pm: SESSION 2 

A. How Do We Build a Strong Role for The Alexander Technique in an Acting Program? 

A Panel discussion moderated by Teva Bjerken 

B. The Show Must Go On! Managing Performance Anxiety with The Alexander Technique 

Ruth Rootberg 

C. Shakespeare and the Alexander Technique: The Relationship of Alexander Principles to Breath, Sound and Word and Suspected Influences of Textual Devices 

Greg Seel

D. Release Into Text: An Exploration of How We Can Use Direction and Awareness to Facilitate Our Connection to Text

Nina D'Abbracci

1:15-2:30 pm: LUNCH 

2:30-4:30 pm: SESSION 3

A. Psychophysical History: An Alexander Technique Approach to Creating Character 

Cathy Madden 

B. Effort, Risk, Momentum, Joy: Alexander Technique and Physical Training at Dell’Arte International 

Joe Krienke 

C. The Art of Breathing 

Jessica Wolf 

D.  Alexander Technique in Collaboration: Partner Dancing with Alexander Bodies 

Mona Stiles and Michael Raine

4:45-7:30 pm: SESSION 4

A.  Acting in Film and The Alexander Technique 

Jean-Louis Rodrigue 

B.  Shaping a Character Using The Alexander Technique: Playing with Inner and Outer Transformation (WORKSHOP FULL)

Carolyn Serota and Richard Feldman 

C.  Learning to Speak UP: Vocal Acoustics and The Alexander Technique (ends at 6:15 pm)

Kathryn Armour 

SUNDAY 

9:00-11:00 am: SESSION 5

A.  Sharing Curriculum: For Alexander Technique Teachers Working in a Theater Program 

Constance Clare-Newman and Clare Maxwell

B.  A Simple and Engaging Presence: Theatrical Clown and the Alexander Technique 

Jean E. Taylor 

C.  Preparing and Presenting a Monologue: An Alexander Approach (WORKSHOP FULL)

Meade Andrews 

10:30-12:00 pm: BRUNCH SOCIAL ($10 payable at Friday night registration)

12:15-2:15 pm: SESSION 6

A.  The Actor Who Sings 

Ann Rodiger 

B.  At the Actor’s Core: The Alexander Technique 

Belinda Mello 

C.  Alexander Technique: An Acting Approach 

Sarah Barker 

D.  Alexander Technique: Alert and Calm Readiness

Gabriella Minnes Brandes 

2:30-3:30 pm: CLOSING SESSION

Come share your experiences from the weekend and your ideas about bringing the AT further into the spotlight of Acting. Everyone is welcome! 

Sign up here.

*Schedule is based on participant registration and is subject to change. 

The final schedule will reflect registration. 

Requests for cancellations will be honored, less $50 per person processing fee, if cancellation is received in writing before January 5, 2013. No cancellations will be accepted over the phone.

F2A: 2013 Workshop Descriptions and Biographies

The Alexander Technique in Acting Class and at the Heart of Actor Training by Jed Diamond

Mr. Diamond will share his approach to teaching the Alexander Technique in acting classes and as a core practice for actors in training and throughout their lives. He will share vocabulary and examine the principles in play at introductory and more advanced levels. The workshop is conceived to foster discussion and exchange with participants.

Jed Diamond is Head of the MFA in Acting program at The University of Tennessee / Clarence Brown Theatre, a three year conservatory, where he teaches both acting and the Alexander Technique, and is a member of the Clarence Brown Theatre Company.  He has acted at Arena Stage, The Roundabout Theatre, The New York Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse Stage, Signature Theatre, with The Acting Company, and in many other venues.  He taught acting and the Alexander Technique in New York from 1997 to 2005, at the New York Shakespeare Festival, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, The Actors Center, Stella Adler Studio, Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, and privately.  He trained in the Alexander Technique at the Mathews School in New York, and completed a post-graduate term of study with Walter Carrington in London.

Shared Ground: The Alexander Technique as an Effective Means for Learning and Teaching Some Basic Acting Skills by Kathleen Baum

Skills that the Alexander Technique teaches are basic skills for an actor:  the ability to be attentive simultaneously to both inner and outer worlds; the ability to be present and to experience each acting moment as if for the first time; the ability to be open to questioning personal assumptions and perceived limitations.  We will explore these skills through discussion and work on simple physical exercises based on Meyerhold's Biomechanics.  

Kathleen Baum graduated from Alexander Technique of Syracuse (Kathryn Miranda, Director) in 2011.  She teaches in the Syracuse University Drama Department and at the National Theater Institute at Eugene O'Neill Theater Center with a specialization in movement-based approaches to theatre.  She has taught Meyerhold's Biomechanics at Syracuse, at the O'Neill, and as a guest at a broad range of venues across the U.S. and internationally.

Connecting with our Roots: Alexander Technique and Training the Speaking Voice by Diane Gaary 

F.M. Alexander was fascinated with the health and development of his speaking voice.  In this workshop we will explore how applying the principles of the Alexander Technique affects the speaking voice, and learn how vocal health, resonance, expressiveness, and power are natural by products of Good Use.  We will also examine the role of the Alexander Technique as it interfaces with various voice and speech training methods that are currently used in today’s actor training.

Diane Gaary is an Alexander Teacher, Voice and Speech Trainer, and Feldenkrais Practitioner™.  Diane is a teaching member of The American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT). She also holds teaching certification from Alexander Technique International (ATI), Feldenkrais Practitioner™ certification from The Feldenkrais Guild, and Speaking Voice and Movement Trainer certification from The Lessac Institute.  Diane has a B.A. in Theatre and English from Smith College and an MFA in Acting from the University of Virginia where she also studied graduate-level speech pathology for two years. She teaches at Temple University, Arcadia University, and Westminster Choir College, and maintains private studios in Philadelphia and New York City.

Limps and Tics and Humps... Oh My!: Extreme Character Physicalization by Christine Stevens

Limps, humps and spasms are only a few of the possible physical choices an actor may need to embody in the playing of a role.  But how do we create Laura Wingfield’s limp or sustain Richard III’s crooked spine without injuring ourselves?  How do we make it authentic so that it enhances and doesn’t distract from our performance?  We’ll explore how applying the principles of the AT can help the actor bring  truth to and prevent injury  from extreme physicalizations.

Christine Stevens teaches the AT with the Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA Program for Actors and Directors in Providence, RI and maintains a private practice in Amherst, MA.  

How Do We Develop a Strong Role for the Alexander Technique in a Program of Training for the Actor? Panel moderated by Teva Bjerken; This workshop will be a conversation with faculty from universities and conservatory programs, addressing some of the challenges that arise when building placement and support for the AT in programs with varying approaches to actor training. Panelists will include: Meade Andrews, Sara Barker, Jed Diamond, Richard Feldman, Cathy Madden, Jean-Louis Rodrigue, Carolyn Serota, Jessica Wolf and moderated by Teva Bjerken. We will share ideas that have created satisfying results in curriculum, offer support for building collaborative relationships with other faculty and address effective ways to bring the AT into productions. 

Teva Bjerken (developer) has been teaching the Alexander Technique as faculty of The Actor's Studio MFA Program and The New School for Drama since 1995.  She has taught workshops at the Red Bull Theater, Tom Todoroff Studio, The Actors Movement Center, and the Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater. A graduate of the American Center for the Alexander Technique, her teaching is informed by her own conservatory training as a dancer and career performing works in dance/theater (Bessie award-1990), post graduate AT studies in NY and London, and years of collaboration with Belinda Mello with whom she is published. 

The Show Must Go On!: Managing Performance Anxiety with the Alexander Technique by Ruth Rootberg; What are the many ways the Alexander Technique helps the actor manage performance anxiety? Participants will exchange, experiment, and yes—stand before the group—to explore what thoughts and procedures help manage uncomfortable anticipation of an upcoming event, whether it takes place in the future, on the day of performance, or in-the-moment of performance.

Ruth Rootberg, M.AmSAT (ATSNE, Missy Vineyard) is also a designated Linklater voice teacher and Laban Movement Analyst. Ruth has presented workshops at AmSAT AGM’s, the Voice Foundation, and with Christine Stevens at Freedom to Act, 2011. Ruth lives and teaches in Amherst, Massachusetts. Recent articles include “Reducing Music Performance Anxiety,” http://majoringinmusic.com/reducing-music-performance-anxiety/.

Shakespeare and the Alexander Technique: The Relationship of Alexander Principles to Breath, Sound and Word and Suspected Influences of Textual Devices by Greg Seel; A two hour workshop where participants will have the opportunity to explore Alexander with Classical monologues. We will hypothesize Alexander's influence from classical textual devices such as antithesis, rising iambic line and scansion and engage some physical processes to fuse use of self and use of text.

Greg Seel first studied the Alexander Technique with Walter Carrington and Mary Holland while in actor training at The Drama Studio. He was first Certified at ACAT in 1983 an later STAT Certified in 1988. He is currently teaches at Rutgers University MFA Acting Program, NYU BFA Program (Classical Studio & Meisner Studio) and The New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts. He has taught in conjunction with professional acting programs since 1986. Gately/Poole Acting Studio and The New Actor's Workshop. He has served on the faculties of Suny Purchase, Columbia University, and St John's University. He collaborated extensively with Ray Yeates of The Abby Theater, Dublin and  Ballymun. He was a founding member of The Riverside Shakespeare Co. and The Mint Theater Co. He teaches privately in Brooklyn with his wife Genevieve.

Find Your Full Expression: Speaking, Breathing and Moving by June Ekman; This workshop his about becoming more conscious of one's physical patterns and how they may be interfering with one's full expression of speaking, breathing and moving. The workshop includes work with rubber balls lying on the floor  to help deepen one's proprioceptive awareness.

Release Into Text by Nina D'Abbracci. An exploration of how we can use Direction and Awareness to facilitate our connection to text.  We will work with balls on the floor to help soften frozen tension, then explore Alexander Direction while we work on text.    

Nina D'Abbracci was a faculty member of The New Actors Workshop's  two year conservatory program for 16 years, and has taught at Columbia University in the MFA Theater Department, Ensemble Studio Theater, Michael Howard Studio, and NYU.  She is currently on the faculty of The Linklater Center for Voice and Language,  and has maintained a private practice on the Upper West Side since 1987.  Nina trained and performed as a  dancer and an actor, and integrates  her skills as an Alexander teacher within the context of the performing arts.  In addition, she is certified in Kinetic Awareness,  ( A.K.A.  "The Great Ball Work" ), which she also incorporates into her teaching.Nina is a teaching member of Alexander Technique International, and is a Certified Master Teacher of Kinetic Awareness.

Psychophysical History: An Alexander Technique Approach to Creating Character by Cathy Madden

If each of us has a lifetime that creates our psychophysical history, then the challenge for the actor is how to create that lifetime of experience for an imagined life in the temporally concentrated process of rehearsal. In much actor training, there is a dilemma about how to translate the idea of the character’s past into present time behavior on the stage.  All acting theorists value this transformation, many recognize a quality of coordination that enables it, but don’t have a process to offer that can consistently bring it to life. My premise is that the rehearsal process must be a condensed creation of the psychophysical history of the lives of the characters out of which the play must inevitably happen. By using the Alexander Technique in combination with rehearsal techniques that amplify the psychophysical response of the actor to the circumstances of the play, my actor/students and I have been developing highly effective rehearsal and performance tools.

Cathy Madden is a Principal Lecturer for the University of Washington School of Drama, Director of the Alexander Technique Training and Performance Studio in Seattle, Associate Director for BodyChance in Japan, Theatrical Director for Lucia Neare Theatrical Wonders ( recent winner of the Seattle Mayor's Arts Awards), has been a Congress Teacher for the International Congresses of the Alexander Technique, and is a frequent guest at training schools in Europe and Australia.  She is a Founder and Former Chair of Alexander Technique International which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012.  She has been teaching since 1980 and was a long time student of Marjorie Barstow.

Effort, Risk, Momentum, Joy Alexander Technique and Physical Training at Dell’Arte International by Joe Krienke; This workshop will look at the Alexander Technique as basis for athleticism. The class will begin moving through physical activities that include walking, running, skipping, quadrupedal gaits, flexibility, strength, endurance, and the movements of the spine.  The workshop will then focus on the structures and movements of the acrobatic balancing skills backbend, headstand, and handstand and will conclude with a survey of the basic tumbling skills forward roll, back shoulder roll, and cartwheel. No acrobatic experience is necessary to benefit from the workshop.

Joe Krienke is the Associate School Director at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, CA where he teaches Alexander Technique, Acrobatics, Movement Analysis, Daily Practice, Archery, and Clown. Between 2001-2006 he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Mask Acting and Clown in the MFA acting program at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He trained as an Alexander Technique teacher in Philadelphia with Martha Hansen-Fertmen.

The Art of Breathing by Jessica Wolf

Actors often speak of having an inspirational experience. This level of performance demands high energy and coordination. To achieve this the actor needs to learn how to use the breath as the fuel for the body and support for the voice. Applying the principles of “The Art of Breathing” we will explore the coordination and the efficiency of the respiratory system in relationship to vocal power, movement and character transformation.

Jessica Wolf, ACAT 1977, is an internationally recognized teacher of the Alexander Technique and maintains a private practice in NYC. Jessica joined the faculty of Yale School of Drama in 1998, and now holds the position of Assistant Professor.  In 2002, Jessica founded and directed the first post-graduate training program for Alexander teachers in "The Art of Breathing".  Faculty appointments include the Aspen Music Festival, The Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase, Circle in the Square Theater School, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College and the Verbier Music Festival.

Alexander Technique in Collaboration: Partner Dancing with Alexander Bodies by Mona Stiles and Michael Raine; Mona and Michael work together in Michael's dance classes at The NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program.  The use of Alexander thinking in any activity is logical to us as teachers.  When two teachers from different disciplines combine in a class, the experience is both richer and more demanding for both teacher and student.  In this situation it helps actors hear the physical conversation needed for the lead/follow aspect of partner dancing.  We hope to demonstrate this with our students.  We also look forward to having a discussion about growing this type of collaboration with all of its rewards as well as its challenges.

Mona Stiles worked as a professional actress for many years in regional theater as well as NYC.  During that time she studied the Alexander Technique  with Marj. Barstow, and Troup and Ann Matthews.  She eventually trained at The Matthews School, did post graduate work with Rivka Cohen, and completed the Jessica Wolf “Art of Breathing” workshop. Mona teaches in the New York University, Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program and maintains a private practice.

Acting In Film and The Alexander Technique by Jean-Louis Rodrigue

An actor's vision in film acting is lived emotionally and physically.  This kind of performance requires more than instinct- it needs interpretative intelligence and a mastery of physical, psychological, and emotional craft into performance.  Jean-Louis Rodrigue leads an intensive workshop to explore the skills and tools that are required for the extraordinary creation of characters and performances specifically geared for the camera.  

Jean-Louis Rodrigue collaborated with such film artists as acting coach Larry Moss, Leonardo DiCaprio, Forest Whitaker, Ang Lee, Juliette Binoche, Josh Brolin, Chris Pine, Hilary Swank, Helena Bonham Carter to name a few, gives Jean-Louis a unique point of view of applying the Alexander Technique to acting in film.

Shaping a Character Using The Alexander Technique: Playing with Inner and Outer Transformationsby Carolyn Serota and Richard Feldman

In transforming into a character, the actor travels a road of choice and change from self to other.  He or she must move from personal habit to balanced availability and finally to the embodiment of a character, an "other" with patterns of perception, impulse, behavior, and action different from one's own.  The Alexander Technique promotes poise in the body and poise in the imagination, the starting place for the journey to otherness.  How does this "otherness" happen?  Using the Alexander tools of awareness, conscious inhibition, and direction; simple acting exercises; elements of environment work; and exercises developed from Judith Leibowitz's early energy games, we will explore aspects of inner and outer transformation techniques and how they might inform and affect one another to create an imagined life.  Carolyn and Richard will share their collaborative way of working in process.

Carolyn. M. Serota has been teaching the Alexander Technique in the Drama Division of the Juilliard School since 1990 .  After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she performed and taught dance before training as an Alexander teacher at ACAT under Judith Liebowitz and Barbara Kent. She was a member of the ACAT Teacher Training faculty 1989-92; The Chatauqua Conservatory Theater Faculty 1994-95; and 

The Actors Center 1997-98. Since 1991, in addition to teaching, she has joined with many directors at Juilliard to explore the integration of the AT into the rehearsal process. She is married to director and acting teacher Richard Feldman, with whom she has an ongoing artistic collaboration. Carolyn also has a private practice in NYC.

Richard Feldman is the Associate Director of the Drama Division at Juilliard where he has taught Improvisation, Text Analysis and Scene Study, and directed many, many projects and plays for 25 years. After receiving his undergraduate degree at Yale he studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He has taught and directed at the Chatauqua Conservatory Thetaer, the Actors  Center, and for the past 8 years at NYU Graduate Acting. He has an ongoing artistic collaboration with his wife Carolyn Serota who teaches the Alexander Technique at Juilliard.

Learning to Speak UP:  Vocal Acoustics and the Alexander Technique by Kathryn Armour

A brief presentation on voice anatomy will be followed by exploratory etudes for improved structural awareness, and more resonant speech. In partner work we will integrate the voice back into the whole self. As a group we will move into song.

Kathryn Armour (M.A. University of Chicago), studied voice in Florence, Italy for 5 years, and then returned to study voice and acting in New York City. She was a finalist in both the Metropolitan Opera and Pavarotti Competitions and has extensive performing experience in all genres from opera to Broadway and cabaret. She has been on the voice faculty of New York University for 17 years, teaching in the CAP21 Music Theater Studio. She also has a studio in mid-town Manhattan, where she teaches voice together with the Alexander Technique. She holds an intensive summer course in Voice and Alexander Technique at Lake Como, in the Italian Alps, and in late summer she teaches a Voice Camp in New Hampshire. She is currently the Voice and Alexander Technique teacher for the Broadway award-winning Fiasco Theater Company, which will present Sondheim’s Into the Woods for the McCarter Theater (April 2013). Kathryn Armour was certified as an Alexander Technique teacher in 2003, and is a member of ATI. She has been a performer at the last 3 international Alexander Technique Congresses. This season she is teaching workshops for the University of Wisconsin Medical School Voice Clinic; the Susan Sinclair Alexander Technique Centre in Toronto, Canada (an AT teacher training school); and Wheaton College (MA) Drama and Dance Dept.  

Sharing Curriculum: for Alexander Technique Teachers Working in a Theater Program by Constance Clare-Newman and Clare Maxwell; Are you new to teaching groups in a theater program? What would you most like to know about how your colleagues teach their classes? If you’ve been teaching for years, what successes and discoveries would you most like to share with your colleagues? We will sample key moments from each other’s curriculi, discuss experiential activities that develop students’ Alexander understanding and practice, and explore pedagogical methods that resonate with AT principles.

Constance Clare-Newman certified at ATI-SF (Frank Ottiwell, Director) in 2001. She teaches at her Oakland, CA studio and has been teaching actors at Academy of Art University since 2005.

Clare Maxwell certified at ACAT in 2000 and in 2010 with Jessica Wolf in The Art of Breathing. She teaches at her studio in NYC and is on faculty at Movement Research and the William Esper Studio.

A Simple and Engaging Presence: Theatrical Clown and the Alexander Technique by Jean E. Taylor

The workshop process is about bringing who you are, and what you already have, forward. It is an opportunity for participants to embrace, through openness and humor, their own unique ridiculousness. Theatrical clowning can develop our capacity for playing in the moment and offer us new perspectives on ourselves as both teachers and performers. Connections are made throughout the workshop between Theatrical Clown and the Alexander Technique, specifically recognition of habit, positive inhibition, and non-end-gaining.

Jean E. Taylor, teacher and performer, collaborates on the development of original plays, which have been featured at a variety of national and international venues. Her latest work, Pants and Skirts, was presented at The Barrow Group Theatre in May 2012. Her current work, True Hazards of Childhood is scheduled for a workshop performance in December 2012. Jean is a teaching artist for Lincoln Center Institute and teaches theatrical clowning for The New School for Drama and The Barrow Group Theatre.  Jean studied with Philippe Gaulier, Ron Foreman, Merry Conway, and David Shiner.

Preparing and Presenting a Monologue: An Alexander Approach by Meade Andrews

This workshop will focus on bringing Alexander's process of observation and awareness/inhibition/direction to the preparation and performance of a monologue. First, as a whole group we will explore the relationship between AT and the acting process in preparation for presenting a monologue, focusing on: Stimulus/response, the "moment before",moment to moment playing, and breath/speech. Each person will receive a monologue to explore. Second, I will work with 3-4 actors in front of the group on a monologue they have prepared, using the material explored in the first hour in relation to each actor.

Meade Andrews currently teaches as guest artist in theatre at Rider University and Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, NJ. She also maintains a private practice in NJ, teaches in NYC and DC, and contributes to AT training courses in Houston, Philadelphia, North Carolina, and Toronto. Former director of the Dance Program at American University in DC, she continues to teach at the Studio Theatre, her professional base for 20 years. Meade travels nationally and internationally to teach the AT, and has served as movement coach for numerous theatrical productions.

The Actor Who Sings by Ann Rodiger

Alexander's fundamental principle "whispered ah" will be used as the basis for speaking and singing. We will work individually and in partners to discover a free and connected singing voice. Explorations of the head, neck, tongue and jaw will be integrated with the whole body as you vocalize. For the second-half of the workshop, we will move into a master class format with an accompanist. Participants are invited and encouraged to prepare something to sing. 

Ann Rodiger (producer) is the founder and director of the Balance Arts Center and the Balance Arts Center Teacher Training Course. She has been teaching the Alexander Technique and movement for over 30 years in academic and private settings. She is skilled in Labanotation, Laban Movement Analysis, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Yoga, meditation, and various dance techniques. She maintains private practices in New York City, Berlin and Antwerp. She is the creator and producer of the Freedom to Move, Freedom to Play and co-creator of the Freedom to Act conferences. She has recently published a book, "How To Sit: Your Body at Work".

At the Actor’s Core: the Alexander Technique by Belinda Mello

Every performing artist needs essential skills for setting inner conditions and directing the flow of energy. When you can engage with your “primary control”, or fundamental organization of head/spine/connective tissue at the core, you are able to establish the support you need for embodiment of character and expression of impulses. Your primary coordination opens up a pathway for transformation - we will explore this in a progressive sequence of movement, voice and emotional flexibility exercises, as well as directly into a kinesthetic approach to meeting a new piece of text. 

Belinda Mello, MFA (co-producer) teaches the Alexander Technique, Movement and Mask in the BFA program at Brooklyn College/CUNY and at Tom Todoroff Studio Conservatory. She is a guest artist at Ted Bardy Studio, Muhlenberg College, the Actor’s Movement Studio, Aching Dogs Theater Company, Jean Cocteau Rep and the Women’s Project. She has performed in the USA and Europe, and was both a director and actor in an Obie award-winning production. Currently, she is working toward Professor Certification in the Margolis Method and has recently published an article with Teva Bjerken. An Alexander teacher since 1989 and member of ATI, she teaches annually in Spokane with her mentor, Dr. William Conable. Belinda’s pracitce, AT Motion, is in NYC and Brooklyn.

Alexander Technique: An Acting Approach by Sarah Barker

Sarah Barker will demonstrate how she works directly with actors’ challenges in rehearsal. Drawing on 37 years of acting coaching for university and professional productions she will focus on using the AT as an acting approach, work closely with several actors as they rehearse a short scene or monologue.  Themes for the work include initiating actions with greater ease and economy, unifying voice and body with the imaginative action and including one’s acting partner in an expanded field of attention to strengthen connection.

A nationally recognized leader in movement training and a respected actor trainer, Sarah Barker teaches at the University of South Carolina. Recognized for her innovative work teaching the Alexander Technique for actors she trains Alexander Technique teachers in Japan and North Carolina.  Sarah’s book, The Alexander Technique, (translated in five languages) and her new DVD, Moving with Ease (also in Japanese) are used in many theatre-training programs throughout the US.

Alexander Technique: Alert and Calm Readiness by Gabriella Minnes Brandes

Participants will explore ways of applying the Alexander-Technique  (e.g., inhibition, direction, and primary control) working on character, finding an appropriate voice for a character, and connecting voice and movement.  Gaby will then share insights from analyzing videotapes and journals of acting students, as she reflects on the ways Alexander Technique enhances the art and craft of performing artists. Participants are invited to bring monologues to work on, and are also invited to share their experiences of applying the Alexander Technique in their work with performing artists.

Gaby Minnes Brandes, Ph.D. has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1988. She is the co-director of the Vancouver School of the Alexander Technique and teaches the Alexander Technique in the Theatre Department at Capilano University while maintaining a thriving private practice. She researches the connections between Alexander Technique and creativity in the performing arts.  Gaby holds a Ph.D. in education, informing both her practice and her research.  For more information, please see http://alexandertechniquecentre.ca

Freedom to ACT: 2012

The Conference on Acting and the Alexander Technique

January 13-15, 2012

Shetler Studios & Theatres

244 West 54th Street, suite 1206

New York, NY, 10019

This workshop is developed by Teva Bjerken, Belinda Mello and Ann Rodiger and is presented by the Balance Arts Center.

Come join us for the Freedom to Act: Acting and Alexander Technique Conference.

This conference is designed for actors, theater and film professionals as well as Alexander Technique teachers.

Explore how the Alexander Technique accelerates the actor’s process in training, rehearsal, and performance. Freedom to move and breathe is at the heart of this Technique and why so many actors and performers use it as a fundamental aspect of their work and life.

Discover how an actor’s ability to recognize choices of action increases when bringing the Alexander Technique into the acting process; the connection of thought, sensation and expression is revitalized.

Experience the foundational role that the Alexander Technique plays in breathing, voice, movement and transformation for the actor.

All the conference presenters have extensive experience teaching the Alexander Technique to actors in universities, conservatories, in theater productions, or in film –some are performing artists and many have had extensive performance experience.

The variety of workshops offered speaks to how fundamental and vital the principles of the Alexander Technique are today, in all aspects of preparation and performance in theater and film.

Come join us and share in the experience!