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Home > 7th Congress introduction > Programme > Programme Details > Synopses
Synopses of plenum lectures and workshops
The information appear in the following order:

Workshop number (if applicable)
Maximum number of participants (notice that the size of room will limit presentations marked 'unlimited')

Special guest lecture
Beyond Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
Numbers Limit: none
Like the Alexander Technique, NVC is simple to describe yet difficult to do. It involves changing the habits of a lifetime. Most of us have grown up thinking dualistically (right/wrong, good/bad, up/down, either/or, you/me, win/lose) and even when we intend to be non-judgmental, our habits of thinking and language seep into our communication creating a judgmental environment for those who learn from us and live with us. For example we unintentionally convey to our students that pulling down is 'bad' and so they 'try to go up', stiffen in the attempt and lose touch with their natural flow of aliveness. Many books on the Alexander Technique show 'right' and 'wrong' positions for sitting and standing. Although our hands may speak of acceptance and offer a non-judgmental invitation to let go of 'trying to get it right', it is not so to convey the subtlety of our work when using language. NVC came to me as a breath of fresh air in this tangled web of habitual language. It is, however, about far more than language. It is a reliable 'means whereby' to re-direct our attention, thinking and communication away from this dualistic consciousness and instead attune to an awareness of what is most alive in ourselves and others in each moment. Learning to observe what is going on without judgment or interpretation, to listen respectfully to emotions and human needs, and to look for actions that would fulfil these needs, is the core of the practice of NVC. Connecting there, where we are most alive, leads to a synergic and very human way of relating that develops mutual understanding, compassion, and a zest for life. The NVC process also resolves conflicts and offers a non-judgmental way to give feedback, whether criticism or appreciation. NVC is used worldwide by people from all walks of life, such as families, couples, therapists, sports trainers, peace activists and in prisons, schools, monasteries, businesses, refugee camps, conflict zones, theatre work and more.
Special guest lecture
BLOCH, Michael
F.M. Alexander: The Unwritten Biography
Numbers Limit: none
Michael Bloch will talk about the problems he encountered and adventures he experienced writing his biography of F.M., published by Little, Brown in June of this year.
Special guest lecture
Brain Basics of Touch and Direction
Numbers Limit: none
In this lecture I hope to give attendees a vision of the physiological actions in the brain during touch and direction in an Alexander lesson, and to shed light on why it works so well to guide a student in the use of motor habits. The system that carries touch information into, and throughout, the brain is quite simply organized at the spinal cord level for withdrawal reflexes. However, at higher levels of the brain, touch information quickly spreads out to motor control areas, polysensory areas involved in emotion processing, and enters a central, executive-like group of nuclei called the basal ganglia. There touch converges with information from all over the brain, provides feedback, and guides the next movement. Feedback is essential to movement, and recent studies have shown that touch normally stabilizes balance. What happens to the person whose touch and muscle sense are destroyed by a virus, for example? Clinical cases are good reminders of the importance of feedback. In addition, recent brain imaging studies show the neural activation that "direction" causes in the brain, and show why active direction can exert such a powerful effect.
Special guest lecture
COLE, Jonathan
Living without Proprioception; Means, Ends and Conscious Control of Movement
Numbers Limit: 200
Thirty years ago Ian Waterman, then aged 19, lost cutaneous touch and movement/position sensation from the neck down. Though left with normal motor nerves and normal pain and temperature sensation, he was completely unable to move since his nervous system had no peripheral feedback. Slowly, over years, he re-learnt to move using visual supervision and intense mental attention on all aspects of movement, from posture to walking and gesture. He now had to focus on the means of movements as well as their goals and, in doing so, has explored the limits of conscious control of our bodies in a unique way. Analysis of his experience allows insights into the importance, at a neurological level, of proprioception for movement but also, at a personal level, of controlled movement for embodiment and self-expression.
Special guest lecture
HYLAND, Michael
Contact: Beyond the Psychophysical
Conventional physiological psychology suggests that the brain is clever and the body is stupid. However, there is evidence that the whole body, and not just the brain, acts as a single, integrated, intelligent, parallel processing, network system. If the body is an intelligent system, then, like all intelligent systems, the body can produce incorrect solutions to problems. Chronic diseases are chronic because the body has produced an incorrect solution to problems posed by a combination of lifestyle and genetics. Chronic diseases are cured by 'teaching' the intelligent body alternative solutions, and by 'nudging' it back into a state of health. This process of 'nudging' can be done in several ways including lifestyle changes, such as those used in the Alexander technique. However, it also seems that therapists are therapeutic irrespective of their therapy, and it has been recently suggested that good therapists exploit a quantum-related mechanism, that of entanglement, in creating a healing effect.
Special guest lecture
The Pursuit of Perfection
Numbers Limit: none
Our whole culture seems obsessed with the pursuit of perfection, most often expressed as a compulsive drive to eradicate error. Seductive though this apparently honourable aspiration may be, where does it lead? Is such an abstract 'absolute' aim ever truly achievable? And what price do we pay in pursuit of it? Whilst as a musician I can easily empathise with this elusive 'ideal' - a lifetime of musical exploration and performance leads me to a quite different appreciation of the creative process. In this illustrated talk I will show through playing and music, the brain sciences and the laws of sound that the most intense musical experiences must embrace uncertainty and reactive imbalance. Furthermore, that it is only by way of these inherent 'flaws' and discrepancies that we can experience our most rewarding emotional musical insights.
The Singing Voice - Comparative Listening and Vocal Direction
Numbers Limit: none
In this lecture I will compare a large number of vocal performances, many historical and some modern singers (mostly in the classical area of music, but not only). I will explore how, for better or for worse, the use of the self affects the sound of a voice. Also the lecture will touch upon those qualities of voice and mind - the "sound" if you will - of efficient use. We will hear the faults of emission and other common faults (nasal, guttural, breathy, unsteady, shrill), and explore the underlying causes. We will also explore "registers" and how they work. I will also show a video and ask for volunteers to try out some of these forms of use.
BATSON, Glenna
Graviceptors in the Spine: Research Support for the Use of Light Touch in the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: 50
Light, non-endgaining touch has been a hallmark of Alexander Technique teaching. Recent research has shown that light touch stimulates the "graviceptors" of the spine for improved balance and support. In this lecture, the neurophysiology of these graviceptors and their significance in postural support and balance is presented. Highlights from current research include studies on postural development in children and balance strategies in the elderly and persons recovering from a stroke.
So, What Is The Alexander Technique, Anyway?
Numbers Limit: none
What is the Alexander Technique and why does it work? How does it relate to current scientific understanding? The scope of the Technique is so enormously broad that it evades description in scientific terms, especially from within any singular scientific field. Despite its breadth, the Technique is also something very specific, and likely has a definite physiological basis. Understanding this basis potentially has numerous benefits for the technique. The aim of this talk is to relate an evolving comprehensive theory of what the Technique is and why it works. I believe the AT relates to the interrelationships between a number of different brain systems such as executive attention, pre-motor systems, procedural memory, tonogenic systems, and internal representations. This talk will first describe these systems and their interactions using simple examples to create an overall framework, and then discuss principles of the technique, such as inhibition, direction, faulty sensory appreciation, and primary control, as well as observations from lessons, in terms of this framework. Furthermore, I hope to convey that there is a large existing scientific knowledge base relevant to the Technique and show how this can enrich our understanding of it and help define its relationship to other fields.
COHEN, Jano Lynn
New Adventures on the Wooden Saddle Horse
Numbers Limit: none
This workshop will demonstrate the use of hands-on AT work with people who are sitting on a wooden saddle horse and exploring various movements. These movements are fun for people to do and seem to help free the primary control, increase freedom in hip joints, increase leg length, and improve balance on sit bones and pelvic floor. After this work, riders can more easily find their seat on a real horse and direct the horse to turn. Other students find that their walking is freer and better coordinated and their experience of ground is increased. After an extensive demonstration with one person, participants will be invited to either receive instruction on the horse, use their hands to guide others, or observe.
COHEN-Nehemia, M.
The Role of the Mitzvah Mechanism in the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: none
This lecture demonstration deals with the essential goal of the Alexander Technique, non-interference with the primary control, as manifest in natural body function. It has become clear to us, through over forty years of research, that this is intimately linked with a natural rippling dynamical motion of the spine that is activated by the motion of the pelvis in walking, moving, etc. We have called this the Mitzvah Mechanism. It has been scientifically validated in studies conducted at the Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, and has been taught to first, second and third year students of the Medical School at two major Universities. This perspective, which will be explained and demonstrated in this lecture, operates entirely within the philosophy of the Alexander Technique, and provides the Alexander Technique teacher with additional insight and new tools for achieving the goals of F.M. Alexander.
In Thought and Action: Outlines of a New Field
Numbers Limit: none
In recent decades, the Alexander Technique has become widely accepted as an effective means of gaining increased awareness and improved functioning. But Alexander's work represents much more than an effective technique for improving health. Alexander made a series of fundamental and groundbreaking discoveries about human behavior. In the process, he uncovered the need for a radical new approach to teaching and learning, deepened our understanding of human functioning and health based on fundamental physiological discoveries, and opened up new potentialities for learning and the control of behavior. In his series of three talks, Ted Dimon will examine five fields to which Alexander made significant contributions, including movement, skill, health, child education, and the awareness of behavior.
The three "Ups" or When you Say "Up" What do you Mean?
Numbers Limit: 20
The three "Ups" or When you Say "Up" What do you Mean?
"Forward, up and up", I said as I worked with an other AT teacher. He asked why I used the word "up" twice, making me pause for thought. I realized how essential the concept of "upwards" was in my work as a teacher. Yet much contemplation and discussion was needed to clarify and crystallize my ideas. The most important thing in a teacher's work is the use of himself, including the use of his hands. He must differentiate between where he intends to direct them and where he wants to move them. While working as a teacher today, I direct myself and my guiding hands to the three "ups" to be explained and demonstrated in my lecture/workshop: 1) the "up" of the head - the head going forward and up in relation to the back, 2) the "up" of the back -what is meant by "let the back lengthen and widen", up along the spine, an elongation or flow along the spinal column, 3) the "up" of anti-gravity - which happens when the primary control works in harmony and co-ordination. I direct to these three "ups" simultaneously as in Alexander's famous phrase "all together, one after the other."
The Generous Voice
Numbers Limit: none
I was introduced to the work of Alfred A. Tomatis when Walter Carrington read from one of Tomatis's lectures to the students at Lansdowne Road. I was intrigued by the premise that we can only speak what we can hear, and that the primary function of the ears is not to hear but to receive the necessary stimulus for the brain required for efficient functioning. This initial fascination led me to professor Tomatis in Paris, to treatment at the London Centre, and finally to undertake training to become a consultant in the Tomatis method. I am particularly interested in the role of the voice as an indicator of stimulus for our well-being. This talk covers Tomatis's discoveries and some practical applications. I will also talk about the influence it has had on my Alexander voice work, especially in relation to encouraging students to use their voices confidently and with enjoyment, and to develop a generous voice.
MERRY, Sue and Kleinman, Judith
The Little School and Beyond
Numbers Limit: none
A lecture on the Little School including illustrations, photographs and extracts from the work that was done by the children. This part to be given by Sue Merry with any contributions from the floor warmly invited (bring your anecdotes). This will be followed by a round-up of what has happened since and where we are now, to be delivered by Judith Kleinman. Sue will then give a short presentation on Educare Small School where the Alexander Technique is integrated into the school day.
MILLS, David M.
Our Own Newton: A Methodology for a Personal Science
Numbers Limit: none
Frank Jones defined the Alexander Technique as "nothing more than the application of experimental method to problems of everyday behavior", and indeed portrayed Alexander as a sort of Galileo for a new kind of science. He also said that this new science had yet to see its Newton. Dr Mills argues that each of us must become our own Newton - our own personal scientist. The metaphor of the "personal scientist" was also central to the work of the American psychologist, George Kelly. Kelly's psychology of "personal constructs" is built around the idea that we are all personal scientists, making sense of the events of our lives by anticipating the ways in which they are similar and different from what has come before. Dr Mills has brought Alexander's work to the attention of personal construct psychologists in a series of papers and presentations and has been finding growing interest in its implications. In this lecture he completes the circle by presenting an "Alexandrian" account of the basics of Kelly's personal construct theory in order to show how it can provide fruitful insights to teachers of the Alexander Technique that can help us and our pupils to become more skilled personal scientists.
O'NEILL, Patricia
Thought Shepherding in Singing
Numbers Limit: none
Singers are their instruments and as such, seem to encounter the full onslaught of their own mental chatter when learning to practice their art. Singing with ease requires the shepherding of this chatter into useful directions for singing. This lecture will explore the adventures in mind tweaking by classical singer and teacher, Patricia O'Neill.
Welding Contradictory Forces into one Creative Whole: a surprising new discovery
Numbers Limit: none
F.M. Alexander's hand analysis, done at his request by Ms. Charlotte Wolfe, sheds light on his character, life's work and achievement from a unique perspective. If you "believe" in chiromancy, you'll be delighted. If you don't - come anyway... and face a challenge to your preconceived ideas. I will begin with an introduction and background to my finding, then read the text showing it on screen as transparencies. I will conclude with questions and discussion.
STERN, Judith and Brown, Lucy and Stallibrass, Chloe
The Alexander Technique and Movement Disorders - eg Parkinson's Disease
Numbers Limit: 50
Individuals with Parkinson's Disease benefit from taking Alexander Technique lessons. It is our premise that the voluntary motor system can modulate the involuntary motor system. Chloë Stallibrass will demonstrate how she works with people with Parkinson's and will review and summarize her published study which documents the value of Alexander lessons for students with PD. Lucy Brown will explain the basics of the pathology of Parkinson's. She will discuss the mechanism of touch and direction and why they are especially helpful in terms of brain anatomy and physiology. Judith will present a case study of Spastic Dystonia. I will report on the application of Alexander's principles with a student with this unusual movement disorder.
STERN, Judith and STERN, Jack
The Lumbosacral Spine - "What Goes Wrong"
Numbers Limit: none
This lecture will explore the anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of the lumbosacral spine. We will look at basic structure and design. We will explore the nature of the tissues, their ability to heal and the mechanisms of injury. We will then elaborate on why the Alexander Technique is so effective in restoring the lumbosacral spine to health. This will include some demonstration as well as physiological explanations. We will explore the nature of connective tissue and its response to awareness, inhibition and direction.
Performing the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: none
How Alexander understood, described and explained his discoveries and method emerged during a particular period in history. The world has changed greatly in the more than one hundred years since Alexander began developing his work and in the almost fifty years since his death. New conceptions and discoveries in philosophy, science, physiology, education and psychology have emerged, some of which give us new ways to understand and perhaps advance the Alexander Technique. This presentation will introduce a contemporary understanding and practice of performance. Though performance is typically thought of as the work of actors on a stage, it is an integral aspect of human creativity. All human beings have the capacity to perform. Within the fields of early childhood, education, psychotherapy and human development, scholars and practitioners are recognizing that the skills of performers are valuable in helping people of all ages become active in creating change in their physical, emotional and intellectual lives. This talk will explore how Alexander wrote and talked about his work and how this understanding of performance can be helpful in further developing the Alexander work, in particular as it relates to improving use and functioning.
WEISER, Wolfgang
Teaching the School Teacher - Presentation of a Project
Numbers Limit: none
I will present my project in Gotland (Sweden), an EU funded project for teachers (and pupils) in primary school. It involves work with some 30 headteachers, 100 teachers, 30 drama and music teachers, and of course a lot of children. It includes practical explanation of how to go about a project like this and an evaluation as well as an educational concept for Alexander work in schools. It describes my work in the education department on the island in the last 5 years from pupils to headmasters, involving an approach quite different from an Alexander Teacher's average one.
Conceptualization as an Essential Source of Habit Patterns in the Use of the Self
Numbers Limit: none
The first chapter of Use of the Self, can be viewed as an expression of Alexander's transition from dualistic thinking to holistic thinking. A central aspect of this transition is the realisation of the power of conceptualisation, and its effect on use. Whilst the notion of holism is acknowledged, the Technique continues to be conceptualised and presented as a form of 'body' work. In this lecture I shall present an analysis of the first chapter of Use of the Self, identifying three main areas of realisation made by Alexander: (1) how the relationship between the organisation of body parts in space affects functioning; (2) the effects of 'habit' on human functioning and sensory appreciation; and (3) how action is informed by conceptualisation. I suggest that we have given much attention to the first realisation, a little less to the second, and hardly any to the third. I further suggest that this disproportionate distribution of attention occurs because we exist in a cultural field dominated by the habit of dualistic thinking. Only through addressing this cultural habit can we fully embrace, in a total systemic way, the implications constellated by Alexander's realisations.
ZAHN, Rachel
Francisco Varela's Three Gestures of Becoming Aware : an exciting new direction in cognitive science and its relevance to the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: none
This participatory lecture is designed to respect the psychophysical difficulty often experienced while listening to theoretical discussions and to integrate our Alexander work into the listening process. This will be made simpler by the nature of our topic, the late Francisco Varela's insistence that laboratory cognitive science develop methods for validating the act of lived experience .The simple word experience, which we use so often, is the cutting edge divide in modern science In Varela's words: "To deprive our scientific examination of this phenomenal realm amounts to amputating human life of its most intimate domains," Determined to rigorously define the process of conscious experience, he developed a formula for becoming consciously aware: Suspension, Redirection, and Letting Go. Beyond clarifying this highly familiar methodology and its significance to our work, I will discuss the potential of including a course in our training programs or in post graduate seminars which would keep us abreast of the new developments in the field of consciousness studies. I invite discussion towards this end and hope that we can form a collaborative network to prepare for what I believe is a new research opportunity for the Alexander Technique.
Group Teaching: Preparing the Receptive Field
Numbers Limit: none
This experiential workshop, open to everyone, is especially designed to support new teachers choosing to work in a group setting. We will explore three movement etudes as "warm-ups" for individual awareness within a group class in the Alexander Technique: 1. Identifying and exploring three-dimensional movement and the three-dimensional spatial kinesphere. 2. Awakening the skeletal structure, and expanding the range of joint articulation in movement. 3. Identifying and engaging the three weight centers: the head, thorax, and pelvis. These selected explorations focus on creating the "receptive field", a condition of kinesthetic and cognitive alertness than can enhance the student's receptivity to the specific components of the Alexander Technique: observation, inhibition, and direction. The individual student is then ready to participate in a lively, responsive interaction with the hands-on work of the teacher. Because the group as a whole has experienced these etudes, curiosity is enhanced, interest is sustained, and learning is heightened as they observe each student receiving a lesson. Through these shared learning experiences, students and teacher are united in study as a community within the gestalt of the receptive field.
How to Stop Breathing and Live
Numbers Limit: 16
Many of us are unaware of our underlying breathing patterns and as AT students we are often concerned with new directions to promote better use of ourselves in breathing. The purpose of this workshop is to inhibit all interference of the breathing mechanism to see if we can find the basal breath rhythm. We stop breathing - we are breathed. Can we inhibit and wait until the body asks for the next breath and do nothing to prevent it? Gravity can be the motor which provides the energy for breath, the in-breath can be a total relaxation: completely relax the abdomen and the breath rises up. When the coccyx is straight, spirit goes to the head top and is manifest through the fingers.
Argentine Tango
Numbers Limit: 24
An introduction to the basic rhythms and figures of this sophisticated dance. Set the Technique to music and this is what you get - an exploration of poise, intention, stillness and movement. Contact the heart and soul of the technique and share it with another. An embrace that you can dance.
Emotional Intelligence and its relationship to the Principles of the Alexander Technique: do your emotions help or hinder your Alexander progress?
Numbers Limit: 25
As psycho-physical unities, we cannot escape from our emotions. They are an inherent part of all our experiences from moment to moment. In his writings Alexander points out how powerfully our emotions can affect us (in a negative way). Many, if not most, of us will have encountered times when our emotional response has caused us (and others around us) difficulties. There are ways of applying some of Alexander's key principles so that we can have rich emotional experiences without being subject to what some call "the tyranny of the emotions". The workshop is an introduction to exploring these possibilities and includes elements of: 1. Alexander's main references to emotions and their effects. 2. An overview of "emotional intelligence" and the chemistry of emotions. 3.Identification of relevant / helpful principles. 4.Simple techniques for managing emotions constructively. 5.Creating the appropriate internal and external support for dealing with emotional experiences. In a gentle way, the workshop will be experiential, not just theoretical. There will be some presentation of ideas and information, some work in pairs and some demonstration of the principles being applied. Individuals will leave with a clearer understanding of what is required to have emotional freedom.
Self-enquiry, Modelling and "The Use of the Self".
Numbers Limit: 20
It has been said that Alexander wrote "Evolution of a Technique" as a guide for students on the first training course. He expected them to go through a similar process of self-enquiry and discover and apply the same principles. He is reported to have been very disappointed when they did not do this and just wanted to be shown the right way of doing things. Whether or not this is true, what many people find inspiring about Alexander is the process of discovery he went through on his own. He started looking for solutions to his voice problems and ended up "in an entirely new field of exploration and one that promised more than any I had yet heard of". What Alexander did was to "model" his own behaviour (physical and mental) and subsequently that of his pupils. His books contain the models he evolved of managing human reaction. If we are going to truly progress, we each need to have a model of modelling and develop it in association with our colleagues. This workshop will identify and explore the models we already use in our self-exploration and our teaching and discover how we could refine and evolve them.
Teaching the Alexander Technique in the 21st Century - A Century of Transition
Numbers Limit: 30
With technological changes, we no longer use our body instinctively and so suffer from all sorts of ailments. To counteract a lack of physical activity, we start working out obsessively, competing against ourselves or pumped-up role models from TV. However, workouts don't teach our bodies to function properly. We need to face ourselves, body and mind, without outside distractions. The holistic approach of the Alexander Technique achieves just that. It helps us be centred physically, mentally and spiritually, raising awareness inside and outside ourselves, increasing concentration. In a world of multiple stimuli, appropriate focus allows immediate response, empowering us rather than turning us into automatons. Contrary to the techniques afforded by alternative medicine and/or Eastern practices, the Alexander Technique gives Western patients easier tools to grasp, with its concern with evolving and adapting to changes. The Alexander Technique has stood the test of time. This workshop combines both theoretical information and direct experience. Each theoretical aspect will be illustrated and put into practice so that participants gain an insight into the advantages of this work. The participants will easily grasp how each activity benefits their own work with the Alexander Technique.
BATSON, Glenna
Numbers Limit: 20
Facial expression is a primitive and powerful "language" of communication rarely addressed in an Alexander Technique lesson. In this workshop, participants will explore how their own subtle - and not so subtle - shifts in facial muscle use influence the use of the self. From personal explorations, teachers will share lessons, incorporating facial behavior into typical lesson formats.
Themes and Variations - How We Learn to Love HOBC, Monkey, etc.
Numbers Limit: 30
This will be a practical workshop, exploring FMA’s basic ‘procedures’ such as ‘position of mechanical advantage’ (monkey position), hands on the back of a chair, uses of the wall and the lunge. We will explore the use of these activities in everyday life as well as in our teaching. We will look at how these activities have evolved and changed over the years - are they still valid and might FM recognise them today?
Using Ourselves in Water
Numbers Limit: 6
This will be a purely practical workshop exploring breathing, buoyancy, propulsion and play in the water. We will work both individually and in pairs. It will take place in a well-heated (35 degrees C.) shallow pool and is suitable for anyone. This workshop will involve a 30-minute journey. Bring swimwear, towels, and goggles.
Transforming Judgment into Connection
Numbers Limit: 50
This workshop will offer opportunities to apply the Nonviolent Communication Process (NVC), that Bridget will be talking about in her talk 'Beyond Right and Wrong', to situations from your life and work. Find out how judgment disconnects people from themselves and from others, and how to translate judgments into a language that builds connection. Explore the subtlety and power of NVC to awaken aliveness and presence. Learn about focusing attention in ways that deepen understanding and compassion.
BEN-OR, Nelly
The Use of the Self in Music Making - Especially Piano Playing
Numbers Limit: none
We learn, read and hear about "inhibition", "directions"( or "orders" ), "end gaining". How do we interpret and experience them? What are the practical - non theoretical - consequences of trying to apply these principles to specific situations, activities and professions? For well over 40 years, since my training with Patrick Macdonald, my work has been a search for clarifying and simplifying my teaching of the Technique, as well as attempting to integrate it into my work as a musician. In this workshop I would like to do some practical work of applying Alexander's teaching to music making and discuss any other questions relating to my experience of the Technique.
BRENNAN, Richard
Numbers Limit: 25
"My Technique is based on the inhibition of undesirable, unwanted responses to stimuli and hence it is primarily a technique for the development of the control of human reaction" (F.M. Alexander). Alexander was convinced that the ability to inhibit was fundamental to his Technique, yet sometimes it can be the principle that is easily forgotten during the busy lives that many people lead. Yet without inhibition there is no choice and without choice there is only habit. This workshop will explore the different interpretations of inhibition and will offer ideas on how to teach inhibition in a down-to-earth and straightforward way both during individual lessons as well as in groups. The famous concentration camp victim Viktor Frankl is quoted as saying: "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to chose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness". We will explore that space. Please bring your questions, ideas and a willingness to be surprised.
The Influence of Footwear on Movement and Poise
Numbers Limit: none
This experiential workshop will explain the different ways that everyday footwear can affect our natural gait and stance. Footwear with rigid soles, heels, narrow fittings, and cushioned soles are commonly associated with various misuses such as walking with limited plantar flexion, swayback during standing, and the foot making excessive impact with the ground. Participants will be able to test out the shoes that Tim has developed and produced, and the session will conclude with questions and answers.
The Feet and the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: none
This workshop examines the feet in detail and explores their connections to overall coordination and their relevance to the Alexander Technique. With anatomy, movement exercises and exploration we will investigate how the feet can be an integral part of an Alexander Technique lesson.
BROWN John and Murray, Ruth and Philps, Alan and Tollady, Beryl
Detached Observation
Numbers Limit: 16
This will be a completely practical workshop presented by four teachers from the Constructive Teaching Centre in London: Ruth Murray, Alan Philps, Beryl Tollady and John Brown. It will demonstrate how we encourage trainee teachers to approach each lesson as if it were a first by learning to approach themselves anew, moment by moment. In this way, a detached observation in working can be developed. Inhibition, prevention, direction, intention and conception are the means. This will be actively explored with the participants in simple standing prior to moving with mechanical advantage. It will be further developed in how and why we put our hands on pupils and how a creative dynamic can be stimulated by simplicity.
BRUCE, Lawrence
Speaking Shakespeare's Sonnets
Numbers Limit: 8
What cultural baggage do we carry when we recite great literature? Is there a desire to perform these works according to a set formula? Do we become someone else when we recite? Worse still, do we feel unworthy? With Alexander's own discoveries in mind, and freed from any need to arrive at a definitive interpretation, we will explore selected sonnets. We will see whether meaning can be released by taking a fresh approach. By slowing down the breathing and honouring the structure of each sonnet, we may arrive at that state of innocence or grace. We may even begin to breathe in rhythm with Will Shakespeare and come to know him intimately. This will be a practical workshop rather than an academic one.
Ee Aw, Eee Aw, I am "translated", or How to Act an Ass
Numbers Limit: none
Don’t try to be one. Inhibit pretensions of feelings; and by such non-doing, increase the unfixing from tongue root to ankles; that may allow a way of breathing; that may allow a way of thinking; of the self, of an audience, of an ass; that may allow an informing; that may allow a performing that maintains the self within a manner of use of the self not usually of the self, such as that of an ass (or getting from a chair in a new way) and, perhaps, a transforming. And, perhaps, by Alexander’s science and Shakespeare’s art, the midsummer night’s dream of Bottom the Weaver, that he was “translated” into an ass and beloved by a beautiful fairy enchantress may be made real. More or less; by more or less inhibiting pretensions of feelings of being an ass; more or less unfixing from tongue root to ankles; when whispering an Ee Ah; when whispering an Ee Aw; when voicing both; when walking while voicing both; as oneself, as an ass; when talking and walking as Bottom talking or walking as an ass.
CAVADIAS, Brigitte
We Can Believe Our Eyes
Numbers Limit: 20
A playful investigation of visual and optical illusions which are beneficial to our eyesight. A hands-on exploration of applying the Alexander principles to the way we use our visual system, while at the same time learning to allow these illusions to happen, to enjoy them and to consciously practise them to enhance and/or improve our vision.
CHANCE, Jeremy, and Rosa Luisa Rossi and Cathy Madden
Teaching Paradigms
Numbers Limit: none
The purpose of this workshop is to deepen our understanding of different teaching paradigms and how they developed historically throughout the world. We explore the meaning behind different ways of teaching in order to become inspired with new possibilities in using Alexander's discoveries for ourselves and others. As a first step we will aim to present examples of major prevailing teaching paradigms operating in the Alexander world today, as well as having fun inventing some of our own. We will do this with a mixture of personal reflection, directed activities, theatrical presentations and special hand-outs. We propose to stimulate, entertain and finally inspire you to devise new approaches in your own work.
CLARK, David
Up the Wall: a new look at floor work - cancelled
Basic Directions Revisited
Numbers Limit: 20
The core directions, these fundamental building blocks of energy flow, underpinning for good or ill all our times of rest and activity, will be explored through practical, individual experiences. Neck, head, back, knees, elbows, upper arms and finger directions will, through physical illustrations while sitting, lying prone and while on hands and knees, become more clarified and self-illuminating. These directions, this power of thought energize us rather like an electric current, but there can be blocks, leaks or cross-wiring. I have been establishing and revising concepts of these directions since my first lessons in 1965. I would like to share with you where I have got so far and how as a teacher I have become an electrician!
COHEN, Rivka
A Lesson in the A.T.
Numbers Limit: 35
The dialogue between teacher and student in a lesson should be based on the explanation of the five AT principles, emphasizing the concepts: 1) Recognition of force of habit. 2) Non-doing and inhibition. 3) Faulty sensory perception. 4) Giving directions. 5) The primary control. There will be practical work with participants and opportunity for questions and answers. Participants are advised to see Rika's video before this workshop. Everybody is invited.
Standing: Humpty Dumpty or Homo Alexandrensis?
Numbers Limit: none
With over 600 muscles standing can be uncomfortable, even painful for some people. How can we do it more freely, comfortably? Anna is interested in the parts and the sum of the parts and how these can affect balance and freedom. How does standing affect walking, especially funny walks?
COOPER, Stephen
Give Your Directions, Do Nothing and then See What Kind of Doing You are Doing
Numbers Limit: 6
What should be going on when you are working on yourself? What should a pupil be up to when a teacher is working with them and what should a teacher be up to when working with a pupil? The guidance to "give your directions, do nothing and then see what kind of nothing you are doing" is appropriate in all cases. The words are Marjory Barlow's, from her book "An Examined Life". She is talking about lying down work, which she says is "a very good opportunity just to give your orders - to inhibit and give orders and not do anything, and you haven't got the problem of your equilibrium" but I think she has clearly identified what we should be up to in all our work. Accept an invitation to do nothing and see what kind of nothing you are doing along with the workshop leader and the other members of the group.
DAY, Jeanne
Helpful Hints for Inexperienced Teachers
Numbers Limit: 8
This workshop is only for those who have been qualified for less than four years. Its purpose is to explore any problems which we all come across during the initial years of being a teacher. It will be conducted without a special structure so that participants are free to bring along for discussion those aspects of giving lessons about which they may feel uncertain or confused. The approach to giving a first lesson will be reviewed, as well as that of introducing the whispered ah, hands on the back of the chair, etc. to new pupils.
Body, Mind, Movement and Improvisation in Relation to Voice Work
Numbers Limit: none
This workshop offers you the opportunity to explore how movement, body-mind-voice approaches and improvisation can all be incorporated into voicework. Key themes of the workshop include:Singing with the whole voice. Explore improvisations designed to help you sing more freely, healthily and confidently, including how to: extend the range of your voice; free the larynx, tongue and jaw from tensions that interfere with vocal freedom; and experience the spaciousness of whole body breathing.Dancing Voices - Singing Bodies. Discover practical and imaginative ways movement can help us to free our voices, informed by the Alexander Technique.
Talking Hands
Numbers Limit: none
"My technique is based on inhibition, the inhibition of undesirable, unwanted responses to stimuli, and hence is primarily a technique of the development of the control of human reaction." F.M. Alexander.
Stopping the habitual (inhibition), non-doing and direction-sending are at the heart of Alexander's teaching. Stopping brings us into the present. Stopping and direction-sending allows change, spontaneity, and a 'freedom in thought and action'. Stopping and directing cultivates heightened sensory awareness. That helps us self-work, and affect our manner of reaction. The indirect nature of this work puts us on the path towards connectedness, emotional maturity, health and well-being. This 'hands-on' workshop will make reference to Alexander's books and will explore in practice: 1) Self-work - not just our 'use'. 2) The indirect nature of the Alexander work. 3) How to recognize when your pupil is not stopping and directing. 4) How to assist your pupil to 'get out of the way' yet be in control. 5) How hands-on work with clear direction (through the primary control) can assist non-doing. 6) How doing hands prevent 'it' from doing it. Participants will have the opportunity to exchange work, share knowledge and experience in teaching. There will be in-depth discussion and demonstration of 'hands-on' work in light of the workshop content.
Using Alexander's Discoveries and Directions as a Means to Come Into Our Own
Numbers Limit: 7
The workshop deals with practical application, the transition of the individual into activity and the process and interaction within the group. It will be based on: 1) recognizing habit as a force, 2) the structure of giving directions and 3) the freedom 'not to do'.
EASTEN, Penelope
What Did Miss Goldie Understand?
Numbers Limit: 8
The story told is that at the end of his life, Alexander said that no one had understood his work but Miss Goldie. She herself was fierce about her guardianship of this understanding. In this workshop I will attempt to convey my understanding of some of Miss Goldie's vast knowledge of this deeper, subtle level of the Technique. I will use games, procedures and hands-on to convey the differences, as the words she used are, largely, the same as those used by other teachers. We will then discuss experiences. For this workshop I will focus on a deeper level of inhibition, and the importance also of saying yes and allowing life to flow, use of the eyes, and keeping the mind in the brain, rather than wandering through the body to check sensations. All these are a means to making our own discoveries in the Technique so that we can "do as Alexander did", for as he said, "if you want to do what I do, you must do as I did".
EIN-SHAY, Yehezkel
The Alexander Technique as an Art and a Science
Numbers Limit: 25
Hezzi invites colleagues to share his experience in applying the Alexander Technique principles. Topics covered in this workshop will include: Head Understanding vs Heart Understanding, Equilibrium vs Balance, Stillness, Flow.
FARKAS, Alexander
Beyond Technique - Alexander's Hidden Aesthetic
Numbers Limit: none
The poise we derive from our practice of the Alexander Technique is more than merely physical. As our study permits us to extend an application of the Technique to artistic areas, how will it alter our practice and performance? In what qualitative ways will a dancer's movement or a musician's sound be enhanced? How can we be expressive and communicate emotions without engaging harmful stress or seeming too bland and passive? Becoming alive to the vibrancy of 'direction' proves a great asset in performance. It enables use which does not drain our energies and also permits our unique individuality, not our ego, to shine forth.
FEINDEL Janet Madelle
Bring your Back to the Party/Bring your Voice to your Teaching
Numbers Limit: 20
This workshop is designed to help Alexander teachers apply the principles of healthy, expressive and effective voice usage in their teaching with confidence and ease. Exercises will be introduced to help develop dynamic ways to communicate both in group and individual classes. The first part of the workshop will consist of ways to warm up the awareness of the back through movement and perception exercises, moving into simple voice work based on the work of Kristin Linklater, Richard Armstrong and Cicely Berry. Ways to integrate voice and the Alexander Technique will be explored. The workshop will include a creative writing component to help participants free and befriend their voices. Participants will create mock teaching situations and ways to communicate with more vitality using their full selves and voices.
Decoding Dancer Speech: Practical Language and Body Mapping for Dancers
Numbers Limit: 40
This participatory workshop will be of interest to dancers and those who teach dancers. Many dancers acquire habits of misuse based on vague or even false information given by well meaning dance instructors. Coupled with inaccurate self- image and a desire to push beyond reasonable limits, this approach often leads to injury and disappointment. Alexander teachers can help dancers sort out true movement principles from myth through clarifying language and Body Mapping. Body Mapping, developed by William Conable, refers to one's idea and experience of body structure, size and movement. Drawing from material in her new book, What Every Dancer Needs to Know About the Body, Robin Gilmore will present examples of common dance habits and the thinking which underlies these problematic traits. Participants will have a chance to experiment with language and imagery used by dancers. Typical mapping errors will be demonstrated as well as hands-on methods for solving these issues. It was a recurring dance-related injury which led Robin to study the Alexander Technique, and she shares the fruits of her own investigation into the application of Alexander principles to performing and teaching dance.
Eyesight, Vision and the Alexander Principles
Numbers Limit: none
You may be wearing glasses, contact lenses, have opted for lazer surgery or are on the brink of needing glasses! The physiology of myopia, presbyopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism, lack of fusion, glaucoma, cataracts, cross eyes or squints shows clearly defined patterns visually, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. These patterns relate to specific areas of the eye, body posture and body functions as well as the reptilian brain, limbic system (emotional brain) and the neo cortex. Based on Peter's original discoveries of the EyeBody Patterns he has recently found specific relationships to areas of the brain. Applying inhibition and visual directions to specific areas of the eye and the entire visual system helps to understand and 'undo' visual patterns which - most likely - affect the freedom of the brainstem with thalamus and hypothalamus and their respective pituitary and pineal glands. This workshop is practical in nature and supports your safety in letting go of glasses or contact lenses, increases clarity at various distances, improves perception of colour and depth and helps to apply AT's principles to seeing in activities such as reading, driving and - living. A follow-up retreat of 6 days will be held in Wales, 22-28 August 2004.
All Fingers and Thumbs: working with the hand and arm.
Numbers Limit: 20
This practical workshop will explore a way of working on the hands developed over many years of teaching. It has developed through working with musicians but is also of value for anyone interested in the use of the hands in daily activities. It also applies to arthritis sufferers and those recovering from injury to the upper limbs. It gives pupils the opportunity to become aware of subtle habitual patterns of use in the hand and allow them to dissolve, freeing the whole arm and shoulder. The first third of the workshop will be an introduction and demonstration. The rest will be devoted to working in pairs, giving both the opportunity to be worked on. Participants need to be able to work on the floor but if there are tables available they can be used.
F.M.'s Twinkle: Working With A Subtle Sense of Humour
Numbers Limit: 20
In every photograph one sees of F.M. Alexander there is a twinkle in his eyes. We know from his practice of the "whispered Ah" that a basic requirement is a sense of humour. It has long been known that it takes less energy to smile than it does to frown. With these three ideas as starting points, this workshop will explore how creating a "twinkle in the eyes" and maintaining a subtle sense of humour can enhance our whole way of being, from the way we balance the head on top of the neck to the way we react to new stimuli and how we are present from moment to moment. We will look at parallels between losing that "twinkle" in the eyes and pulling down and fixing; how it can play a central role in the functioning of the senses; its implications for locomotion and its role in the performing arts. The workshop will also look at how those ideas can be utilized at all stages of teaching and put them into practice with other participants. There will be a diagram and anatomical charts to illustrate the ideas underlying the work.
The Alexander Technique as a Tool in Wearing and Acting in Theatre Masks
Numbers Limit: 8
I will try to show how I have introduced putting on and acting with masks to trainee Alexander teachers and others over the years. We will develop the characters as much as possible in the time we have. I will try to assist you to understand the difference between the actor putting their ideas into the mask, and the actor receiving information from the mask and acting upon it. Of course, inhibition and direction is the practical tool here. It is a very step-by-step process, secure (not frightening, but sometimes thrilling) and often, I think, very delightful.
Where It All Began: The Use of the Breath and Voice
Numbers Limit: 30
Alexander teachers who are not singers, actors, or professional voice users are often hesitant about working with sound in an Alexander lesson - i.e. having the student "do her stuff" during a lesson - because of the mistaken notion that they personally don’t know enough about voice, or because they are shy about their own speaking or singing. In 1980, the late Chris Stevens was working hands-on as an Alexander teacher while I was giving a semi-professional singer a voice lesson. Chris didn’t need to know anything about singing itself in order to be very useful to both the student and me. All that is required of an Alexander teacher is to invite a student to sing an exercise or a song phrase, or to speak part of a scene while putting hands on. A participatory workshop, we will explore how the Alexander Technique can remove interfering habits that get in the way of healthy vocal function. Practical procedures will be drawn from my forthcoming book (published by Mornum Time Press) that integrates voice and Alexander work. Each participant will have the opportunity to play the role of the student making sound as well as that of the guiding Alexander teacher.
Alexander and Da Vinci: Bridging Function and Form
Numbers Limit: none
This workshop assists in defining and improving one's concept of moving through space. With the principles of the Alexander Technique as foundation we will be "drawing" the self through space with access to the fourth dimension. Time as a shape continuum evolves naturally when incorporating Da Vinci's "human figure". This highly recognizable drawing which illustrates proportions should not be taken literally. When we utilize Da Vinci's geometric forms by adding space and time, expansion of the self occurs. A deeper understanding of moving from the inside out is attained. If we have time we will look at movement elements for those who would like to explore principles of the Alexander Technique coupled with Da Vinci's human proportion of the cube/sphere. I would like the opportunity to deepen my understanding of these living forms with the minds of the group!
JONES, Martyn
Golfing with the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: 20
Alexander himself talked about golf in his books many years ago. Since then golf has become a sport played and followed by millions of people worldwide. Golf is a skilled activity and a very good subject for the application of the Alexander Technique. The principles of awareness, inhibition, and direction, can be taught very effectively having the stimulus of golf ball and club to keep the mind distracted from one's own use. The workshop will be of interest to teachers who have golfers as students, golfers, future golfers, and student teachers. The whole workshop will be interactive: a 15-min. presentation, practical group work (stimulus-response), individual hands-on, group swinging, group discussion.
KENT Barbara
The Uncommitted Hand: Knowing What you Want and What not to Do to Achieve It
Numbers Limit: 20
As human beings habituated to "doing", trusting the power of our thinking remains a lifelong journey. In our hands-on work the task is to be clear conceptually and kinesthetically about what our goal is and to continue to trust in the means-whereby. As teachers we meet the challenge daily, and there is always room for refining our skills in this delicate yet powerful process. This workshop is designed as an opportunity to work together on these issues with some structure and guidance. After some "hands-on-the-chair" type warm-ups, we'll have some fun playing with our subtle desire to "do". The objective is to get friendly with the unconscious, well-meaning "doer" who lives in all of us. Our "doer" parts seem much happier to integrate with our conscious intention when they are not hidden or judged.
KETTRICK, Catherine
Teaching without Touching
Numbers Limit: 15
If our goal is to encourage our pupils to become independent, the less we use our hands the better. But how can we convey the principles of the Technique without touch? Is it possible at all? When is touch most effective? In this workshop you will learn how to visually "know" what your pupil is doing, make decisions about the most effective point to intervene, and explore how you can teach without touching. The ability to teach without touch makes touch a much more powerful tool when you choose to use it.
KOMO, Sumi
The Alexander Technique and the Moving Arts: Yoga, T'ai Chi Chüan, and Dance
Numbers Limit: 20
This workshop focuses on the harmonious weaving of the Alexander Technique with the moving arts, yoga, t'ai chi chüan (long yang style), and dance. The elements of space, time, rhythm, and flow are shared by each of these moving arts. The Alexander Technique offers a subtle and profound entry into the deeper facets of yoga, T'ai Chi Chüan and Dance. The sensitive hands-on work of the Alexander Technique energizes and eases the body's posture within our yoga practices, including pranayama, meditation and voice production in Kirtan. The Alexander Technique can offer a way to uncover a clearer presence in one's own yoga practice as well as offer a harmonious and graceful way to encourage conscious awareness in all aspects of practice. Procedures in the Alexander Technique such as monkey and lunge are used in terms of how principles of direction, inhibition and primary control can be interwoven with work in T'ai Chi Chüan and Chi Quong. Dance is flowing into movement with grace, lightness and ease. We will move to different kinds of music, exploring texture, tone and timing as we dance with the fluidity, grace and ease offered by the Technique. Technical aspects of dance will be worked on as well as the creative areas of improvisation, choreography and performance.
LANGFORD, Elizabeth
The Ambush of Fear
Numbers Limit: 25
F.M. Alexander's writing quite often refers to "unduly excited fear reflexes" or "overstimulated fear reflexes" as responsible for problems he observed in his pupils. We shall explore the subject from three angles: 1) Etymological. The early roots of many fear-related words suggest insights into man's age-old awareness of physical manifestations of fear. Can this tell us something about our reactions today? 2) Medical/psychological. There exists a considerable research literature concerning fear and startle in various conditions. What does this yield of significance for Alexander teachers? Particularly with reference to FM's remarks on fear and breathing. 3) Postural effects, authentic and simulated. According to FM and others, actors should learn to suggest destructive emotion without suffering its effects. We can experiment - as far as possible while maintaining our directions! - with miming varieties and degrees of fear. This workshop is conceived as a follow-up to the chapter "Muscles and Fear" in my book Mind and Muscle. My interest in the subject continues to grow, for, as a colleague wrote to me recently, "...the fact that Alexander work is really dealing with our fear is a truth that is too rarely spoken ... Who in their heart of hearts is not interested in loosening the grip of fear on their lives?"
The AT - Pregnancy and Childbirth
Numbers Limit: 20
Alexander's discoveries and their relevance to pregnancy and childbirth. This will be an active workshop: practical as well as theoretical. I shall offer the following topics, leaving the choice to audience preference. 1) Teaching a woman to use herself during pregnancy, adjusting to the changes in her body. 2) Adapting AT work to needs at each of three trimesters of pregnancy. 3) Good use during pregnancy helps baby to assume optimal position for birth. 4) Understanding the process of labour: what happens during a contraction. 5) Importance of good use and conscious directions in preventing or alleviating dystocia. 6) Movements for all stages of labour. 7) Coping with labour pains.
MACKIE, Vivien
Working with Musicians
Numbers Limit: 70
This will be an eminently practical workshop, so I shall need a small proportion of participants who are willing to play or sing in a "masterclass" setting. "Standard" is not important. I hope all participants, i.e. those not performing, will have many questions to ask and observations to make as the class proceeds - this is the "meat" of these classes.
Variations of a Teacher's Art: Creativity in Using and Teaching the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: 40
In an intriguing footnote in "Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual," F.M. Alexander acknowledges that he cannot "give here all the detailed instructions that would meet every case, because these instructions naturally vary according to the tendencies and peculiarities of the particular pupil. An experienced teacher, however, should be able to supply these instructions in the practical application of the technique to meet the needs of the individual case. We must learn in this connection to differentiate between the variations of a teacher's art and the principles of the teaching technique which is being employed". Encouraging the development of these "variations" is a vital step in teacher training and development. In this workshop, we will explore how the Alexander Technique encourages us to respond creatively by applying its principles to creativity exercises. In small groups, we will use some teaching scenarios available in each moment of a lesson or a class. My aim is to provide the experience that A.R. Alexander alluded to when he said, "the hallmarks of the Alexander Technique are creativity, spontaneity, and adaptability to change".
Let Your Life Flow - Working with the Emotions
Numbers Limit: 20
This workshop (50% practical work) will address how to: acknowledge and process emotional issues that come up in the course of Alexander Technique lessons; work with the body memory of stress and trauma; listen in a non-judgmental manner; link the left and the right brain hemispheres for effective healing of wounds from the past; and deal with picking up negative energies from our pupils (working with the negative countertransference). Alexander’s basic philosophical view was that we are a psychophysical unity. His whole Technique is based on that insight, so that if we wish to work in a truly psychophysical manner it would be wise to explore physical tension patterns that are linked to stress and emotional problems. Indeed, it is the cognitive insight into these linkages that provides the real breakthroughs in the course of Alexander Technique lessons. Emotions cannot be repressed or ignored without the energy turning negative - risking damage to the psyche, physical disease or both. Unresolved emotional issues will be carried as muscular tension in the body until they have been processed. However, once an inner conflict has been brought into consciousness and resolved, the energy can then flow freely.
McCALLION, Michael
Voice and Good Use - cancelled
A Developmental Context for Voicework for Alexander Teachers
Numbers Limit: 20
A practical workshop in which participants are invited to lengthen and widen whilst going through a series of exercises which parallel the development of human infant sound, speech and language production. Starting with simple and exploratory vocal production, complexity is built out of simple elements. Communication, by signalling through sound, is introduced, then meaning, and possibly and optionally, self-expression. This series of simple procedures will be explored with Alexander 'hands-on' work by participants where appropriate. You don't have to have previous experience of working with voice to enjoy this workshop.
MacLELLAN, Diana
The Impact Of Language On Your Pupils
Numbers Limit: none
Have you ever thought you could improve the way you talk to pupils to achieve deeper levels of learning? How you express yourself is as important as how you listen. There are specific principles of using language with elegance and purpose that can greatly improve your communication. Like a bridge that allows you to cross from one shore to another, language used well can lead to enriched ways of describing and experiencing the world. You can learn to notice patterns of speech that interfere with the flow and generate stuck states. You can learn to speak in a way that creates a greater sense of space, freedom and joy. The power of well-chosen words can take your teaching from helpful and supportive, to inspiring and brilliant! Join me in exploring some verbal aspects of communication and come away with some insights to put into action immediately. In this workshop you can learn how: 1) To understand how language distorts, deletes and generalizes reality. 2) To identify the language patterns that keep people stuck. 3) To use language to help loosen stuck states. 4) To motivate people to maintain their progress. 5) To become more purposeful and fluent in your communication.
MERRY, Sue and KLEINMAN, Judith
A Workshop for Children of All Ages (Part I)
Numbers Limit: 40
Part I will mostly be led by Sue Merry. She will be allowing participants to experience some of the work she currently does with children at Educare Small School. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore and create their own ways of working with young children in the 3-12 years age group.
KLEINMAN, Judith and MERRY Sue
A Workshop for Children of All Ages (Part II)
Numbers Limit: 40
Part II will mostly be led by Judith Kleinman. This will be a workshop about working with older children. Judith works at the Royal Academy of Music in the junior department and with young adults at the Royal College of Music. She has also been teaching many young adults as part of her private practice. The workshop will describe this work and discuss attitudes and workshop ideas for working with young people. Judith will address the Alexander Technique as "a catalyst in the learning process".
MILLS, David M
Go To I Do Not Know Where And Bring Back I Do Not Know What
Numbers Limit: none
Every step outside the habitual is a step toward unknown destinations and every lesson is the living of a story. We will use an interactive retelling of this classic Russian folktale as a way into the story of our own adventures into the unknown. If we want to succeed, then we - like the hunter in the story - must have a means of organizing our search despite the elusiveness of our goal. Although set in the metaphorical world of the story, this workshop continues Dr. Mills' doctoral work using the Alexander Technique to explore the embodiment of personal meaning in action. Participants will produce their own practical demonstrations of his method of "conductive conversations", a means for embodying our own stories in a more fully articulated way. From our adventuring we will bring back unexpected treasures and along the way we may meet fascinating characters - ourselves. (See also the synopsis of Dr Mills' lecture, "Our Own Newton: A Methodology for a Personal Science").
MIZENKO, Jennifer
Shall We Dance? The connection between the lead/follow relationship in social ballroom dance and Alexander Technique principles.
Numbers Limit: 30
It is a common misconception that social ballroom dance requires a forceful and strong leader to be successful. A part of this misconception includes the idea that the follower contributes nothing to the dance, and only executes the steps "led" by the leader. This misconception may have been true in the past, but today's social ballroom climate has changed considerably. In the new millennium the definition of lead and follow has become blurred, and the social ballroom dance community is coming to the realization that good leading is good following, and good following is good leading. This workshop will explore Alexander principles through the lead/follow relationship in social ballroom dance. It is hoped that the participants will not only enhance their own use, but also gain a better understanding of how the principles of the Alexander Technique can be applied in any social dance situation and enhance one's social dance experience. The exploration will happen within the context of the Contemporary Cross Step Waltz. The principles to be explored include contact with a partner, response to contact, seeing from the point of vision, general kinesthetic awareness, flexibility within the dance steps, and leading and following with the whole self.
NELKEN, Shmuel
"A New Way of Thinking"
Numbers Limit: 15
This workshop offers a practical approach to what FM was trying to convey by the above expression (as well as by other expressions such as 'thinking in activity' and 'all at once one after the other'). Each one of us might have had some glimpses or some idea of it, but basically this expression remains an open question. During this workshop we'll experiment, trying to broaden the sphere of observation of ourselves while at work - the Alexander Technique considered as an ongoing search in which each participant can contribute and share his own experience with others.
From Reflective Practise to Effective Practise
Numbers Limit: 30
A reflective practitioner adjusts their skills to enable their student to learn effectively. In this session we will be exploring our own Alexander timeline, identifying key events that helped 'get us to this point'. Using this material we will explore how we use our hands both as transmitters and receivers of stimuli. The workshop is both practical and reflective. There will be hands-on work with each other, aimed at exploring different areas of our own use, rather than teaching the person we have hands on. There will also be small group exercises (discussion) and some note taking exercises. The emphasis is on the individual and how each of us can acknowledge and improve our teaching skills. A relaxed and enjoyable exploration, focusing on means and not ends.
Thinking, Feeling, Doing
Numbers Limit: none
Three little words loaded with meaning and fraught with potential for misunderstanding. How do we think our directions or orders, without feeling them out and without doing them, yet in a way that brings about effective change? In this class we will explore what clues we have from FM's writings, from the accounts by people who had lessons from him, and from the writing and teaching of some of the generation who trained with him. We may also consider insights we can gain from current ideas in the scientific study of neurophysiology. The class will mix talk/discussion with experiential exercises, usually in pairs.
Forward and Up; Back and Up
Numbers Limit: none
F.M.'s only written description of "head forward and up" calls it "one of the most inadequate and often confusing phrases used as a means of conveying our ideas in words"; and "back and up" does not appear at all in his four books. Yet these phrases are in daily use by Alexander teachers everywhere and understanding them is vital to our work. In this class we will explore what clues we have from F.M.'s writings, from the accounts by people who had lessons from him, and from the writings and teaching of some of the generation who trained with him. Some of these sources can appear at first sight to be contradictory, but they can be reconciled when looked at more closely. The class will be a mixture of talk/discussion and guided procedures/experiments, usually in pairs.
What Is Presence On Stage?
Numbers Limit: none
The workshop will explore how the unified field of attention is useful in training actors as part of an Alexander course. I will use games (such as "sticky hands", borrowed from tai chi) to explore this issue, and demonstrate with text how the actor can use this well. It is of interest to anyone working with those in a performance environment - actors, dancers, musicians - and for those having to present in a business context. The work has been developed from my teaching at the ArtsEd Theatre Schools.
PARK, Glen
Working with the Chakras and the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: 20
Our spine is central to our lengthening and widening, and to our feeling sense of being centred and integrated. Often the interferences to lengthening and widening are not just physical, but also emotional and even spiritual. An understanding of the chakras, centred along the length of the spine, allows us to bring clarity and conscious awareness to emotional holding patterns along the length of the body so that we can work with them. In this workshop we will gently explore the chakra energy centres, using the Alexander principles, so that we can deepen our understanding of inhibition and direction within this context, and discover, perhaps, how the Alexander principles fit elegantly into this more spiritual framework. This will be a very practical hands-on workshop, with participants working together in pairs or small groups. I am hoping we can make this workshop a calm and peaceful time.
PEARSON, Patrick
The Alexander Technique in Rowing and Rowing Training
Numbers Limit: 20
Through the use of videotape and discussion, an overview of rowers and rowing will be explored to help the AT teacher appreciate the complexities and issues of this sport. Relevant sensory work will be looked at through shared hands-on teaching. Real-time video and indoor-rowing simulators will provide an opportunity for those who wish to try out rowing both as a pupil and teacher. This workshop is mainly practical but is also useful simply by watching. Those wishing active participation are asked to bring trainers and loose-fitting trousers or leggings.
Click "Refresh"!
Numbers Limit: 20
Fine-tuning of familiar procedures. Renewal and refreshment is a help to any teaching career, regardless of experience. Come prepared to go over known procedures while remaining open to a new stimulus, a new angle. Diversity and variety are inherently enriching. I hope to demonstrate this and share my experience with you.
On a light note, those who suffer from a phobia of "Israelis-who-trained-with-Macdonald" may want to think of this workshop as a therapy-session. Seriously, though, expect open discussion (of anything Alexander) and real work.
Working with Performers
Numbers Limit: 20
How to enhance your students' performance using the Alexander Technique. Many of us have singers, dancers, actors, and musicians coming for lessons. In addition to applying basic principles of inhibition, direction, and primary control, and helping them to understand the power of habit and faulty sensory perception, it is often helpful to address specific performance issues. These may include evaluating the effectiveness of their warm up, examining performance anxiety, and observation of breathing patterns. Many performance habits, charged with unconscious commitment and excess tension, need to be brought under investigation in the light of awareness. This awareness can lead to thought and action from a deep sense of integrity and poise that pulsates with the life force, creating a truly satisfying performance. This class is open to all. You do not need to work with professional performers to attend, because these habits are present to a lesser degree for many people.
PULLAN, Gloria
Working With The Saddle Horse
Numbers Limit: 12
A short lecture introduces the history of using the saddle and wooden horse which was first used by F.M. Alexander in 1955. It outlines its value for Alexander teachers, for pupils that ride and those that don't. The duration of this section will be no longer than 30 minutes. Questions and feedback will be welcome throughout the session. The remaining time is a practical workshop exploring ways of working using a saddle and wooden horse. Groups will be limited to enable each person to have experience of practical work on the saddle horse.
The Practical Application of the Basic Principles Underlying the F.M. Alexander Technique in Teaching Pupils and Students - cancelled
Alexander Teachers and Pain: exploration of a paradox
Numbers Limit: 20
Pain is a paradoxical issue in the AT world. On the one hand the Technique is about learning good use of the self and not about curing people. On the other hand many, if not most, of our pupils come to us as a result of some sort of pain. A similar apparent contradiction appears in Alexander's own writings, not to mention the debate about whether the AT is therapy or education. The Technique being in the final resort a DIY technique, what of the AT teacher who is him/herself in pain? If you are one of these, please come and explore these issues in this essentially practical workshop. If you are not, come and explore the issue of working with people in pain.
ROHR, Olivia
How to Become a Directed Dog: The Alexander Technique and Yoga
Numbers Limit: 12
Yoga takes us to our limits. It uses positions (asanas) that challenge our flexibility, strength, stability, balance and relaxation. Are we able - everybody at his or her potential - to inhibit and maintain length and width while facing a voluntarily chosen difficulty? Yoga is not only a system of physical exercise but also a philosophy about transformation. Two thousand years ago, and Indian yogi named Patanjali wrote how changes within oneself can happen. He mentions three activities that have to come together: practice, letting go, and directions. We will have time to talk about the common ground and the contradictions between yoga and the F.M. Alexander Technique.
From Soul to Sole - A Look At Walking
Numbers Limit: none
"When You Walk Just Walk" (Zen Saying). An uplifting exploration of consciousness in walking - what moves first, the foot, the knee, the hip, the head or the mind? We will look at what it means to inhibit and direct in the act of walking. Pupils find walking a very rewarding time to work on themselves; it helps them to improve their balance and experience a sense of connection with the ground under their feet. Working in pairs and small groups we will experiment with a variety of ideas to take into your teaching practice. We will explore how to develop your students’ awareness of their own use in motion. “A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single step” (Lao Tzu). We invite you to explore what it is to take a step in the right direction.
SHAW, Steven
Fundamentals of The Shaw Method of Swimming
Numbers Limit: none
The aim of this workshop is to explore how the application of Alexander Technique principles can fundamentally change our relationship with water, and how this experience can improve our overall use and functioning. The workshop will include consist of a 45-minute talk and audiovisual presentation: What is the Shaw Method? Limitations of traditional teaching models. What can the water show us? The liquid mirror. Swimming injuries resulting from end-gaining and poor technique. How to approach the water -- mindful swimming. Re-crafting the strokes to promote good use rather than speed. Questions and general discussion. This will be followed by a 45-minute practical land-based movement session. Practical hands-on work to include balance and awareness of breath. A series of integrated movements to aid coordination and promote better use in the four main swimming strokes. We are also planning a 2-hour supplementary water session for the afternoon of Thursday 19th at the university pool, which is on campus.
SMITH Stephanie
Alexander Technique and Hypermobility
Numbers Limit: 10
Hypermobility is generally felt in the 'moving parts' of the body - joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments - which are laxer and more fragile than is the case for most people. The result is joint laxity with hypermobility and with it comes vulnerability to the effects of injury. I have a degree of hypermobility and for the last 10 years I have been researching ways of using inhibition when teaching the Technique that takes into account the supporting mechanisms of the body. When we allow the support function to operate, it lets the whole structure do its work. We do not then need to throw effort on movement muscles to hold us up while, at the same time, they oppose and interfere with supporting reflexes.
Aikido, the Art of Non-Resistance
Numbers Limit: 16
This is a practical workshop in the modern martial art of Aikido, which provides an endlessly fascinating application for the Alexander Technique. For those of you new to Aikido it will give a glimpse of a system with many parallels to the Alexander Technique, whilst for those who may have trained in Aikido before, I can share some of my ideas and experiences in practising the two arts. One of the aims of Aikido is to learn to "say No" to our habitual reactions, in response to the most stressful of stimuli - that of violent attack. Practice builds towards a beautiful and vigorous partnered "dance", using spiral movements to exchange energy between the partners.
Feet - The Final Frontier
Numbers Limit: none
The feet may be a long way from the primary control, but they are no less important because of that. We will look briefly at anatomy, pathology, bubbling springs, spiral energy, running technique, and even Alexander's own words on the subject. But the workshop will be mainly experimenting with different ways of using the feet to see how this can affect our relationship with gravity, our alignment, and the quality of up, and how we can use this knowledge to help our pupils, especially those with problems in the feet and knees. Shorts are optional, but come prepared to bare at least your ankles.
Teaching People with Parkinson's
Numbers Limit: 20
This workshop is based on my experience teaching courses of 24 lessons to more than thirty people with Parkinson's. The aim of this workshop is to increase your interest and confidence in the relevance of AT for people with Parkinson's. I hope to share my more successful teaching experiences and to illustrate the range of attitudes and symptoms that we come across. Among the topics covered will be the characteristics of Parkinson's; why, in my view, the AT is so appropriate for the management of the symptoms of this progressive neurological disease; some suggestions concerning the first few lessons; general teaching approaches and whether they are effective; approaches used in the research; the application of the AT to the core features of impaired balance, tremor, and rigidity and, lastly, the application of the AT to common symptoms such as facial immobility and speech deterioration. The method will be a mixture of practical illustration, brief explanations and hands on.
Inhibition Applied to Storytelling
Numbers Limit: 20
We are all of us brim-full of a fund of stories - stories about our teaching and training, stories about our lives before the Technique and the events that led us to take lessons. We also have personal stories, and, of course, plenty of good humour to share. We know they are in there, but how often do they get out for some air? Glenn's process of applying inhibition to speaking in and with a group will allow all participants to speak and share at their own comfortable pace - or to say "no" to the impulse and be happy about that!
TAM, Yael
To See from a Quiet Place
Numbers Limit: 8
The purpose of this workshop is to: 1) Explore the possibility of inhibition at the moment we become aware of misuse. 2) Understand faulty sensory appreciation by seeing the gap between what we are actually doing and what we feel we are doing. 3) Explore putting aside what we know in order to move towards something new. 4) Give a chance to different approaches.
"An Open and Shut Case...": repetitive actions and how they condition creative acts
Numbers Limit: 15
Neither from nor towards;/ But at the still point, there the dance is,/But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,/Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,/Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,/There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. (T.S. Eliot , "Burnt Norton").
This workshop for those who teach musicians (particularly violinists) is about "being "present. Practical procedures from the Alexander "lexicon" (HOBC, etc.) will be used to illustrate some innovative, devious and fun ways to help break the circularity of habit and end-gaining (living in the past or future) in practising, starting with that familiar act of getting the instrument out of the case. From this the nature of habit, imitation, and ambition will be illuminated with reference to the AT's central principles. Alun will draw on 20 years of experience as a performer and teacher, to ask the question: how can our practice become less burdensome and mechanical, and our performances excite more curiosity and risk? Using HOBC in detail to set up a strong "means-whereby", mindful practising can be established at the outset. Participants will be given an opportunity to go through the process of learning to hold a violin and even play a few notes!
Playful Procedures
Numbers Limit: 30
A practical workshop using some of the "games" developed at the Essex Alexander School over the last 15 years. These have proved useful in helping and encouraging the student/teachers to expand their ability and awareness as they are confronted with new and sometimes unusual movement patterns, whilst all the time endeavouring to maintain the working integrity through "inhibition" and the "basic directions". These procedures are not designed to be too strenuous, nor do they require exceptional skill and co-ordination. However, an improvement in many students' abilities has been observed during their three years' training, and so here is an opportunity to test yourself out and have some fun at the same time!
Training for the Spherologically Impaired: How to Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
Numbers Limit: 10
Have you ever been frustrated by an inability to hit small, round, fast-moving objects? (such as tennis balls, baseballs, ping pong balls, etc.?). This workshop will help you overcome your impairment! It offers valuable practical experience to help you discover: when you're seeing the ball and when you aren't; when your mind focuses on end-gaining, or on feeling your body, instead of inhibiting and directing; and how to use your Alexander skills to develop your eye-hand coordination. You will receive both hands-on and verbal instruction as you practice hitting a baseball, then have the opportunity to observe others and to learn to use this surprisingly simple method to instruct your own students.
Speaking of Self
Numbers Limit: 7
It may truly be said that the voice was Alexander's medium. Yet many teachers are uncomfortable with, and feel unable to freely explore, their own voice. This workshop opens a door to finding a fuller expression of ourselves through - and with, our voice. Each student will read aloud while receiving hands-on and verbal instruction. This simple activity is the vehicle through which we will explore such topics as: directing and seeing while reading; allowing words to have meaning; connecting meaning with emotion and sound through inhibition; and using meaning to authenticate performance. Through this process, students often experience a wonderful new sense of integration of the self.
WALKER, Lucia and FREDERICK, Michael D.
The Art of Teaching Performers: the Alexander Technique in groups
Numbers Limit: 20
Working with people on a performance piece in a group setting gives the performer an opportunity to deal with the stimulus of an audience as they apply Alexander principles to their work. The "audience" is encouraged to participate by paying attention to themselves as they respond, and by sharing their responses and observations. Participants are asked to bring a piece of text, music or movement to perform or to come ready to learn, contribute and enjoy by watching and listening.With their experience as teachers and as performers Lucia and Michael love to work in this way with groups and aim to approach the work with simplicity, playfulness and depth.
Use Of Yourself If Teaching On The Floor
Numbers Limit: 6/9
Sometimes we have to work with pupils who are lying down on the floor. We will work first with a kneeling monkey. As well as being useful for floor work, kneeling monkey is another way of improving our "standing" monkey. If we have time we will also look at crawling in relationship to floorwork.
WOLF, Jessica
The Art of Breathing: An Inspirational Workshop
Numbers Limit: 14
"We shall probably find the best practical illustration of the need for correct sensory experiences in guidance and control if we consider sensory appreciation in its connection with the psycho-mechanics of respiration" (F.M. Alexander, CCCI). In the course of my work, I often ask myself whether efficient breathing begins with dynamic alignment or if balance and coordination rely on efficient breathing. Since they are inextricably linked, you can begin anywhere. Developing a kinaesthetic awareness of the breath is vital for life. Breathing coordination is a rhythmical function which supports primary control, by fuelling the length of the spine and giving support to the back. It is breath that gives us a three-dimensional experience of the torso, and it is breath that supports our muscular/skeletal framework. Breath is constantly changing, adapting to an individual's shifting needs, both physically and emotionally. Alexander students can lengthen and widen all day long, but without the experience of coordinated breathing, improved functioning of the self is impossible. In this workshop, we will apply the principles of awareness, inhibition and direction to observe our own breathing patterns and practice hands-on techniques to encourage a new understanding of the breath.
Alexander Technique and Performance
Numbers Limit: none
The workshop will explore the application of principles and practices of the Alexander Technique to the dynamics of performance. Specific consideration will be given to: (1) the 'ideas' that we have regarding 'performance', and how these 'ideas' influence our capacity to perform and (2) the dynamics of the relationship between the performer and the audience.
Alexander's "Directions" as a Replication of Growth-Movements in Human Embryonic Development
Numbers Limit: none
Do the primary 'directions' proposed by Alexander replicate growth-movements that occur in human embryonic development? In this workshop we will explore these growth-movements, and show how they may be said to replicate the 'directions' proposed by F. M. Alexander. We will also consider the notion that these early growth-movements remain within us, as adults, as a continuing and underlying supportive dynamic. The workshop will be both theoretical and practical in its content. We will explore the information presented through self-exploration; a practical procedure; and, time permitting, working with a pupil.
YOUETT, Judith
The Diamond-Dart Meridian Sequence and the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: 15
The relationship between the head, neck and back is central to the Alexander Technique. This relationship can be greatly enhanced by the practice of the Diamond-Dart Meridian Sequence, an innovative series of postures designed to help us explore the evolutionary development of the individual. Devised by John Diamond MD, and based on the work of Raymond Dart, the sequence recapitulates the various developmental stages through which we pass, beginning at birth, moving through crawling and finally into upright posture. The therapeutic benefits of practicing the sequence are enormous. Many physical, behavioural and processing problems that we experience in later life arise as a direct result of poor usage acquired during one or more of these stages in early childhood. The DDMS is a wonderful opportunity to re-experience this process with the kinaesthetic awareness of an adult, and thus to correct any developmental delays. During the workshop, the basic postures will be taught in detail, paying special attention to the application of Alexander principles throughout, but particularly in the transitional movements from one posture to another. This is a unique opportunity for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the Alexander Technique and its relationship to human development.
A Means to Vital Freedom - the "Little School"
Numbers Limit: none
Are we, as AT teachers, avoiding its true principles by working with adults rather than directly or indirectly with children? Education, rather than re-education, is the best means to vital freedom. Should we not be aiming to break the vicious circle of traditional education and working towards an education system that embraces the practicalities of the "little school". Shouldn't we be continuing Alexander's special interest in the training of children, particularly early training? "If a technique which can be proved to do this for an individual were to be made the basis of an educational plan, so that the growing generation could acquire a more valid criterion for self-judgment than is now possible with the prevailing condition of sensory misdirection of use, might not this lead in time to the substitution of reasoning reactions for those instinctive reactions which are manifested as prejudice, racial and otherwise, herd instinct, undue 'self-determination' and rivalry, etc., which........ have so far brought to nought our efforts to realize goodwill to all men and peace upon earth?" (The Use of the Self, p109). Participants will be invited to share their experiences and to discuss the practicalities involved in carrying out this plan.
COHEN, Rivka
Video of Work with Teachers in New York
Numbers Limit: 30
The focus will be on the dialogue between the teacher and a student based on Rivka's understanding of the primary control and its principles. There will be a video demonstration of a lesson which teaches these principles by using chair work, monkey, kangaroo, toes-heels, etc. with particular reference to the teacher's use of himself in relation to his teaching. Following the video there will be discussion, comments, questions and answers.
Designing a Life-Changing Course of A.T. Lessons that Addresses a Pupil's Needs.
Numbers Limit: 20
As a group we will explore how to design a course of lessons that will enhance learning and promote the desired change in a pupil's life. This discussion group will provide an opportunity for participants to share their knowledge and problems in this area with a view to tailoring lessons with pupil satisfaction in mind. Introduction: 15 minutes; Small group work: 45 minutes; Reports of group representatives: 30 minutes.
Personality Adaptations and the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: 20
The Alexander Technique is an avowed re-educational method and there is a long and well established tradition of asserting this perspective and rejecting any connections with notions of "treatment" or of therapeutic process. This has maintained the apartness of the Technique from other endeavours in human personal knowledge. The educational approach treats each prospective pupil as psychologically neutral. (Similarly, if someone were learning French it would be considered irrelevant to know much of their personal history for the purpose of the lessons). But what if the AT is not like learning French and personality leads to a predisposition or a hidden motivation? How relevant is some basic psychological knowledge and awareness if some personality types were likely to be confronted by the method of AT and others attracted? In this session, a simple model of Personality Adaptations will be introduced and participants will be invited to join in discussing the implications and clarifying insights which might be gained, to inform our AT teaching.
MOWAT, Brigitta
Enhancing the Teacher-Pupil Relationship
Numbers Limit: 20
My recent study, in the form of an MSc dissertation, explored the impact of psychological counselling and psychotherapy skills on the Alexander Technique. Findings showed that the integration of certain therapeutic skills enhanced the teacher-pupil relationship and helped in the management of emotions. Topics for this discussion group are drawn from my study with the aim of raising awareness of emotional issues that can arise in the teacher-pupil relationship. It will provide an opportunity for Alexander teachers and trainers to explore ways in which therapeutic skills can lead to a better understanding of self and pupil, and become part of their teaching. What are the consequences of integrating therapeutic skills in the Alexander Technique? What are the pros and cons of such integration? What steps could be taken by the Alexander Community to establish a constructive debate on the question of integration?
PARK, Glen
Creating a Support Group of Alexander Teachers Who Work Consciously with Emotions
Numbers Limit: none
This discussion group will be an opportunity to share how we work with emotions in our teaching practices, and how we can integrate skills related to the emotional experiences of our pupils. Is there a sufficient interest in exchanging ideas about this to warrant forming a network, or creating a newsletter, developing our own postgraduate training programmes and becoming a confident voice within the Alexander Community?
Working with a Pupil with Parkinson's Disease: a video case study
Numbers Limit: 20
Following the showing of a video covering lessons over several years with a pupil suffering from Parkinson's disease, there will be an opportunity to discuss both the use of classical Alexander procedures and activities designed specifically for this pupil. Both physical and psychological aspects of this work will be covered.
The Many Facets of the Self
Numbers Limit: 50
A talk/discussion on how "changing habitual responses" can affect the "whole self" on very deep levels. F.M's Technique addresses this and answers can be found in his books. This discussion group will be looking into this area of "the work" without wanting or needing to arrive at any sort of overall conclusion, but rather with a view to opening up a dialogue for further exploration.
The Alexander Technique and the Spiritual Path - Discussion
Numbers Limit: 25
This discussion will raise the issue of the application of the AT to spiritual disciplines as indicated by Aldous Huxley and Frank Pierce Jones among others as well as Mark’s own reflections.
A Workshop for Pianists
Numbers Limit:
This workshop is about applying the AT to playing the piano. It is for everyone, but only a small number of participants will be able to work at the piano during the time. Robert will work intensively to improve the student’s overall coordination in musicianship and playing.
COOK, Paul
The International Journal on the Alexander Technique: Looking Forward. A discussion group on the potential for wider publicity of the AT around the world.
Numbers Limit: none
This discussion will be to outline new projects, call for feedback and discuss other possibilities for international publicity using Direction journal. As the journal is the only cross society publication, it is uniquely positioned to unite all Alexander teachers under a common goal. i.e. to further public awareness of the importance of Alexander Technique to humankind. As Direction is currently funded solely by subscriptions and some back catalogue sales, ideas are needed to create funding in order to keep Direction alive. If you think that your society isn't doing enough, bring your ideas to this forum where they will be given due consideration.
MOORE, David
Competency Based Training and Government Accreditation of Training Courses - an Australian Experience
Numbers Limit: none
The School for F.M. Alexander Studies in Melbourne has recently written up its course in competency-based language and gained government accreditation for the course. Of course all Alexander training courses are or should be competency-based, but the problem of articulating the key competencies required by an Alexander teacher and putting them into the words and format required by government authorities without compromising the integrity of the technique is a complex task. The lecture (50 mins) would cover the following: 1) Writing up a course in competency based language - our experience. 2) Limitations and strengths of competency based language. 3) Limitations and strengths of the requirements of Affiliated Societies for the running of training courses. 4) Other pedagogical models. 5) Affiliated society requirements versus government requirements. 6) Advantages and disadvantages of running an government accredited training school - our experiences after one and a half years.
The Alexander Technique and Meditation
Numbers Limit: 25
This workshop goes into the question of "giving directions" and how this can be helped by the practice of meditation. Making use of the classical texts, Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms and Ramana Maharshi’s writings on Hinduism and various Tibetan writers, in particular Dzogchen and some orthodox texts on "Prayer of the Heart". We will practice two or three methods in connection with calming the mind in preparation for giving directions (including Hara and possibly Meta).
The Whispered "Ah" and the Expression of Emotion
Numbers Limit: 20
SYNOPSIS: FMA apparently said "You ask what the whispered 'ah' is good for and I ask you, what is it not good for." In this workshop we will be exploring how working with whispered and vocalized vowels as well as other sounds helps release deep blockages in the eyes, jaw, tongue, palate, diaphragm, ribcage, and pelvic floor. We will experiment with different qualities of vocalisation aimed at facilitating freely flowing pulsating energy throughout the self.
Tailoring the ITM lesson: the art of lesson design
Numbers Limit:
The workshop will begin with an overview of the fundamental principles and rationale behind the ITM approach to lesson design. By matching the elements and direction of an ITM lesson to the demonstrated needs of the student in the appropriate educational-objective context, the use of stereotyped, regimented lesson procedures and structures can be replaced and (arguably) transcended. Once the overview is finished, the remaining time will be directed toward giving ITM lesson experiences to volunteers from the audience. Because these lessons will be used to illustrate the process of lesson design, the primary focus in the lessons will be toward the observers and their questions and less concerned with the specifics of the demonstrated lessons than would ordinarily be the case. ITM training procedures and interactive questioning of the group participants will be used to further the discussion.
Means and Principles in the Alexander Technique
Numbers Limit: none
1) Touch in the AT is not a treatment. It is giving the hands for "shalom" (peace). Peace is not saying "no" as a preventing wall does, but a bridge of communication. Touch is not to prevent a faulty use, rather to present an atmosphere which does not invite the faulty use. 2) Neck Free: Alexander is the Lincoln of the human body. He declares the freedom of the neck. The neck is no longer the slave of the head. He discovered not just were the head should be, but to which sources of nature it belongs. 3) Direction is the understanding that down is also up, and up is also down, and not just to accept it, but to appreciate, admire and thank it. It leads the human being to the rich modesty of the size of himself. Direction is an understanding, a blessing and a happening. The miracle of its discovery is that the understanding of the direction itself, is its fulfillment. 4) Inhibition: The word inhibit is an interesting cooperation of the English and Hebrew Languages. "Hibit" in Hebrew means, "look", so the meaning of inhibition is to look at the beautiful "in", while dealing with the important outside.
WEISER, Wolfgang
Using the Alexander Technique with an Unusual Balance Activity: Tightrope Walking
Numbers Limit: 20
I would like to invite you to an unusual workshop with tightrope walking and balance. The point of this workshop is not to do something spectacular, but to show how it is possible to work with the Alexander Technique as psycho-physical-education rather than re-education. Tightrope-walking is an unusual activity, which the average person cannot do, and it also triggers the "righting" reflex. It is therefore ideal to learn with the Alexander Technique. You have to think and forward and up. The rope will be quite low, about as high as a chair, and will hopefully be outside. People trying tightrope walking do so at their own risk.
MERRY, Sue and WEISER, Wolfgang
The Alexander Technique and Education - panel discussion
A panel discussion with participation from the audience covering the work of those actively engaged in the educational field. The panel will consist of teachers from different countries who have been involved with the Alexander Technique in Education. Together with the audience they will review the present situation and look forward to the future.
The Future of the Profession - panel discussion
Recent moves towards the greater regulation and professionalisation of all disciplines has led to initiatives in a number of countries. This panel discussion brings together people from different countries, those involved with the implementation of regulation and Alexander teachers on both sides of the argument in an exchange of views about this contemporary issue of importance to all of us. Recent discussions among UK AT organisations have surfaced some of the key issues for the future of the profession in the UK. Some of these are organisational and some are to do with establishing and monitoring standards. Always there is a tension between the weight of the core values and ideas on the one hand and the notion of evolution, of progress and development on the other. Are the tensions real? Are some of the differences irreconcilable and are some of the obstacles imaginary and semantic? This discussion will suit anyone who hasn't got an axe to grind or a fish to fry, and possibly some who do. What are the real options for the future?
KEVAN, Nadia
The Support System: an introduction to and exchange of the work developed by the late Dr. Chris Stevens
Chris Stevens carried out scientific research for over 25 years up to his early death last year. It served to deepen his understanding of Alexander's discoveries about how we influence the functioning of our postural mechanisms. One of his great contributions to the teaching of the Technique was the careful attention he paid to the feet and legs, hands and arms as an essential part of supporting the body in a gravitational field. He referred to these fundamental and physiologically accurate processes as the "Support System" and developed directions to improve our use of this system. This work has now become part of the teaching skills of many Alexander Teachers in Europe and the United States who have worked with Chris or Nadia. This meeting offers an introduction for new comers into Chris Stevens' remarkable legacy and an opportunity for those teachers who have worked in this way to exchange ideas and experiences.
The Future of A.T. Teacher Education
How do we know we are educating our teachers efficiently? Do seventy years of tradition mean it couldn't be done better? Or has AT teacher education become so habituated that it might need a little direction to keep it functioning in the 21st century? In this lecture Terry Fitzgerald, the Director of the Sydney Alexander School teacher training program, presents some of the findings from his doctoral research program entitled "Promise and Potentiality: Conversations For the Future of Alexander Technique Teacher Education". Terry has collected opinions on teacher education by e-mail from AT teachers, teacher trainers and trainees living in several countries and coming from a variety of traditions. From this data he has identified a range of themes which should be of value to those who want to further develop AT teacher education. He also makes suggestions for further research.