STAT CPD Day: Dance
The day was about what the Alexander Technique has to offer dancers at all levels of experience and ability, from amateur 'tangueros' to professional artists, and how we can present and teach our work to them. These four experienced Alexander Teachers are also dancers and teach dancers. The day consisted of four workshops that show aspects of our work and its relevance to dancers in both their training and performing.
Fluidity in Movement: John Hunter
An Alexander teacher does not have to be a dancer or movement specialist to be able to teach pupils to apply the Technique to dance or movement. However, it is helpful to recognise some basic facts about the application of Alexander’s ideas to movement. The “angle-poise lamp” model (the primary postural pulls of head against hips against knees) works fine for sitting, standing and bending movements, but for any kind of dance or expressive movement, a fluid approach – also true to principle – is more apt.
In this workshop we will explore how freeing the neck and allowing the head to go forward and up leads naturally into movement. The head leads, but the power – the “motive force” - comes from the back; a major factor is maintaining fluidity in movement is the natural counter rotation of the upper and lower parts of the torso.
Using observation and hands-on work we will investigate how to find fluidity in movement applied to the acts of walking, dance and other kinds of movement.
For partner dancing, we will explore how dynamic opposition maintains the contact between leader and follower.
Moving into Balance: Niamh Dowling
This workshop will focus on two particular aspects of the dancers work. With an underpinning in the principles of the Alexander Technique participants will follow a journey from experiential anatomy through to movement in order to deepen their understanding of connecting the arms into the back and subsequently moving into balance.
Participants will look at ways to maintain the Alexander conditions working with a moving partner.
Cultivating a dancers experience: Alex Howard
The focus of this presentation will be on what a dancer brings to the Alexander Technique lesson.
It is offered in the spirit of an ongoing enquiry based on my experiences of introducing AT to vocational dance students.
By looking at the young, contemporary dancers’ concerns, expectations and movement experiences - we can raise appropriate ways of introducing a practice of Alexander Technique into their training and note areas of benefit.
We will touch on the experiences associated with three approaches more or less familiar to dance students; the ‘how to’ of set dance movement; witnessing and giving value to the wisdom of the body of somatic techniques; creating the conditions out of which movement arises with the Alexander Technique.
Creativity in Motion: Korina Biggs
The focus of this session will be how, as Alexander Technique teachers, we can invite the dancer into a state of creative potential.
Many dancers are restricted in their range of expressive movement because of their adherence to style and training, the pressure to 'get it right', as well as to their deep personal habits of movement and holding.
Through playful explorations of inhibition, non-doing, and 'getting out of one's own way' we shall develop our skills of supporting the dancer's desire for more spontaneous creativity from the foundation of good use.
"Everyone friendly and all the speakers had a wealth of experience to share"
"I would love to have something like this regularly"
"I discovered how going into movememnt using minimal hand contact can work in large groups"
"...free to express flowing movements and interaction with teachers and other performers"
"...really inspiring teachers"
"...fabulous to see and share AT in movement. Was very well rewarded with interesting and new ideas from all the teachers"
"Well thought out and varied, good mix of ideas, theory and experience"
"...letting go in movement - joyful and liberating"
"...very inspirational and joyful"
"...inspiring my AT teaching"
"...lots of ideas and inspiration; joy of movement; great to connect with other teachers with an interest in dance"