Freedom for Actors: Acting and Alexander Technique

Comprehensive 9-week course - 2015 -      REGISTER NOW - click here
Classes and Online learning
for actors, acting teachers, movement teachers, alexander technique teachers and trainees

Build your craft, and transform it: enliven your presence, deepen your sensitivity and embrace your authenticity.

As an actor AT has changed my life not only physicality but also my mindset. I go into each character now with a different outlook... it gets my mind in the game
— Christina Breza

 

Our goal is to make learning about Acting and the Alexander Technique available to you wherever you are, whenever you have time. We have put together 18 hours of instruction so that you can continue to study with master teachers of the Alexander Technique throughout the year.

  • This progressive series is based on the Alexander Technique and specifically focused for performers.
  • Take the class live – join us in the studio in NYC
  • Or take the class through streaming-video: observe, follow along, try out the material on your own or with a group of fellow actors
  • 6-months of access to video of each class to review and practice on your own
  • Receive downloadable materials for independent self-study     

Upon completion of the full course you will receive a Certificate of Study from the Balance Arts Center and AT Motion following the completion of the course.

Saturdays 4:00-5:30 (EST) starting January 31, 2015 - ending May 9, 2015

This semester-long course includes:

Fees: 

Option A: In-Studio Classes ( plus materials and access to video):  $250  

Option B: Online Course (live streaming video participation, materials and video access):  $225

Option C: Online Individual class: $35
(Extension of 3 month viewing:  $25/month for individuals)

Institutional Price:  $1,500 (unlimited viewers)
(Extension of 3 month viewing for Institutions:  $200/month)

Register now! (click here) or contact info@balanceartscenter.com

Faculty:

We have gathered master teachers of the Alexander Technique to present with us on their areas of expertise. These are the colleagues who inspire us, just as they have a generation of actors. They teach in some of the leading acting studios and conservatory programs, and coach professional actors. 

Sessions this semester will be lead by Meade Andrews, Kathryn Armour, Belinda Mello, Betsy Polatin, Ann Rodiger, and Jessica Wolf

Through our work together she helped me to give 8 performances a week in an Off- Broadway play when I had previously been living with a lifelong problem of vocal hoarseness, and often lost my voice altogether. Through her skill as an Alexander teacher she brought me to a place where I am now able to speak and perform freely- with my bright and authentic voice!
— Barbara Garrick

Schedule of Classes:

Session 1      February 7  -  AT and Acting Introduction: Learning from the First Day, with Belinda Mello and Ann Rodiger

Session 2      February 14 - Building Awareness: Know Your Parts, Refine Your with Senses,
with  Ann Rodiger

Session 3     February 28 - Directing Yourself: Observation and Awareness with Meade Andrews

Session 4    March 14 -  Jessica Wolf's Art of Breathing with Jessica Wolf

Session 5     March 28 -  The Actor’s Secret with Betsy Polatin

Session 6    April 11 - Wired for Sound: Voice Part I: (Singing)  with Kathryn Armour

Session 7    April 12 - Words, Words, Words: Voice Part II with Ann Rodiger

Session 8     April 25 - Emotional Availability  with Belinda Mello

Session 9      May 9 - How to move forward on your own with Belinda Mello and Ann Rodiger

Class Descriptions:

AT and Acting: Learning from the First Day
What are the foundational  principles of movement, breath and balance in the Alexander Technique and how will they impact your Acting? This opening session sets the stage for the unique learning process AT offered  throughout our course.  As you are introduced to this work, you will  begin to recognize your individual habits and preferences in a new way.

Building Awareness: Know Your Parts,  Refine Your Sensations
This session will expand on the information in session 1: learning through your senses about your body and your environment.  You will learn to stay with yourself at the same time as you are interacting with your environment.

Jessica Wolf’s The Art of Breathing
Breath imbues us with creativity and vitality -- our inspiration.  Breath is synchronized with the body’s movement.  This workshop explores that integration.  The common habits of collapsing or straining the body, in conjunction with holding the breath, prevent actors from accessing the emotions that generate fully realized performances. Breath fuels our imaginations and informs character development. It is the vehicle and spark for the actor’s transformation on the set or stage.

Directing Yourself: Observation and Awareness
This session will focus on movement explorations designed to assist you to begin the process of awakening and fine-tuning the clarity of your thinking, sensory awareness, and movement choices based on Alexander principles. Developing the ability to listen deeply to the inner body, to observe changes in your thinking and coordination, and to allow your body to follow the inherent movement pathways of our natural design and coordination will form the core of this session.

Words, Words, Words: Voice Part 1
How you use your voice is essential to your acting.  You must be heard clearly and sound authentic.
Learning the basics of vocal production and projection are crucial.  The entire Alexander Technique is based on FM Alexander’s explorations breath and voice. We’ll present fundamental vocal concepts that will help you achieve clarity with your words and text and easeful vocal projection.

The Actor’s Secret
This class will present explorations from The Actor’s Secret book. You will learn support from the ground, that provides solidity, and allows freedom from habit. You will also discover the suspension and expansion that opens you to fill the stage. This combination of support and suspension, allows unrestricted breathing for full physical and vocal expression, which we will explore.

Wired for Sound: Voice Part 2
The human body is an amazing instrument for communication:  we are hard-wired to be heard and understood.  But many actors-in-training are literally swallowing their words.  The Alexander Technique is a tool for organizing our speech and song to be both audible and intelligible.   We will look at the coordination of ear, larynx, tongue and jaw, and learn some simple, reliable directions for getting in sync with our own voices.

Emotional Availability
Being present involves a willingness to be open to our partners and to feedback. Deep and honest listening involves both “I see you” and  “here I am”!  We will play with four classic ways that we block the emotional and sensory feedback from our own bodies. Then, we will explore using the AT for letting go of these defenses or blocks.

How to Move Forward on Your Own
Connecting all the dots and integrating  into your whole process as an actor will bring our sessions to a close. You will learn how to continue with what you have learned and continue to make discoveries on your own.

Faculty Bios:

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

Kathryn Armour (M.A. University of Chicago), studied voice in Florence, Italy for 5 years, and then returned to study voice and acting in New York City. She was a finalist in both the Metropolitan Opera and Pavarotti Competitions and has extensive performing experience in all genres from opera to cabaret. She was on the voice faculty of New York University for 17 years, teaching in the CAP21 Music Theater Studio. She also has a busy studio in midtown Manhattan, where she teaches voice (for classical and Broadway singers) together with the Alexander Technique. She holds intensive summer courses in Voice and Alexander Technique at Lake Como, in the Italian Alps, and in late summer she runs a VoiceCamp in New Hampshire. See details of these study opportunities at www.kathrynarmour.com. Kathryn is currently the Voice and Alexander Technique teacher for the Broadway award-winning Fiasco Theater Company. 

Belinda Mello, MFA (directing), ATI, ATME, ACAT, teaches Alexander Technique to actors at the SITI Conservatory, Tom Todoroff Studio Conservatory and The Barrow Group, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Theatre Department at Brooklyn College/CUNY, and faculty of Alexander Technique Workshops held in Spokane, WA and at Ohio State University. She will soon complete her professor certification in Margolis Method. Belinda is passionate about the integration of the Alexander Technique into performing arts training, rehearsal and performance. She is the co-producer of the Freedom to ACT: Acting and Alexander Technique Conferences in NYC. Her article (co-authored with Teva Bjerken) “Cultivating a Lively Use of Tension: the Synergy between Acting and The Alexander Technique” can be found in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Journal 3:1(Routledge). She has performed and directed theater in NYC and internationally, and provides movement dramaturgy or performance coaching for productions and auditions. Her private practice is AT Motion. www.AlexTechMotion.com  

Betsy Polatin is a Master Lecturer at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, where she pioneered a four year Acting/Alexander program for the acting conservatory. She is a graduate of two, three year AT certification courses, and has done extensive postgraduate studies. Her background includes forty years of movement education and performance, as well as training in music, yoga, meditation, and the healing arts. Her work is greatly influenced by Carl Stough’s breathing coordination principles and Peter Levine's somatic experiencing theory.
Betsy’s book, The Actor’s Secret, featured on ABC TV and Fox news, combines the principles of The Alexander Technique, Breathing Coordination, and Somatic Experiencing. As a breathing and movement specialist, she has had numerous articles published in the Huffington Post. Please visit: theactorssecretbook.com   betsypolatin.com

Ann Rodiger is the founder and director of the Balance Arts Center and the Balance Arts Center Teacher Training Course. She has been teaching the Alexander Technique and movement for over 30 years in academic and private settings. She is skilled in Labanotation, Laban Movement Analysis, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Yoga, meditation, and various dance techniques. She maintains private practices in New York City, Berlin and Antwerp. She is the creator and producer of the Freedom to Move, Freedom to Play and co-creator of the Freedom to Act conferences. She wrote and published the book How To Sit: Your Body at Work in 2011.

Jessica Wolf is an internationally recognized teacher of the Alexander Technique. She completed her training at the American Center for the Alexander Technique and is one of the few Alexander professionals who have been teaching for more than 35 years. Throughout her career, she has explored and conducted research in respiratory function.
In 1998, Jessica established the Alexander Technique program at Yale School of Drama, where she now holds the position of Assistant Professor. In 2002, she became the founder and director of the first post-graduate training program for Alexander teachers in “Jessica Wolf’s Art of Breathing.” Other faculty appointments include the Aspen Music Festival, The Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase, Circle in the Square Theater School, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Verbier Music Festival.
Jessica created the first three-dimensional animated film of the respiratory system and published Jessica Wolf's Art of Breathing: Collected Articles in 2013. She coaches many performing artists who appear on and off Broadway, as well as in film and television.  Jessica travels extensively giving workshops to performers and health care providers.