I got an hour-long lesson in Alexander Technique today from veteran teacher Larry White (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I videotaped the whole thing and put it on Youtube.
Here’s a seminar Larry gave at the eighth international Alexander conference in Lugano in 2008:
Stop breathing – You have nothing to loose but a bad habit!
If they are directing their heads forward and up, why do so many still audibly suck in air when they speak?
Once Alexander found that if he could prevent himself from pulling back his head when he went to take a breath while speaking or reciting, he also prevented the audible sucking in of that breath. That was the first step toward evolving his technique. Yet today finding a teacher, regardless of seniority or training, who doesn’t audibly suck in breath when speaking is a difficult, almost impossible task. If Alexander’s “forward and up” could prevent those gasps, and what passes today for “forward and up” doesn’t, what is the difference between then and now? Is it a failing to inhibit old habit? Or of use not having yet evolved as far as Alexander’s?
We will explore the empirical work out of which Alexander’s technique grew and what of “respiratory re-education” in practice got left behind in contemporary teaching after Alexander that has limited its scope and its potential, to move toward a clearer re-assessment of what we are actually doing, of how far our use and awareness have evolved and where to go from here.
Walton L. White was born in southern California and have lived all his life there, except for military service and teacher training in London with Patrick Macdonald in the mid 1970’s. He has a BA in Theater Arts from UCLA and spent many years working in that university’s libraries before his training in the Technique.