Alexander and his Technique
Frederick Mathias Alexander (1869-1955) had a great fondness and talent for Shakespeare and started reciting in Melbourne at the end of the 20th century, having been enchanted by the performances of Sarah Bernhardt - all of which he claimed to have attended. His experience as an actor revealed to him a dissonance between the passion he had for performing and the pains he suffered after each time on stage, leaving him in a state of hopelessness and fear for the future of what had so far seemed a very promising career.
"My practical teaching experience of over thirty years has been based upon he impossibility of separating the so-called mental and physical elements in any of our dealings with the human organism"
- F.M. Alexander
"All the world's a stage"
- William Shakespeare.
His learning process started out of his desire to reduce this dissonance. Through experiments and a trial and error approach, he discovered the deep connection between use and function and the interconnected nature of mind and body, usual dichotomy even carried out in our language. He saw that when reacting to a stimulus, our response is made with the whole of us, driven by habit and settled into patterns of movement - on and off stage. He had stumbled upon the crux of his teachings.
He realized his discoveries could be applicable to others and help them as much as they helped him. He started teaching in Australia, taught widely in the UK and later on in the US. In the last two decades of his life, he trained teachers to his unique approach - to maintain his legacy and grow his work into the 21st century.
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