Alexander Technique and Performers

Actors, Singers, Dancers and Performers

“I was born with no natural aptitude. I wasn’t pretty. I moved with no grace at all. I auditioned for the London Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts but was not accepted. When I was finally admitted to Central School of Speech and Drama and showed up at my first movement class with my hump back and wearing a leotard, the movement teacher said, “Oh God.” He sent me to the head of the school who then sent me to study the Alexander Technique with Dr. Wilfred Barlow. That whole semester I took Alexander lessons instead of attending movement classes which helped me enormously in my training and in subsequent years in my acting work. Now I can play people who are graceful and beautiful.” – Lynn Redgrave, actress

Actors, dancers and musicians are often painfully aware of the effects of tension and stress on their ability to perform. Applying the principles of the Technique can powerfully influence the strength of a performance, from improved clarity of speech to subtle nuance and colour in musical passages. Clinical trials have also shown that the AT not only dramatically affects lung capacity (an important issue for all performers), but is as or more effective than beta-blocker drugs in dealing with performance anxiety. The Alexander Technique is also a proven factor in preventing or helping with the chronic stress, aches & pains and ‘bad posture’ that plague the industry.

Performance and the Alexander Technique in Edmonton…

Opera NuovaCandace has been part of the sessional faculty at the University of Alberta for five years. She teaches the Alexander Technique to first year acting students in the BFA program of the Drama Department. As of Spring 2006, she was also excited to return in the second term to coach the students in their first staged production — giving the opportunity to help the actors use the tools the AT provides to improve and expand their performances, as well as their abilities to respond to a director’s wishes.

The University of Alberta’s Music Faculty is also interested in incorporating the Alexander Technique for their students, and Spring of 2006 saw a small pilot program launched where a handful of singing students were given access to a series of short AT lessons.

June of 2007 will see Candace returning for a seventh year to the Faculty of Opera Nuova, where participants are given an intensive course in multiple aspects of professional development, while being given the opportunity to mount various staged and unstaged productions. For more information about this great program (or to attend some affordable and excellent live opera) go to www.operanuova.ca.

Candace also returns regularly as a guest lecturer to Concordia University College to work with students studying voice. She has been privileged to workshop and lecture groups of artists across the city, from small choirs to Fine Arts teachers to large ensembles.

The University Music and Drama students, as well as those at Opera Nuova and other venues across the city, will be able to benefit in increasingly large numbers as the Alexander Teacher Apprentice program gains momentum and young AT teachers come to Edmonton to lend their enthusiasm and “hands”!!!