AT Congress® Berlin 2022

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Ariel Weiss portrait

Ariel Weiss

Celebrating Marj Barstow's Legacy: Observation, Activities & Teaching Groups

Master teacher Marj Barstow was a visionary innovator and the richness of her teaching legacy is more relevant today than ever before.
The worldwide pandemic has severely limited teaching AT in-person in the classical style of hands-on one-on-one. We have the opportunity to thrive in the current reality by making good use of the potential to connect around the world online. Marj’s teaching provides a unique template particularly well-suited for online and group teaching and can help teachers and trainees from all backgrounds and at all levels of experience to enhance and further their skills and adaptivity.

This experiential workshop will target key areas of Marj’s pedagogical approaches:
• Observing use and patterns of interference
• Directing coordination in activity
• Teaching in groups

Observing use and patterns of interference
Marj had a super keen eye and never missed even a momentary change in someone’s use. She’d look across a room at you and know EXACTLY what was going on with your Primary Control. When we don’t have our hands to sense what is going on, we need to optimize what we see and hear, as well as fully engage our students as collaborators in the process of discovery.
• Finding visual and auditory clues to determine movement quality, sequence and direction
• Seeing the whole – even when you can’t
• Promoting students’ agency in self-observation and feedback

Directing coordination in activity
One of Marj’s greatest innovations was to teach in activity – helping singers as they sang, jugglers as they juggled, etc. She understood that the stimuli for discoordination were deeply embedded in the habits surrounding these activities. When we go directly to the source of the stimulus/response we help our students navigate directing themselves in the very dynamic manner they are most interested in. This requires a keen eye, a dynamic appreciation for Use and the ability to transpose AT Principles in any situation.
• Finding “critical moments”
• Transposing the Classical Procedures
• Sleuthing the thinking behind stimulus/response patterns
• Promoting students’ agency in self-observation and experimentation

Teaching in groups
Marj is perhaps best known for teaching in large groups – a practice that is still often misunderstood. The benefits of teaching in groups are plentiful; it promotes the student’s agency and diminishes dependency, and is also cost-effective making the work more accessible to greater numbers of people and promoting AT teachers’ ability to build a thriving livelihood. Teaching effectively in groups requires specialized skills to transcend from teaching a series of private lessons in public to creating dynamic, experiential learning opportunities.
• Teaching the “part within the whole” – effectively teaching individuals in a group setting
• Finding and developing themes
• Deconstructing activities
• Creating community
• Promoting students’ agency in observation, self-observation and experimentation

About Ariel Weiss

Ariel Weiss has nurtured a lively private practice in Philadelphia, PA in the USA since 1988 and studied extensively with Marj Barstow in the 1980’s. Active as a dancer and choreographer for most of her life, she delights in helping people learn to move freely in service of their design so they can feel and function at their full potential.
Ariel trains teachers at the Philadelphia School for the Alexander Technique and also teaches at The Curtis Institute of Music and Temple University. Previously she co-produced the Freedom to Make Music conference, presented at the 11th International Congress for Alexander Technique and was a guest teacher at training programs in Toronto, Tokyo and Osaka.
Pivoting in March 2020, Ariel presented a TEDx talk: Posture myth-busting, created two online courses and teaches five classes weekly online.


See also: Ariel Weiss – Presenter Detail Page

Saturday, 27 August 2022
15:45 h - 17:00 h (3.45pm-5.00pm)
Main Building
Floor: 3.OG (3rd floor)
Room: H 3013

AT Principles and Procedures||Performance/Music/Acting/Voice||Everyday Activities||Practical Teaching Skills||Communication/Verbal Skills||Business / Marketing



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