How-to is a new event type at the Congress.
In these two-hour sessions you will be able to explore
a wide range of areas where the Alexander Technique can be applied and learn how-to talk to specific audiences.
Think eyesight, marketing, working with companies, working online and many more.
How-to Presenters List
Presenter Profiles Count:
The list is sorted by first name
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Dr. Anikó Ball
Victoria, AustraliaAustralia B.D.Sc.(Melb), Clin.Dip.Hyp.
Adv. Dip. Alexander Studies
Founder Optimum Dental Posture
Practising as a dentist for over thirty years, Anikó suffered frequently from neck, back and shoulder pain. Doctors and physical therapists offered short-term symptom relief without identifying her condition as work related. She was declared a “hopeless case”, anti-inflammatory medications and surgery seemed her only options. Fortunately, she read about the Alexander Technique, started lessons and got well.
She undertook the training course at the Melbourne Alexander School and founded “Optimum Dental Posture” with the intention of taking the Alexander Technique to the dental profession.
Anikó has presented at Dental Congress/Conference events and CPD courses for dental associations. She teaches dentists, dental hygienists, oral health therapists and dental nurses the inner ergonomic principles of the Alexander Technique translated into dental industry specific applications in clinical settings.
Anikó was a presenter at the 10th & 11th International Alexander Technique Congress.
United KingdomUnited Kingdom Anthony Kingsley has been teaching and training for 35 years. He is also a trained psychotherapist. He has been training Alexander Technique Teachers in London since 1990 and assisted in the training of over 100 teachers who are now working in the UK and throughout the world. Anthony’s school, the Alexander Teacher Training School, based in Golders Green, offers ongoing personal development as well as professional training in the Alexander Technique.
Anthony has evolved a powerful mind-body approach to the Alexander Technique. He is particularly passionate about what medics refer to as \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\”somatisation\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\”, which is when the body reveals and reflects our trauma and pain. Anthony sees the potential of the Alexander Technique not just for posture, aches and pains, but also and crucially for emotional healing.
He gives workshops and seminars on the Technique to the general public in the United Kingdom and abroad. He also consults to industry and the medical profession on stress-management, personal effectiveness and trauma healing. He offers bespoke Alexander Technique sessions in at his Studio in London and on-line.
Anthony was very honoured to have written the new introduction to the recently republished, 2019, Alexander classic: \\\”Use of the Self\\\”.
WA, USAUSA Cathy Madden is a Teaching Professor for the University of Washington School of Drama, Author of Teaching the Alexander Technique: Acting Pathways to Integrative Practice (Singing Dragon, 2018) and Integrative Alexander Technique Practice for Performing Artists: Onstage Synergy (Intellect 2014), and Director of the Integrative Alexander Technique Studio of Seattle. She is a founding member of Alexander Technique International, an ATI Sponsoring Teacher, has served and has served as its chair. Her original exploration of this work began with Marjorie Barstow and she is a regular visiting teacher at training schools and performance centers around the world. Her specialty is integrative practice of this work, particularly in relationship to the performing arts and professional communication, is part of the Integrative Alexander Technique Circle, and she is also a theatre director, clown, doula and Creative Collaborator with Lucia Neare Theatrical Wonders
IsraelIsrael Born in Jerusalem 1948. Graduated AT teacher 1978. Since 1989 I trained AT\\\’s teachers in Germany and in Israel. Studied Theater and literature. Exercised much Zen meditation and Qigong. I published some books of poetry in Hebrew. Now I am going to retired from my work in Germany and live in Tel Aviv.
Tokyo, JapanJapan Jeremy Chance, STAT cert.
Jeremy Chance has been studying Alexander’s discoveries since 1969. His book Principles of the Alexander Technique has been published and translated into 7 languages. Jeremy originally trained in London during the 1970s and continued his studies with Marjorie Barstow in the 1980s. From 1985 to 2002 he was the Publisher & Editor of DIRECTION, a Journal on the Alexander Technique. He was a founding member of AUSTAT in Australia and is currently a member of no Alexander organisations or societies. In 1999 Jeremy married and moved to Japan where he founded an Alexander Training School. Today he continues as Managing Director of BodyChance – still the world’s largest College of Alexander Technique Teacher Education, and now one of the oldest too.
*** LONGER VERSION ***
Jeremy began his three-year Alexander training in England in 1976 with Paul and Betty at the School of Alexander Studies in Highgate. After qualifying, he taught at the E15 and Rose Bruford Performing Arts schools in London before returning to Australia in 1982.
In Sydney, he taught regularly at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), The Actors Centre and The Actors College, while also regularly visiting the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), The Conservatorium of Music and many other leading art institutions around Australia.
During this time he founded two Alexander Technique teacher training schools in Sydney and Melbourne – Directed by other teachers. The Department of Immigration told Jeremy it had a 6-inch file full of applications for Alexander teachers to immigrate to Australia.
Next, at a residential conference where Erika Whittaker debuted her return to teaching – Jeremy established the Australian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (AUSTAT). What a mistake that was. From 1988 to 1993 he travelled throughout Europe and America, leading seminars and giving presentations to performing artists, business leaders, peer groups and the general public.
From 1986 to 2003, Jeremy was the Editor and Publisher of DIRECTION, an international Journal on the Alexander Technique (http://www.directionjournal.com) which is now being managed by Jean Fischer at Mouritz Press.
In 1998 Jeremy met Jaldhara, the mother of their children Grace and Angelica, and decided to settle in Kyoto and start an Alexander Teacher Training school. He initially named it ATA in honour of Don Burton’s trendsetting school of the 1980s in London. ATA eventually evolved into BodyChance and before COVID-19 hit, had 120+ trainees in the school – making it by far the largest school in the world.
BodyChance grew to this size as a result of Jeremy making a conscious decision to save his family by building his business. At 43 he embarked on a long-term project to become a master of business technology and over the next 20 years spent a lot of money and time studying his personally designed MBA. At first, Jeremy taught his own trainees how to gather students. Alexander\\\’s Discovery flourishes in Tokyo today as a result of his trainees using business skills learnt while training at BodyChance.
Out of this experience, Jeremy formed ATSuccess and began coaching Alexander teachers and trainees the world over. During this time Jeremy conceived and developed his 12-Point Plan for becoming a successful teacher. Today, the world’s largest online Alexander Training Organisation – Peter Jacobson’s Total Vocal Freedom – grew out of Peter’s association with ATSuccess. Many of today’s most commercially successful teachers have had some kind of contact with ATSuccess.
In 2018 Jeremy embarked on an expensive and ambitious program to introduce Alexander’s Discovery to corporations in Japan. He was about to sign an annual contract with a large corporation when COVID happened and the project fell into ruin. BodyChance also diminished from a peak of 140+ trainees to 68 trainees today. However, BodyChance survived COVID.
Jeremy still lives in Japan but spends as much time as he can in Australia to be with his daughters and family. He runs the world’s largest Alexander training school – BodyChance – and is about to embark on a major new project. If successful, this will constitute an unprecedented development for Alexander’s discovery, and a gamechanger for Alexscovery Teachers (AT) in Japan. Stay tuned…
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Isle of Man, United KingdomUnited Kingdom Trained in London with the Carringtons in the mid 1970s and remained for eleven years as one of their full-time assistants. Subsequently directed AT teacher training courses in Melbourne, Australia, Brighton, England, and New York, USA, training in total more than one hundred teachers. Now travels to teach in many different countries: see johnnichollsat.com for calendar, articles, videos, podcasts, and blog posts (which are actually mini essays on aspects of the Technique).
ItalyItaly Paolo Frigoli trained as an Alexander Technique teacher from 1989 to 1992. In subsequent years he spent long periods of professional development in UK at the Brighton Alexander Training Centre directed by John and Carolyn Nicholls, while he could also take regular lessons from Walter Carrington and Peggy Williams. Since then he has kept working regularly with John Nicholls who has become his mentor. Paolo has taught the Technique for 29 years individually and in groups, both in his private studio and in public institutions, and has been invited to teach in various Alexander schools. In 2008 he was on the Continuos Learning faculty at the International Congress in Lugano. In 2015 he started his own STAT approved teacher training course in Italy. Paolo qualified as a physiotherapist in 1989, then trained in the Mézierès method with Dr. Laura Bertelé and in the Cranio-Sacral Therapy of Dr. John Upledger, which is still part of his daily practice.
Clare, IrelandIreland Penelope was born in Wales, and studied Zoology at Cambridge University, England. She left a PhD there to train at the North London Alexander School, qualifying in 1989. She then worked with Miss Goldie for four years, who, it felt, stripped away everything she had learnt, and rebuilt it as she saw the technique should be –a scary process!
Since then, she has worked extensively with other teachers who had known her, including Erika Whittaker, to understand the essence of the difference of her understanding. During two separate years, Penelope was unable to walk with chronic fatigue syndrome. These years of illness became times of quiet retreat, deepening her work.
With the illness now gone completely, she has regained resilience, strength, and fitness, particularly through using the Initial Alexander technique, which she studied with Jeando Masoero, along with The Embodied Present Process with Philip Shepherd. The Miss Goldie workshops started as a 90-min workshop at the International Congress in 2004 (Oxford), and was then followed with workshops in the UK, Ireland, Germany, and New York, including the Limerick International Congress in 2015.
Her book: The Alexander Technique: the Twelve Fundamentals of Integrated Movement, based around Miss Goldie’s work, was published in March 2021.
Since COVID-19, she has run trainings for AT teachers on teaching online, based on the material from her book. She now lives and works in the beautiful West of Ireland, teaching locally and online. Her work facilitates the pupil to discover the technique for themselves, to find natural breathing, poise, quiet awareness, integration, true fitness and strength.
In her free time, she enjoys making discoveries about the technique through singing and reciting, piano playing, yoga and fitness work, gardening, running, dancing, and walking her dog.
United KingdomUnited Kingdom Peter Nobes has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1993. He is based in central London and has taught the Alexander work in thirteen countries on three continents.
Peter has been training teachers since 2013. He delivered the Keynote Speech at the ATI conference in 2016.
His book ‘Mindfulness in 3D – the Alexander Technique for the 21st Century’ was published in 2018. He is currently writing another book about how to make sense of FM\\\’s writings, provisionally titled \\\’Illusion or Reality – Are We Teaching What FM Was Teaching?\\\’
When he isn’t teaching, Peter builds wooden boats and then rows, paddles and sails them.
New ZealandNew Zealand Peter wore glasses for 27 years for myopia and astigmatism. His glasses became stronger year by year. Addressing this declining situation seriously and committedly he discovered in the early 1990’s how to apply FM’s principles to the process of seeing. It took him eighteen months until he was absolutely free of his – 10.5 diopter glasses.
At that time, Peter discovered that within the visual system an entire map of the human body resides and that the eyes themselves link to corresponding structures in the brain that govern the body, the emotions and the ability to think and reason.
Peter discovered the primary control mechanism within the higher visual region of the brain connected with our Souls blue print. Deviations from this blue print let us glide into dysfunctions of brain, eye, body and environmental nature.
Peter trained between 1984 and 1987 at the Sydney Alexander Training School. Over five years he studied with Marjory Barstow in Australia. The combined trainings gave Peter the foundation in hands-on work as well as the creative approach of applying the process to a new frontier. From there on he developed the inner understanding of the synapses and pathways of the brain to the improvement of the eye’s ability to re-integrate its functions, structure and response to cell memories and spiritual attributes.
His latest book Soulful Seeing – Conscious Living or The Art of Embodying Soul is based on Inhibition and Directions with Peters extensive experience including emotional and spiritual attributes integrating brain, eyes and body.
Peter brings humor to complex circumstances. While at home overlooking Wyuna Bay beach, Coromandel Peninsular in New Zealand, he spends his time enjoying nightly sunsets across the ocean, dancing, walking, hiking, biking, gardening, meditating, enjoying belonging to community of friends and deep family bonds – and loving spending time with his children and wild grandchildren.
Some of his published writings are available at the Congress in English, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese.
Private Sessions available: Peter is available from 20-22 August for a series of sessions in Berlin. This is prior to the congress and a great opportunity to work individually with Peter. For bookings contact email@example.com
For a full teaching program on workshops, 6 –day practice retreats around the world as well as a 3-week intensive only held in NZ visit www.eyebody.com
NB: If your interest is hosting a program with Peter or with some of his teaching staff, or are interested in translating a published Eyebody book into your native language, please contact Peter directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him during the congress.
Richard Brennan and Kecia Chin
Ireland, USAUSA Richard Brennan
Richard Brennan has studied the Alexander Technique since 1983 and has teaching individual and group sessions since 1989 having undergone a three-year teacher training course approved by STAT (UK); he travels internationally giving talks and courses on the Technique. He has taught the Technique at many educational centres including Galway University, Limerick University, DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama (Dublin), Dartington College of Arts (Devon), and Middlesex University (London). Temple University (USA). He regularly teaches on holiday courses in Spain, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Slovenia. He was a director of the 2015 Alexander Congress in Limerick as well as the 2013 and 2017 Alexander Teacher’s Conventions in Ireland.
He has written eight books on the Alexander Technique, which are translated into 22 languages and are on sale world-wide – the titles including The Alexander Technique Workbook, Change your Posture – Change your Life and How to Breathe
Richard has been the director of the only Alexander Teacher Training College in Ireland for the last 22 years, Ireland which is STAT and ISATT approved and is also a past president and the co-founder of the Irish Society of Alexander Technique Teachers. (ISATT). He strongly believes that the technique is in essence very simple and easy to understand, but often it is made far too complicated and uses this believe as the basis of all his workshops.
Kecia Chin qualified as a Teacher of the Alexander Technique in 1999 from ACAT New York and has been working in private and small groups ever since. She is also a certified Yoga Teacher with specialty in Hatha, Vinyasa, and Bikram yoga and uses both disciplines to help people with scoliosis and other postural issues.
As a yoga instructor she specializes in the Schroth Yoga method. Kecia uses the principles of Alexander method alongside yoga breathe therapy and designs specific Yoga Asanas for people with scoliosis. This helps to elevate back (upper, middle, lower) pain, or discomforts in shoulder, ribs and hip-as a result of scoliotic curvatures of the spine pain. She uses knowledge of anatomical alignment issues due to postural/spinal issues in her yoga practice specifically addressing form and function.
She helps clients to find ease and freedom during daily physical activities ranging from still postures (standing, sitting, sleeping). More importantly, how to practice pain prevention in more physically demanding postures and or asana practices in the many styles of yoga – – to simplify the everyday repetitive activities- working at a computer, playing sports, and exercises that compounded over time may cause long-term pain and/or discomfort.
Robin John Simmons
Wallis, SwitzerlandSwitzerland I trained with the Carringtons (1969-71). Since then I have been continuously giving individual lessons. Simultaneously I was privately studying T’ai Chi. In 1982 I began training AT teachers. Since I learnt the Dart Procedures from Walter Carrington when training with him, I have been continuously working with them and incorporate aspects of what Dart discovered in almost every Alexander lesson I give. I have also written a complete set of summaries of Alexander’s four books (The Gold Dust in the Writings of F.M. Alexander) which has been well received. In 2018, Mouritz published my book The Evolution of Movement which not only shows how to practice the Dart Procedures but also how the Procedures are grounded in the Alexander Technique.
New Mexico, USAUSA Robyn has been studying Alexander’s Work since 1975, being first introduced to it as a young professional performing artist. She is the Founding Director of the Contemporary Alexander School, offering self-paced, non-residential teacher training programs in Santa Fe, NM, Portland, OR, & NYC, and in satellite cities throughout North America; as well as Co-Director of the Alexander Alliance International, offering workshops, teacher training, and post-graduate studies throughout Europe and Asia. Robyn is also the Creator of Living in a BodyTM, a Professional Body Mapping Certification Course translated into 6 languages and taught worldwide.
Robyn’s primary studies were with Marjorie Barstow, Bruce Fertman, and the Alexander Alliance, and she now continues Marj’s lineage in her own training programs. In addition, Robyn has also had the pleasure of being mentored by numerous first and second generation teachers over the past 45 years, and enjoys exploring ways to bridge all styles.
At this point in her teaching career, Robyn’s main interests include training Alexander Teachers in Group Teaching/Crafting of Alexander Games; teaching in real life Situations and Activities; incorporating Body Mapping (LIABTM), Bridging Classical and Contemporary styles of the Work; and helping bring more awareness to Equity and Diversity issues within our profession.
Robyn lives in New Mexico & New York City, USA, shares her life with her wife of 30+ years, 2 adult sons, and 4 cats, and loves to tap dance.
Rosa Luisa Rossi
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Rosa Luisa Rossi has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1986, extensively applying the Technique working on herself and in activity.
She has a unique perspective on the Technique in the working world and has taught many different strata of workers, from labourers to corporate executives.
In the past she has worked for prestigious clients in Switzerland such as the Swiss National Bank, Zurich Insurance, Thomy Nestlé and Straumann SA.
As an AT freelancer she worked for Priska Gauger-Schelbert, Schwyz, Switzerland offering \”Health management at the working place\” for companies such as Victorinox SA & Siemens SA and more. With their work the value of the Technique is beginning to spread out to other companies and sectors in Switzerland.
Since 2014 Rosa Luisa has been hired as an Alexander Technique coach at IMD International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, working with several professors in different programs. These professors are experts in developing global leaders through high-impact executive education.
Rosa Luisa Rossi was one of the 2008 Int. AT Congress Directors in Lugano.
She helped create the Alexander Technique Congress Association ATCA in 2008 and has since been a member.
She is committed to helping to develop the Alexander Technique worldwide and teaches this work in G/E/F/I.
United KingdomUnited Kingdom As a child, Steven’s love of being in the water led him naturally to join his local swimming club where he took up competitive swimming. At the age of seventeen, he quit – burnt out from the long hours of hard training and suffering from a severely sprained neck and upper back. At this point in his life, he vowed never to return to swimming.
While at University he was introduced to the Alexander Technique™as a means of relieving his pain and became enthused by the ideas of F.M Alexander. In 1990 he started the three-year Alexander Technique™ teacher-training course in Israel.
During this time he began to re-explore his relationship with the water and by applying principles of the Alexander Technique™ in that element rediscovered his passion for swimming. He developed a new approach to teaching swimming – the Shaw Method.
Using his unique approach he has over the years helped thousands of people to find freedom and ease in the water. Steven enjoys working with swimmers and non-swimmers of all levels ranging from those who are fearful of putting their faces in the water to competitive swimmers looking for a healthier approach. He teaches groups and individuals throughout the UK and has introduced the Shaw Method to Japan, Australia
“Steven Shaw is the horse whisperer of swimming. Just as riding does not to be about breaking the horse, swimming does not have to be about fighting the water. Steven Shaw teaches you how to join with the water.\\\\\\\”
Steven is the Course Director of the Middlesex University accredited Diploma course in the Shaw Method and has trained more than 100 teachers. He is the co-author with a former pupil Armand D’Angour of the 1997 ‘Art of Swimming in a new direction with the Alexander Technique™ and has produced four DVDs. His second book on learning to swim with the Shaw Method, ’Master the Art of Swimming’ was published in 2006.
Massachusetts, USAUSA For the past 47 years Tommy has taught and applied the Alexander principles and concepts and has guided thousands towards a life well lived more to their satisfaction. This list includes Alexander teachers and trainees, professional and Olympic athletes, dressage riders, scientists, physicians, corporate and university professionals, musicians, dancers, actors, children, trauma victims, the sexually abused, and those with life threatening disease and the disabled to a more fulfilling and meaningfully satisfying life. He currently has an active in-person and online teaching practice and taught on 30 teacher training courses in the USA, Europe, the UK, Netherlands ,and Asia. He has given well over 1000 workshops internationally for Alexander teachers, teacher trainees and the general public in 16 countries including Ireland, France, Israel. Germany, Austria, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Spain, England, the USA, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Canada, and served as special assistant to the 1976 Olympic USA Heavyweight Rowing Crew. Tommy served on the faculty at Harvard University for 12 years where he taught the Technique to graduate students enrolled in the Institute for Advanced Theater Training, Harvard University/Moscow Art Theater and the American Repertory Theater. He is founder and Director of the Alexander Technique Center at Cambridge, where he has been training Alexander teachers since 1983. The Center was awarded The Best of Cambridge in Alternative and Holistic Health, by the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
A former Assistant Professor of Drama and Managing Director of Tufts Arena Theater at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, Tommy has acted and directed over 200 theater productions, working, acting or directing with such notable artists as Tennessee Williams in a revival of Eccentricities of a Nightingale (1977), and Michael Douglas, actor/producer and two time Academy Award Oscar winner.
Tommy is co-founder, charter member, and was inaugural Chair of Alexander Technique International (ATI). His contributions to ATI earned him the ATI Lifetime Membership Award. He is also an Honorary Member of ATI France (ATIF), the Irish Society of Alexander Technique Teachers (ISATT), a teaching member of the Japan Alexander Technique Association (JATA), and is Associate Director of Body Chance’s Japanese Alexander Teacher Education Program in Tokyo and Osaka.
Along with Richard A. Brown and Helen Rumsey Jones, wife of Frank Pierce Jones, Tommy co-founded the Alexander Technique Association of New England (ATA) in 1982 and the Frank Pierce Jones Archives and the F. Matthias Alexander Archives, initially housed in the Wessell Library at Tufts University. He was ATA’s director for six years. He is author of Touching Presence (with Rachel Prabhakar) and co-author of Scientific and Humanistic Contributions of Frank Pierce Jones. He has contributed numerous papers on the Alexander Technique, Tai Chi, and theater to Alexander and theater journals, periodicals, martial arts journals and newsletters. Tommy is currently writing another book, ‘An Awakened Life: Evolution of an Alexander Teacher and a revised edition of Touching Presence, translated recently in Japanese and French, with Korean and Spanish translations in-progress.
No newcomer to the Alexander Congresses, Tommy presented papers on his teacher, Dr Frank Pierce Jones at both the first and second International Congresses at Stoney Brook, NY and in Brighton, England and was one of the Second Generation teachers invited to give master classes at the Third International Congress in Engelberg, Switzerland, and has consistently given Continuous Learning classes at the Congresses since their inception. In 2016, along with Debi Adams and Bob Lada, he co-founded ‘In the Company of Support’ an annual Summer Retreat for advanced study in the Alexander work for teachers, trainees and the invited public. Each summer teachers and guest presenters from the Alexander community and in the Arts , Humanities and Science worldwide are invited to teach and participate.
At the onset of the Pandemic, Tommy launched ‘The Gift Of Our Understanding’ a series of online Zoom classes based on his then recently published book ‘Touching Presence,’ granting to those participants who completed the course a ‘Career and Life Enhancement Advanced Study Certificate’ from the Alexander Technique Center at Cambridge. The course continues and now extends beyond the scope of his book into an in depth exploration of how to apply the Alexander principles and concepts to the ever evolving and delightfully surprising evolution of your life. Tommy continues to teach privately in Cambridge, Massachusetts, both in person and online. And, post pandemic he continues to travel and teach in numerous countries.
Email: email@example.com Website: www.easeofbeing.com Summer Retreat: www.easeofbeingretreat.com
About Tommy’s approach to teaching from a review of his book ‘Touchng Beauty’ by Bruce Fertman and Penny Oconner:
Tommy uses the Alexander Technique as his vehicle through which he guides his students into living more compassionately conscious and self-embodied lives. Use is too narrow an arena for Tommy. He is interested in personal transformation.
In our profession, thankfully, we have many gifted teachers doing research into different aspects of Alexander’s work. Some of us are reductionists. Some of us are more physiologically oriented and want to zero in on the precise physiological mechanisms involved in bringing about improved use. This is exciting. At the same time, some of us, like Tommy, are what I would call expansionists. Tommy wants to expand Alexander’s work beyond the workings of the body into the workings of the heart and soul. That is where Tommy’s work lives. This too is exciting. For Tommy, Alexander’s work is a spiritual path, a way of life. I think this is true for many of us. Tommy is as much a healer and secular rabbi/sheik/priest as he is a teacher.
I am fine with this because when reading, Touching Presence, I feel in the presence of a person who is entirely himself, who teaches through who he is. He’s not imitating anyone. He teaches through his own personal ethical framework, expressing his own truth. He teaches through his own language. He teaches out of his own experience, sometimes painful experience. He’s real. He’s authentic.
Tommy often, like a Hasidic rabbi or Sufi sheik, teaches through story. He’s a good storyteller. He shares deeply moving stories with us of his birth, of growing up in the segregated south, of the love for and death of his wife, Julie. These are not just stories. The key concepts which Tommy holds dear about the Alexander Technique are clearly elucidated within these stories.
What are some of these key concepts? Here I will not go into detail; for that I suggest reading Touching Presence and if possible, studying with Tommy.
1.) Perhaps the deepest and most far reaching of all of Tommy’s key concepts is that of “withholding definition”. This is his way of talking about Alexandrian Inhibition, of a radical sort, one that allows a persons’ fixed sense of identity to become unfixed, fluid, changeable. Tommy’s work revolves around the issue of identity, how we define ourselves and by doing so, how we limit ourselves from experiencing who we are and what we might become. In the words of James Baldwin, “Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self: in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one’s nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned.” Tommy work seems to be about loosening the garment.
2.) Seeing a students’ beauty. Appreciating a student for how and who they are and letting your lessons unfold from there. Tommy’s work is profoundly non-corrective.
3.) Restoring a supportive sense of being as we do what we are doing. Remaining a human being rather than turning into a human doing. Our culture judgmentally demands: “Don’t just stand there, do something!” Tommy’s advice might be: “Don’t just do something, stand there.” First get a sense of where you are, what you are in relation with, how you are being, what you are experiencing and then let your doing arise out of this fullness of being.
4.) What most influences our students and allows them to change depends not so much on what we do but on who we are when we are with them. Ram Dass says, “The only thing you have to offer another human being, ever, is your own state of being.” Maybe Ram Dass heard that from Tommy! Sounds like Tommy.
Touching Presence does not read like a novel, or a textbook, certainly not a manual. Reading Tommy requires some work and some time. I found myself reading just a paragraph or two and then having to stop, become still, quiet, and just think, reflect, meditate before reading on. Touching Presence reads more like a Buddhist Sutra, or like the Cloud of Unknowing, where something important is said over and over again. Humility…is nothing else but a true knowledge and experience of yourself as you are. (Cloud of Unknowing). Or, The word is not the thing. (The Diamond Sutra). Or, Form is emptiness, and emptiness, form. (The Heart Sutra). Ideas not for thinking once and then forgetting, but rather ideas you sit on, like a mother hen, until one day, CRACK, your mind opens, your heart opens, and new possibilities you never could have imagined, present themselves.
If you are training to become an Alexander teacher, or if you are an Alexander teacher and if you are interested not only in The Use of the Body, but are really interested in The Use of the Whole Self, if you wish to go beyond teaching about the body and about movement, if you are interested in your physio-spiritual life, then this book may help you along your way.
– Bruce Fertman
STAT Teaching Member
Alexander Technique Teacher and Trainer
“At this time when the world is falling out of touch, ‘Touching Presence is an antidote and reminder of its importance.”
‘Touching Presence’ is a gift.
STAT Teaching Member
GermanyGermany Ulli’s educational path began in 1974 with studies in art and led to training as a dance pedagogue and Gestalt therapist and then to the Alexander Technique. 1985 Opening of the Studio FREIRAUM. Birth of her son Nikolai in 1995. She completed her training with Chris Stevens and Nadia Kevan in 1994. She owns her own Trainingsschool, Alexander-Technik-Schule Hamburg since 2005. Robert Britton and Giora Pinkas taught there regularly, in addition to many guest teachers. To continue her education and for international exchange she enjoys to go to AMMAS-Meetings.
Due to her mother’s Alzheimer’s dementia, she developed a work with Alexander Technique, dance and voice, which she taught for 12 years in a retirement home. During this time the film was made: “F.M.Alexander-Technik bei Alzheimer-Demenz” Mechthild Rickheit/Ulli Pawlas 2004/2008. This film is available on DVD as well,including a small booklet.
For 37 years, the Alexander Technique has permeated her life, every day and always. “A technique for life,” F.M. Alexander once said. To serve this work makes her happy and grateful.
She is as well very grateful for the many years of guidance of her Zen teacher Kurt KyuSei Österle in meditation and in his own developed practice of Archery.
Currently, she published the booklet: F.M.says:”Always have something to look forward to…” Quotes of the week. A collection of Alexander-Quotes sent out to colleagues, during the Pandemic from March 2020 to March 2021. To buy in the bookshop or under https://www.verlag-iris-foerster.de/p/f-m-says-always-have-something-to-look-forward-to