The Alexander Technique and the Arts
You’ve seen the Alexander Technique at work on stage and screen.
Christopher Reeve used it in the late 1970s and ’80s to transform from Clark Kent to Superman, slumping “down” so his movements became awkward and unbalanced as the mild-mannered reporter, then standing “up” with obvious balance and ease as the Man of Steel.
John Cleese used the Alexander Technique in 1988 to perform his hilarious striptease in A Fish Called Wanda.
Other performers who have used the Alexander Technique to enhance their work include Colm Feore, Cynthia Dale, Brent Carver, Martha Henry, Benedict Campbell, Paul Gross, Colin Davis, William Hurt, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Kevin Kline, Paul McCartney, Kelly McGillis, Paul Newman, Lynn Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Mary Steenburgen, Sting, Robin Williams, Joanne Woodward, Ben Kingsley, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Juliette Binoche, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine, and Hilary Swank.
The Alexander Technique forms part of the training for performing artists throughout the western world. Following are just some of the schools that include the Alexander Technique in their programs.
- University of Alberta, Augustana Campus
- University of Alberta, Department of Drama
- Capilano University
- James Bay Community School Centre
- McGill University, Faculty of Music
- Montréal Symphony Orchestra, Standard Life Competition
- Le Domaine Forget, Music and Dance Academy
- University of Alberta, Department of Music
- North Shore Continuing Education, North Vancouver
- Opera Nuovo, Vocal Arts Festival, Edmonton
- Option-théâtre du Collège Lionel-Groulx
- Globe Theatre, Regina
- The Royal Conservatory of Music
- Union des artistes
- Université du Québec à Montréal, Department of Dance
- University of Manitoba, Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music
- University of Toronto, Faculty of Music
- University of Victoria, Division of Continuing Studies
- University of Victoria, School of Music
- Victoria Piano Summer School
- York University, Department of Theatre
In the United States:
- American Conservatory Theater
- The Juilliard School
- The Old Globe Theatre, San Diego
- San Francisco Conservatory of Music
- University of California
- University of Maryland
- The University of Texas at Austin
- Boston University
- University of Michigan
- Guildhall School of Music & Drama
- The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
- The Manchester School of Music
- Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
- Royal College of Music
The Alexander Technique has also been used by some of the world’s great writers.
“With all its demands,” Robertson Davies wrote, “the Alexander Technique is worth every moment it asks for, and those once committed to it may well find that they cannot do without it. It is an enlargement of whatever life may be yours.”
And Aldous Huxley affirmed, “Together with improved physical and mental health, I have found that the Alexander Technique has brought about a general heightening of consciousness on all levels.”