Acting (Actors) – Primary Control in the Alexander Technique (Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Psychology)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on May 23, 2012

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Acting (Actors’) Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical. It will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create an extraordinarily acted performance.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

Primary Control is the basis of organized coordinated acting in the Alexander Technique. When an actor is acting with the most organized movements possible, then the head is leading the actor’s spine into lengthening, as the torso expands from a decompressed, vertically balanced, and aligned spine.

This means that all of the nerves that radiate from the spinal cord have no pressure on them. So, the nerves can send the signals from the brain for movement and/or muscular support, as you act, without being slowed down by the vertebrae and muscles pinching the nerves.

The brain and spinal cord always organize the movement that the body produces, but when the Primary Control is interfered with by muscular tension and compression and poor posture, then that organization is poor organization. THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE IS ALL ABOUT THE QUALITY OF AN ACTOR’S POSTURE AND TECHNIQUE, AS A PLACE TO START BEFORE TAKING ON A ROLE THAT CAN BE POSTURALLY HARD.

The Alexander Technique recognizes that a huge amount of wear and tear and physical pain to the actor is caused by what you do to your body in a role, not by who you’re playing or how long the role is sustained for on stage.

The assumption in the Alexander Technique is that we are born with an innate ability to move with beautiful Primary Control, and that babies crawl with the head leading a lengthening spine naturally, given that the baby is healthy in a healthy environment.

If you were to observe a 1,000 actors acting, you’d be hard put to see one actor with beautiful Primary Control (given that none of them had done any Alexander Technique work). What does acting without a compromised Primary Control look like?

The actor stands or sits starting fully upright with a completely mobile body (not trying to stand or sit straight). The actor’s neck is free and the actor is aware that the head is leading a lengthening spine upward, which means that the actor is able to start from a neutral posture, as he or she takes on the role of a particular character without causing the actor physical harm in character, with a head that continues to lead a lengthening decompressed spine.

This means that the actor is completely engaged in acting without compressing the spine even if he or she is playing a bent over elderly person. This fully lengthening mobile posture balancing on free legs on grounded feet or the sit bones, gives the body of the actor a balanced torso to move from, so that the actor can effortlessly create roles.

When the artist’s shoulders are floating on a fully lengthening torso, then the shoulder girdle is free to float on the supported torso as the actor acts, and the shoulder girdle doesn’t have to tense up to hold itself on a collapsed forward/downward torso, which would compromise the actor projecting his or her voice.

When the actor’s body is organized by the Primary Control, then the actor is free to place all of his or her awareness on an acting technique that isn’t being compromised by a compromised Primary Control. In other words, if the actor’s body is collapsed or over-tense with poor head/neck/spine organization, then the pure specific acting technique of the actor can never be what it would be, since it is not backed up by a balanced body.


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