Why Combine Meyerhold and Alexander?

Work in Biomechanics can be quite demanding physically. It is therefore of particular value to approach this work in as physically free a way as possible. Kathleen Baum has developed an approach to Biomechanics where the Alexander Technique becomes the "means whereby" students can find ease in the work. Alexander provides a highly sensitive means for individuals to become aware of their "use" of self. It then provides positive "directions: to guide the individual in finding more efficient and "easeful" and therefore less strenuous and stressful ways of doing any activity. Kathleen begins any series of classes in Biomechanics by introducing the students to the fundamental principles of Alexander. These principles then serve as a touchstone through all phases of the Meyerhold work.

If students have a sufficient acquaintance with Alexander to be able to work with the fundamental directions, they become able

  • to meet the demands for athleticism, precision, endurance and concentration that Biomechanics makes of them with far greater poise and ease.
  • to direct their thought and therefore their muscular energy and effort in such a way that their muscles will tend to lengthen and their joints will tend to open rather than clenching.
  • to develop a positive way to address the issue of tension. Rather than trying to "relax" a body part, they will "direct" it into length.

On first glance, the Alexander Technique and Biomechanics might seem to be about as diametrically opposed as two ways of working could be. But on a deeper level these two approaches share fundamental concerns.

  • Most generally, both focus on process rather than result. They focus on how one does a thing or on "the path" one takes rather than on what one does.
  • Both are highly conscious ways of working.
  • Both seek to develop the "mind-body connection" and both place great faith in the ability of the "mind-body" to reorganize the individualís way of doing any task to make it more "intelligent," more efficient.
  • Both demand a dual awareness of the student: an acute sensitivity to her/ his own inner condition combined with a lively awareness of everyone and everything around her/ him.
  • Finally, all these aspects of the two ways of working are in the service of human potential. Both the Alexander Technique and Biomechanics develop the student in specific ways that allow her/ him to expand the range of what is possible, to find freedom through the choices that are opened up by a greater integration of mind and body and by a greater degree of connection between inner and outer worlds.

Photo: by Gerard E Moses
Kathleen Baum's Class At the Syracuse University Drama Department

Created: March 10, 2002 -- April 07, 2002
© 2002 Kathleen Baum lafkath@aol.com
All Rights Reserved - E&OE: Errors and Omissions Excepted
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