I began studying the Alexander Technique to solve a performance problem. In 2000, as I was beginning my career in New York as a classically-trained soprano, my voice teacher observed some physical habits of collapsing that were affecting my vocal production, and referred me to an Alexander Technique teacher. After my first few lessons, I indeed heard changes in my singing - a fuller, richer, easier sound emerged. I noticed that a nagging shoulder ache from sitting at a desk at my day job disappeared. But my biggest eye-opener was the realization that the Alexander Technique was transforming my approach to daily life.
Daily stresses didn’t weigh on my system so much: I felt overall ease as I used the whole of myself with more balanced coordination. I entered audition rooms and concert stages with confidence and poise, not only about my singing but about myself. What I had learned from my teacher was a tool that I could call upon at any moment of the day, without special equipment or help from a practitioner.
Any time, anywhere, I could stop holding my breath and inhabit a more vital, energized self.
I took private lessons regularly with Gwen Ellison (Bard College Conservatory of Music) in New York City for almost a decade, and for the past five years have worked with Jessica Wolf (Yale School of Drama), also undertaking study in her own method The Art of Breathing. I experienced some physical challenges with the birth of my son in 2009 – the ups and downs of pregnancy and parenthood brought into sharp focus the need to care for myself in order to meet a new set of demands. Back pain crept in, and I wished for a deeper understanding of the technique. In 2011 I entered the Teacher Certification program at Alexander Technique NYC under the directorship of John Nicholls and Nanette Walsh, completing 1600 hours of training over three years, and earned American Society for the Alexander Technique membership as a certified teacher (m.AmSAT) in 2014. I received Level One certification in The Actor's Secret teacher training with Betsy Polatin in 2016.
I am currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where I teach AT in the Musical Theatre division. I am joining the faculty of Respiro Opera's training program in NYC for summer 2018. I have also taught AT at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and am a faculty member of the Riverside Initiative for the Alexander Technique, where I work with trainees who are certifying to become Alexander teachers. I have led workshops for the University of Michigan Musical Theatre program, Music Educators Association of NYC/United Federation of Teachers, the Brooklyn Music School Opera Studies Program & their Opera Works Summer Vocal Arts Intensive, the Danbury Chamber Music Intensive and the Wellbody Wellness Retreat (Chatham, NY). I offer private lessons and ongoing small group classes for performers at my teaching studio on Union Square in Manhattan.
Photo by Scott Whittle