Name of teacher / supervisor
Helga Langen
Hildegarde De Baets

Period, duration
Block 1: week 36-42, 45- 46
Block 2: week 47-51, 2-3
Block 3: week 9-14
Block 4: week 19-23

Study load
Total 74,5 hours. +/- 12 self-study hours.
(Total hours differ per student due to individual attention.)

1, 3, 6

Alexander technique is used to consciously change inefficient habits of coordination, posture, breathing and tension patterns. The technique was originally developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander as a method of vocal training for singers, actors and speakers in the 1890’s. It focused initially on helping students achieve a more efficient use of their vocal and breathing mechanism. Alexander came to a rather unusual understanding for his time, namely that mind and body function as an integrated unity and that therefore, breathing and vocalisation are part of how the body functions as a whole. The technique evolved from a method of vocal training and breathing re-education into a technique of psychophysical re-education. Alexander technique today deals with the psychophysical coordination of the whole person, or as Alexander termed it: as ‘the use of the self’.

Content and design of the class
The students are encouraged to become aware and to let go of inefficient habits that interfere with their free balance, coordination and well-being. Good postural habits in Alexander technique are considered to be: freedom of movement, head poise, trunk mobility and alignment, stability with minimal co-contraction, with emphasis on trunk stability in movement. These “good habits” improve attention and the skill to remain calm in many diverse activities. They reduce stress reactions and enhance calmer breathing leading to a three-dimensional movement. The student gradually gains knowledge and embodied understanding about their possibilities and limitations. These may vary in relation to their development, growth and circumstances. The student is encouraged to create the best possible conditions for themselves, so they can express their art fully. In the lessons habits are addressed while students are executing simple activities such as sitting down or walking and later in more complex dance movements, or vocalisations. The teacher instructs the student — with verbal and manual guidance — to approach movement differently, recognising patterns of habit that may be interfering with coordination and ease of movement and learning how to discontinue them. Over a course of group lessons the teacher introduces concepts and practices that expands the awareness of the functioning of the nervous system, muscular system and skeletal system.

Learning goals
The student:

-    starts to recognise that the way they use themselves has an impact on their functioning.
-    learns how to recognise personal habits that impede the coordination of mind and body and how to change them for the better, developing the proprioceptive sense.
-    starts to recognise unnecessary tension patterns and stress in simple activities, dance classes and performances.
-    develops a basic understanding of the principles like inhibition, directions, consciousness of habits, primary control, faulty sensory appreciation and starts to apply these in daily life and dance life.
-    has knowledge about the historical context of the Technique and the development of the ‘Principles’

Working method(s) used
Theory assignments, individual lessons, group classes, self-study during class, peer teaching and feedback, reflection and analysis.

Used study material
Written material and articles related to the technique, videos, games.

Assessment criteria
Attendance, participation in feedback, collaboration, development in the skills of AT, written reports. Transferring the theoretical knowledge into practical understanding and embodiment.

Method of assessment
Feedback Observation, Exercises Written assignments and reflective diaries related to relevant literature and material offered during the classes showing a growing embodied understanding of the work.

Learning goals in the class contribute to the overall development of the competency indicators 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.8, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 6.1, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6 The overall development of the student is assessed at integral assessment meetings, twice a year, through combined self-assessment and assessment by teachers, coaches and mentors. This course forms a continuous line with student’s daily life movement, dance classes and performances. Lessons are connected with student’s “physical profile” and the feedback they receive in their dance, theatre and performance classes.