ENGLAND – Second Alexander Alliance Post Graduate Training Program – Dorset, England – October 3-9, 2018 – April 8-14/October 3-9, 2019 – April 22-28, 2020
One of the foremost representatives of Marjorie Barstow’s lineage, Bruce’s work is unique and innovative. Bruce is especially gifted when it comes to teaching in groups. He’s a philosopher, poet and writer who gives voice to what is wonderful about the Alexander Technique.
Founding Director of the International Congresses for the Alexander Technique
Gone is the straight-lined striving, the stopping and oughting. Instead curiosity, inquisitiveness, and permission to experiment, to play, to open boxes and to climb out of them into a world of possibility – a world both soft and strong. And all this through a quiet power, an exquisite touch, a clarity of speech, and a wealth of wisdom. For me, Bruce’s work is more than exciting; it is important, both to the world and to anyone involved in any way with Alexander’s Technique.
Alexander Technique Teacher, England
Post Graduate Training Program
The Alexander Alliance Post Graduate Training Program is a two year course, composed of four 7-day retreats. Retreats will be held in April and in October. The course is open to all certified AT teachers. Teachers are awarded a certification attesting to their having completed an Alexander Alliance Post Graduate Training Program.
Here’s the material we’ll be covering.
The Physics and Metaphysics of Touch
The secret to fortune is joy, joy in your hands.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hands close and open, grasp, cling, clench, and release. Hands express. They welcome, warn and inform, and in our case, hands educe. Educative hands lead out that which lies within. Together we will increase our tactual palette, become more tactually literate, learn new ways of using our hands sensitively and effectively.
We understand well the paramount importance of personal use while teaching, and the direct impact our use has on our quality of touch. As important as good use is, my 55 years of experience using my hands to help people move well has taught me that additional knowledge into the hand’s inherent design can help us acquire hands that are, at once, soft and powerful, light and deep, stabilizing and mobilizing, quieting and energizing. As there are primary colors, so too there are primary touches: push, pull, slide, spin, and roll. In other words, physics.
We will also consider the metaphysics of touch. It’s a disservice to reduce a person to their body. I never touch a person’s body. I only touch a person. Our goal is to touch a person’s being through their body. But to touch a person’s being through their body we have first to be able to see a person’s being through their body, which means knowing how to see beyond posture,
beyond body mechanics, beyond use.
How To Teach An Engaging Introductory Workshop
I offer a template, a simple framework, evolved over 40 years of teaching AT, for clearly and effectively introducing Alexander’s work within a group setting. It’s easy to learn. It leaves you free to choose the content you wish to impart to others. Introducing the technique to a group of students can be intimidating for Alexander teachers. Knowing this simple structure makes it much easier.
I will be giving two one-day introductory workshops within each seven day training retreat. Each of these one-day workshops will introduce Alexander’s work from a different point of view. We will enter Alexander’s work through five different doors, through sport, through nature, through social biology, through theology, and through art. These eight days of introductory workshops are part of the Post Graduate Training Program.
Systems Of Support
Alexander teachers excel in engaging tensegrity support throughout the body. It’s the support system that creates the hallmark experience of kinesthetic lightness. But there are other essential systems of support, complimentary systems that most Alexander teachers do not excel at accessing, such as ground support, organ support, and spatial support. When these complimentary systems of support integrate with tensegrity support the side effect of postural stiffness, so prevalent in our work, subsides.
Walking as an Alexandrian Procedure
It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.
Francis of Assisi
Walking, when understood, is the Alexandrian procedure that most naturally integrates rotational and spiraling motions into our upright structure, motions that are conspicuously absent in Alexander’s other procedures, as wonderful as those procedures are. Walking, when taught dynamically, helps dissipate postural holdings, often resulting in a profound sense of freedom and power.
Once when I asked Erika Whittaker what she felt like after working with Alexander, she said, “When the lesson was over, I could have said thank you, and walked out the door, or I could have said thank you, and walked through the wall.”
We’ll spend time learning about the mechanics of walking, as well as how to use our hands to help our students walk naturally, freely, and powerfully.
Working in Activity
Ironically, working in activity is not about activity. As Alexander teachers we are more than movement efficiency and effectiveness experts. Alexander work is not about how we do what we do. Alexander’s work is about how we are being when we do what we do. As T.S. Eliot expresses so profoundly, our work is about… the still point of the turning world…
We bring people in touch with the still point. Activities are the turning world. We cannot work on the still point without the turning world. Working in activity is a straightforward way to work on the integration of being and doing.
Have you noticed it’s relatively easy to make good use of Alexander’s work when we are doing well, but nearly impossible when confronted with something truly challenging or threatening? How can we practice sticking to principle under emotionally charged circumstances, when relating to family members, when encountering problems at work, while coping with physical injury and pain, when overwhelmed by stressful thoughts and emotions? Working Situationally is a procedure I developed, slowly, over the past 40 years. That is to say Working Situationally is a “way of proceeding,” to teach people how to employ Alexander’s work when under trying conditions and faced with harsh realities.
Understanding Human Directionality
Salmon Rising/Water Falling is an Alexander etude developed by me over many years, which helps make our invisible directional weave of support visible. Everyone seems to love learning these patterns. These oppositional yet complimentary kinesthetic pathways course their way through us and, when awakened, integrate us, allowing our bodies and beings to become light and substantial, soft and strong, firm and flexible, calm and clear, articulate and unified.
Contemplative Anatomy is my approach to Body Mapping as conceived by Bill Conable and taught through the Albinus Copperplate Engravings. An Alexandrian direction is like a key that can open a lock. But for the key to work it must fit the lock. We must first understand the pattern hidden within the lock itself. Mapping is about uncovering our false notions about the inner workings of these locks, and replacing these false notions with the truth of our inherent design. The truth sets us free. Mapping is an invaluable tool for Alexander teachers.
Good technique doesn’t show. Paradoxically, in our pursuit of naturalness, artifice unwittingly appears. Stayed uprightness, a preoccupation with how we look, over monitoring of how we move, overly symmetrical posturing, and a loss of physical spontaneity are not uncommon to us. Occupational hazards sort to speak. Naturalness remains mysteriously elusive. How can we learn to recognize and undo our subtle post-Alexander habits?
Constructive Conscious Surrender
As Alexander teachers we’re interested in freeing ourselves and helping to free our students. But it is all too easy to become obsessive about our bodies and about the Alexander Technique. Obsession is an unfreedom. It binds us. At times it’s necessary and healthy for us to let go of the Alexander Technique, to leave ourselves alone and let the work do itself. Freedom from the very notion of freedom. There’s a time for constructive conscious control, and there’s a time for constructive conscious surrender.
Cost: £1850 per year, £1600 if registered by August 31st, 2018.
When: October 3-9, 2018 – April 8-14/October 3-9, 2019 – April 22-28, 2020
Where: Gaunts House, Petersham Lane, Gaunts, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 4JQ
Accommodation: There are a variety of accommodations available at Gaunts House, allocated on a first come first served basis. Basic cost for a twin room is from £60 per day. Costs include all meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as unlimited teas and coffee throughout the day. Please indicate your preference when registering and any dietary requirements.
Registration: Please email Ruth firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 7590 406267
If you have any questions whatsoever and you’d like to talk to me personally, I’d be happy to talk to you. Write to me at email@example.com and we can arrange a time to talk.
I look forward to working with you,
About Bruce Fertman
In Bruce’s class you feel as if you are sitting by a deep, soft lake. His pace and patience, his quiet confidence allows people to unfold and open layer by layer. The superfluous falls away leaving only life’s inner vitality effortlessly expressing itself through you.
He is the embodiment of his work. His touch is like a butterfly settling down on the very turning point of your soul. And then you know, “That’s who I am, that is who I could be.”
M. Tueshaus, Alexander Teacher / Tango Teacher/ Equestrian
Bruce has been using his hands, helping people to move well, for fifty-five years. He trained with five first generation Alexander teachers: Catherine Merrick Wielopolska, Marjorie L. Barstow, Richard M. Gummere Jr., Elisabeth Walker, and Erika Whittaker. Bruce brings a lifetime of training as a movement artist and educator to his work as an Alexander teacher, having trained in Gymnastics, Modern Dance, Ballet, Contact Improvisation, Tai Chi Chu’an, Aikido, Chanoyu, Argentine Tango, and Kyudo. In 1982, Bruce co-founded the Alexander Alliance International, an intergenerational, multicultural community/school. Currently director of the Alexander Alliance Germany, Bruce also teaches annually for Alexander Alliance training programs in Japan, Korea, and America. He conducts post graduate training programs in Dorset and Zurich. Currently, Bruce is near completion of Teaching By Hand/Learning By Heart – Delving Into The Work Of F.M. Alexander, which will soon be published by Mouritz press.