From Our ACAT Faculty: My First Contact with the Alexander Technique, by Kim Jessor

k_Jessor_1642by Kim Jessor It was 1977. I had recently graduated from college, and had come to New York to be a dancer. I was living in Soho, taking dance classes, rehearsing and performing in lofts, and living the downtown New York arty life I had dreamed of. But then my knees began to give me trouble. Like F. M. Alexander, the medical world had no answers for me, nothing showed up on an x-ray, rest was advised. I was desperate; the life I had envisioned, the great joy dancing brought me and how much my young identity was tied up in it, seemed to be slipping away from me. At Sarah Lawrence College I had known Missy Vineyard. I knew she had become an Alexander teacher, and I had another dancer friend with knee trouble who was studying with Missy. They were the first people to tell me of this work that would change my life. I don’t remember clearly how I found my way to Jessica Wolf for my first lesson. She was still in her final semester of training. Once I went with her for a supervisory lesson to Judy Liebowitz’s (one of ACAT’s founders) apartment!

While I can no longer recapture the specific details of that lesson, I do remember that I experienced myself in an entirely new way, with this unfamiliar quality of ease and lightness. I left with a renewed sense of hope and possibility. I immediately called Jessica and asked her to meet me for lunch to talk about what training entailed. I told her I wanted to become a teacher of this Technique. She explained to me that I would need to take more lessons in order to apply, which I subsequently did. But I knew right away—this was the work I wanted to do. I was completely compelled by my experience, by the sense that there was a way out of my knee pain, and that the work combined my love of movement with my enjoyment of the process of teaching. I studied with Jessica for awhile, then Andrea Hanson, and in 1979 excitedly entered the ACAT teacher certification program. Many years later, I continue to teach others to become Alexander teachers at ACAT, and still thoroughly love this work.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]KIM JESSOR received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1976, where she danced and choreographed under Bessie Schoenberg. She received her ACAT certification in 1981 and has taught since then on ACAT’s faculty, serving as Director of the Teacher Certification Program from 1991-1994. Kim has taught at the Juilliard School, Mannes College of Music, the Michael Howard Acting Studio, the New York Open Center, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, the Chautauqua summer music program, Penland School of Crafts, and the Miller Healthcare Institute for Performing Arts Medicine, among others. Kim has written articles on applying the Technique to marathon running and on her work with survivors of 9/11. She has also presented at several national meetings. Currently she is on the faculty at NYU’s Graduate Acting Program/Tisch School of the Arts, while maintaining a private practice in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Kim has done post certification work with Barbara Kent, Pearl Ausubel, Ann Mathews and Rika Cohen. She is also certified in Body-Mind Centering from Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen.[/author_info] [/author]