by Kim Jessor and Rebecca Tuffey
Every year, the ACAT General Meeting (AGM) is accompanied by a series of workshops. This year, the Post-AGM workshop, "Identity and Embodiment in an Alexander Technique Lesson" is taught by Kim Jessor and Rebecca Tuffey. Find more information and register for the workshop here. [-Ed.]
As we write this, it's Martin Luther King's birthday weekend. In the past week we have heard Oprah's powerful speech at the Golden Globes, and our president making racist remarks. Kim just saw Hamilton and witnessed her former student, a Haitian-American, in the role of George Washington...
The conversations about identity, power, and belonging in our nation are happening at high volume and frequency. As our work - the Alexander Technique - demonstrates, it matters how we have these conversations, not just that we have them.
We're mulling over all of this, and looking forward to the opportunity to engage in an experiential investigation with colleagues in our upcoming workshop at the ACAT post-AGM. We feel the moment is ripe for the Alexander community to explore identity and embodiment and join the conversation about issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
How is my "identity" manifested in my "use of self"? As a teacher, how is my "use" influenced by my student's identity? What does it mean to be free and how do my ideas and practices of identity facilitate or deter freedom in another? In myself?
We have been inspired by the work of the AT Diversity Coalition initiated by Alexander teachers Aik Hooi Lee, Allyna Steinberg, Renee Schneider, Pyeng Threadgill, Belinda Mello, and Mona Al-Kazemi. Members of the coalition presented a workshop entitled Building for Diversity in our Alexander Technique Practices and Teacher Training Courses at last year's AmSAT AGM, and will be presenting a panel and workshop at the International Alexander Congress in Chicago in July. Rebecca and Kim both recently joined this coalition.
We both teach in universities where these conversations are happening at many levels. Universities are actively seeking a more diverse student body. Faculty are supported to gain awareness and skills and to become more culturally competent. We have participated in workshops on these subjects, including Supporting Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Students, Creating Brave Space, Race and Casting, and A Conversation about Micro-aggressions in the Classroom and Beyond: Creating Inclusive Learning Environments.
While we are still in the beginning stages of learning ourselves, we feel we have material to bring to the table and welcome the participation of others.
Our goal in this workshop is to create an environment where people can feel comfortable exploring this material through awareness games, conversations and bringing it into the realm of teacher/student observation, hands-on work, and the discovery of verbal communication that is appropriate and specific
We hope you will feel inspired to join us on Sunday, February 4th from 10-12.
For more information and to register for the workshop, go here
KIM JESSOR (ACAT 1981) is a senior faculty member at ACAT and a former Director of ACAT's Teacher Certification Program. She is on the faculty of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program and undergraduate New Studio on Broadway Musical Theater Program, and also has a private practice specializing in performing artists.
REBECCA TUFFEY (ACAT 2004) is an associate faculty member at ACAT. She teaches BFA actors and musicians on the faculties of Pace University School of Performing Arts and The New School. In her private practice, Rebecca works with people of many ages and inclinations. Rebecca is a member of a multi-racial family. www.RebeccaTuffey.net