COMPANION

Jeanne Day

Jeanne Day, British teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training.

Life

Jeanne Day was born in 1918. She trained for the certificate of Horse Exam, was a nanny, and during WWII joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service, worked as a farm worker, worked in the Royal Women’s Voluntary Service. After the war she ran a small art gallery in Cornwall.

Jeanne’s first contact with the Alexander Technique was in 1959, through a friend of her mother’s, Winnifred Dussek. (Dussek had started her teacher training with Alexander in 1954 and finished with Walter Carrington.) Jeanne’s mother was Dussek’s first pupil. Jeanne was so impressed with the changes to her mother that she borrowed The Use of the Self and started having lessons herself in 1960. She went on to train with the Carringtons 1961–64. She took over Tony Spawforth’s teaching practice in Copenhagen in 1965. Here she met Aksel Haahr whom she married in 1968. (Aksel also trained with the Carringtons, c. 1967–70.)

Jeanne and Aksel Haahr moved to Dartington, just outside Totnes in Devon, in 1971. However they soon moved to Glasgow where they had a flourishing practice, teaching many students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. They left their Glasgow practice and moved back to Dartington where they started a teachers training course in 1980. It was a successful course, but was seriously affected by Aksel’s death in 1984. Jørgen Haahr (Aksel’s son from his first marriage) – who had assisted on the training course – left and set up his own training course in 1988. Jeanne continued with the training course until 1990. She then moved to St Andrews in Scotland where she started a training course with Caroline Norris, a course which ran until 1999. She moved back to Devon in 2006, where she continued to teach.

Interview

  • ‘Jeanne Day – A portrait of a life with the Alexander Technique’ by Jean M. O. Fischer covers her life story until 2008.[1]

Remembrances

  • ‘Jeanne Day’ by Bridget Penwarden, Robin Möckli Webster, Jean Clark.[2]

Jeanne Day *1918 – †31 July 2010.

References

[1] ‘Jeanne Day – A portrait of a life with the Alexander Technique’ by Jean M. O. Fischer in Conscious Control vol. 2 no. 1, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 2008), pp. 70–79.
[2] ‘Jeanne Day’ by Bridget Penwarden, Robin Möckli Webster, Jean Clark in STATNews vol. 7, no. 4 edited by Ann James (STAT, January 2011), p. 21.