Subtitled 'The Alexander Technique in Context', this is one of a number of Alexander books and CDs offered by integrated health care publisher, HITE. With a most inspiring and moving foreword from the late Elisabeth Walker, here is a book that places the Alexander work right into the 21st century.
It is a collection of 23 contemporary articles written by experts in their field, many of them teachers, introducing readers to Alexander Technique in diverse areas of human endeavour. The choices and presentation are a credit to the editors. Their intention is to appeal to those familiar with the work and those new to it.
These articles, a few of which read like academic papers, are in-depth treatments of a wide range of topics: psycho-physical unity, the teaching hand, the technique in relation to health care, sensual awareness, the evolution of the work, learning, sex, chairs, birth, cycling, musical performance and more.
The first of two pieces that especially interested me was 'Speaking with the Tongues of Men and of Angels' concerning '. . . the influences that guided and shaped Alexander's early enquiry'. Malcolm Williamson's meticulous investigation, which also draws on the Evans' papers and the work of previous writers on Alexander history such as Rosslyn McLeod and Jeroen Staring, results in extensive annotation but this piece is full of fascinating facts and connections that certainly put Alexander's work into a context with his time.
The second, 'Missing the Points', is Christine Ackers' witty (yet very serious), illustrated treatise on chairs - award-winning chairs in particular - and what is happening to us by sitting in them. She comments that '. . . as a piece of furniture that will make a handsome contribution to musculo-skeletal disorders and poor physiological function, [the chair] is supreme.' It looks as if it's time for a seating revolution!
The back cover says that '. . . this collection is essential reading for those who would like to explore the Alexander Technique in a wider context.' Indeed, there are many lively, provocative ideas here, some of which one may wish to query, but there is also a good deal of treasure to plunder.
© Dinah Goodes 2016 (www.austat.org.au). Reproduced with permission.
This edition © Mouritz 2016. All rights reserved.