Category Archives for "AT Connect"

Aug 11

AT Connect – Elke Rudolph

By Anne Mallen | AT Connect , ITM

The multi-talented Elke Rudolph is from Hobart and her skills include physiotherapy, Alexander Technique and singing

How did you first come across Alexander Technique?

I had established a busy physiotherapy practice and was looking for more. I wasn’t sure whether to specialise in physio or do something else. I came across a “body worker” who had worked with many great teachers in the US and opened my eyes to other perspectives.

What were your first impressions of the Technique?

My impressions were that I was “coming home to my body and myself“.

Where and when did you train?

I trained with Bill Brenner in Sydney, graduating in 2000.

What sort of AT work do you do now?

I mostly work one-on-one with people who have long-term pain and weakness. Recently I am seeing more singers and musicians and ageing Baby Boomers who want to keep doing what they enjoy doing, for as long as possible.

I also take small weekly groups over a six-week period; for the general public, music students and occasionally for members of my choir.

As the opportunity arises, I take workshops to a larger audience, such as the Australian Voice Association conference, Hobart Conservatorium of Music, professional development for primary school music teachers, senior music students at the local Quaker school, and my choir.

Is there anything you find difficult about teaching the Technique?

After graduating as an AT teacher in 2000, I had to quickly find a way of making the two potentially contradictory perspectives of physio and the AT work together.  For example, I might see a client in the morning as a physio and then in the evening as a participant of my AT class, potentially giving them opposing messages.
This continues to be an ongoing process of refinement, as I am exposed to new Alexander teachers, physio research and client issues.

In this process I have adapted and discarded some physio techniques as well as adapting my language around the Alexander Technique.
Choosing the most appropriate approach for a new client can sometimes be difficult, especially if the client comes with fixed expectations.

What do you love about the Technique?

I love that the AT can be applied to anything and encourages expansiveness, connectivity and creativity.
Currently I am developing a new collaboration between a voice consultant, a choir director and myself to offer a new workshop experience. We call it ‘Body Voice Song’ and run it over a weekend. The attendees have ranged from beginners who have never sung before to experienced choristers.  A number of ‘lightbulb moments’ occur for most participants, as they learn that even subtle physical changes can have profound positive effects on their voice. We love working together and are learning something new from each other at each workshop.

I love that if a client walks into my practice and they are too anxious to take any new information in, AT has given me the skills to relax their nervous system so they are open/receptive to listen and to new experiences.

I love that through the AT, I have a refined choice of teaching use of muscle activation (intensity) from maximum to the point of awareness or intention and that the AT includes opposing directions and the whole body.

Any advice or tips for other teachers?

I have found that exploring the intersection of the AT with different professional perspectives/disciplines (not only physio) shines a light on the limitations of each, as well as enriching the way I can work with each.



May 05

AT Connect – Jana Boronova

By Anne Mallen | AT Connect , ITM

The lovely and talented Jana Boronova is originally from Prague but now living and working in Melbourne

What first drew you to the Alexander Technique?

I had my first lesson out of curiosity really, and because of my mother.

Mum found out about the Technique and booked lessons with Paul Baxter, a UK teacher living in Prague at the time. I think he was the only teacher there then.  Mum absolutely loved the lesson and got so much out of it and kept talking about the Technique and lessons and that made me really want to try it.

I remember walking out of my first lesson thinking: “I have no idea what has just happened but I want more of that”. I think I had about 20 lessons with Paul and then unfortunately he decided to move back to UK. So I stopped there for a while.

But I have to say that we have a bit of a book obsession in the family, so I got to read a lot of books on AT and Mum and I kept talking about it quite a bit, both feeling that was something which really resonated with us. I did try to read some books by Alexander himself at that stage but only managed the Use of the Self. I gave up on Man’s Supreme Inheritance after a couple of few chapters.

Why did you decide to train to be a teacher? And what were you doing before you trained?

The decision to train was kind of coincidence really. Somehow it had never occurred to me I could train to teach the Technique when I was having lessons. So it was not until at least five years later, when I was stuck in a job which I liked but felt I did not have much new to learn there.

I was working for an American Study Abroad company and we were organising programs for US University students coming to do a term or two at the Prague Charles University.

Basically me and a colleague of mine were in charge of their cultural program – taking them on guided walks around Prague and on trips around the Czech Republic as well as to various European cities for the weekend etc. However, I felt I needed a change.

That was when I first came to Australia – I was invited by a friend whose mum emigrated to Australia after the Second World War because they were Jewish and she needed somebody to stay with her for two months at her farm in Yarra Valley while her daughter was travelling. I absolutely loved it.

Eva, my friend, was this wonderful 90-year-old woman and we instantly took to each other. So naturally after my return to Prague I decided I wanted to come back to Australia. This was when I started looking up various courses to be able to come on the student visa, as that was the only option really.

And then one day, my mum sent me the link to David’s school. I suspect she wanted to have an Alexander teacher on hand. The more I thought about it the more it made sense to me.

For me the Technique has always been about movement. As I have always been quite an active person, I thought it would beautifully complement most of the activities I have been passionate about – namely snowboarding/skiing, swimming and yoga. And it has. My swimming technique has changed for the better dramatically, I enjoy teaching Alexander yoga, which is so much more gentle and makes more sense to me then the Iyengar yoga I used to do before I came to Australia,and thanks to learning from and  working with an American teacher, Eric Bendix, I found an almost lost love for skiing again and realised how much the Technique has to offer when we decide to learn something challenging and potentially risky.

What do you love about the Technique?

I see the Technique as a kind of a safety net – when I am getting in trouble I know I can draw on it and use it to make my life easier. I remember when I first met Vivien Mackie at the school I was so in awe of the youthful energy she had about her. I felt really inspired. For me the Technique is the underlying principle, something I can build on and it gives me a sense of having control over my life.

Do you have any ideas to share with other teachers?

The thing I have been quite struck by in the past six months or so is that a lot of people from outside the Alexander world think the Technique is quite static.

I have had a few encounters in which I had people telling me something along the lines of: “Oh, yes, I know the Alexander Technique. You guys don’t move too much.” I was so surprised by the impression we, as an Alexander community, give to others.

Movement was what first drew me to the Technique, so it is absolutely incomprehensible to me that people think we are not about movement. I think it would be good to somehow work towards changing this misconception.