All Posts By

Glenn Swift

AMMAS 2013 Lychen, Germany.

By | Uncategorized

Every year since 2001, a group of about 40-50 teachers have been meeting somewhere in Europe to exchange work . We have met in France at a beautiful hotel built in an old water mill, in Denmark on the sea, in the Canary Islands on a  remote rocky beach where the winds from the Sahara came in the evenings like a blast from an oven, and every second year at Schlusshof, Lychen, a recreation centre with facilities ideal for our work on a lake in the old east of Germany where beer is cheap and tasty and the Germans can swim naked, as they like.

This year we had 50 teachers and a few family members who came for the holiday. 50 is about the upper limit for this meeting, as we like to run just one workshop at a time,  to increase the sense of group and inclusiveness.   We spend each morning at a workshop, each afternoon but one in work exchange, and have another brief workshop in the late afternoon before dinner. We have a concert on the last night ( many teachers play an instrument, or sing, or have other performance skills) and other evenings are given to dancing Tango, playing group games and, of course drinking beer. I’ve been the default MC for the concert every year since 2001, and can testify that as a profession, we boast a very developed level of performance skill.

Alexander Technique  teachers tend to be remarkably ordinary, and I mean that in the nicest way. A person doesn’t sustain themselves through three years of challenging and (usually self funded) expensive training on some pipe dream of being able to “help others”.  As a group , we are individuals who are out to help, primarily, ourselves. We tend to come from backgrounds either associated with performance ( and the myriad technical difficulties that arise there) or simple problems with coordination usually accompanied with pain and discomfort.

AMMAS in 2014 will meet in southern Spain. I have a not so secret ambition to host it in Bali, maybe in 2016.

Ireland 2013 a wonderful International Convention

By | Events

We met at a Catholic Convention Centre, just north of Dublin, and within easy reach of God and Guinness. This Convention (not quite a Conference, and much smaller than a Congress) of Alexander teachers from around the world met to discuss a range of topics centred around how we might proceed as a profession in a future where conditions have changed are are changing so rapidly, particularly given the range of new media available to us, and to our (perceived) competition in the business of helping humans help themselves. Predictably, no-one found a magic bullet, but we did get to share lots of good stories, and there was plenty to learn.  We even had a Limerick competition, since we were in Ireland.

The great advantage in being there was the chance to learn from 6 senior teachers who ran workshops everyday for six days, and as there was only about 90 of us attending , there was opportunity for good, close contact and learning in groups which were rarely bigger than 12. Also, I managed to get a private lesson with Giora Pinkas without having to travel from Australia to San Francisco, and given how good the lesson was, I might decide to do that later anyway. The list of teachers presenting were

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Vivien Mackie workshop 2013 Demonstration work in Ireland 2013

Monthly Workshop to keep your hand ( neck, back, knees and toes) in.

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Teacher Sandra Dobbs and I ( and maybe other Perth teachers) will host a monthly workshop for Alexander pupils who’ve had a series of lessons and/or previous workshop experience. It’s not a beginner’s workshop. It’s aimed at those who want to refresh their thinking and like to work in a group. We also want to provide an opportunity for further exploration for those who have completed the Introductory course we run through UWA Extension in March and October, but might not feel ready to begin individual lessons. We will limit the numbers to maintain a teacher:pupil ratio of 4:1. The work will consist of some semi-supine practice, individual work and group games. We would like pupils to bring, instruments, activities, or nothing but themselves. If you would like to be put on our alert list ,please provide contact details. The cost is $20-. Tea, coffee, biscuits provided. The first workshop will be at my place in Fremantle, Sunday November 3, 2013, 10am-12 midday. Contact Sandra or me for the address.

UWA Extension: Finding Your Balance with the Alexander Technique

By | Courses

Our bodies want to extend and expand against the force of gravity. We knew this instinctively as children, but through force of habit and poor adaptation to modern furniture and processes like driving cars and sitting at computers, we tend to forget how simple it can be to regain composure and comfort in our bodies. It’s never too late to remember, and it’s much easier than you might think.

Glenn B Swift has taught this fascinating work for over twenty years, counting Hugh Jackman amongst his dedicated pupils. Any type of performance can be improved by learning simple changes in the operation of our complex bodies, beginning with the balance of the head and function of the breath. Actors, Musicians, Singers, Dancers and other sentient beings will enjoy. Bad backs, stiff necks and mysterious pain conditions also welcome. No exercises, just a little mental and physical discipline. Wear warm comfortable clothing and bring a rug or mat to lie on.

The next set of sessions will be February 6, 13 and 20, 2014 at UWA Claremont.

For more information please visit the UWA Extension website >>
or get in contact with Glenn.