Core Curriculum

The core curriculum at CAS offers all of the basic skills necessary to have a successful Alexander practice.  The curriculum includes:

Alexander's Principles

We study the foundation of Alexander’s life work through the principles, observations, and experiential information that he has passed directly to his own students through his own hands. We look at not only what he said, but what he meant – the underlying implications and connections. While we do explore his original teaching ‘forms’, we primarily learn to apply the principles in more contemporary ‘forms’ and situations. Trainees gain the ability to embody and impart the essence of the principles in a contemporary style, applicable to today’s world.

Teaching in Situational Activities

Marj teaching Bruce

Marj teaching Bruce

Our lineage at CAS is through Marjorie Barstow of Alexander’s very first training class, who took the principles from Alexander’s Victorian library in London to Lincoln, Nebraska.  Back on the ranch, Marj applied the principles to her real life – riding horses and mucking the barn. Through this real life application, she realized that the Work was most useful when applied directly inside the actual activity, and she began teaching groups of people while they were doing what they actually do.

Now, several generations later, Alliance teachers are highly skilled at teaching in real activities. We attempt to create the entire situation of the activity: the real tools, timing, physical and emotional setting, etc. We offer the student an opportunity to recognize how they interrupt themselves when they are really doing their activity – and teach them how to help themselves in that moment. This allows the student to bring Alexander’s principles directly into the critical moments of their life.

At CAS we go even one step further:  we actually go to where the activity takes place. Our lessons take place at a symphony rehearsal, in a pool, on a ski mountains, in an office, in a restaurant kitchen, at a dance class, in an artist’s studios, on the ice at the rink, at the riding arena – really, anywhere you can imagine!  Trainees learn to apply the principles in real time, in the real situation

Sophisticated Hands-On Skills

At CAS you will learn the “High Art of Touch” There is a strong training emphasis on gaining a high level of proficiency for using your hands as a profound tool for communication and understanding. Trainees learn to use their hands not only to feel, but also to ‘see’, ‘hear’, ‘sense’, and ‘know’ what is happening in another person’s body and being.

We learn to access and communicate with all layers of a person. We work thru bones, soft tissue, organs, fluids, cells, nervous system, thoughts, memory, beliefs, energy, and so on, to gain a full understanding of the larger patterns and relationships involved in a person’s use and choices.

Similar to training as a musician or dancer, CAS trainees build a regular practice of technical ‘etudes’, which develop an ability to work within a full range of technical skills: from very little contact to full body contact; from a very light touch to the effective use of power; how to effectively use all parts of your hands and touch through all parts of your student’s body; how and why to spatially orient yourself to the student; and so on. Trainees learn to discern and understand the patterns which create stress, tension, and injury directly thru their hands.

Pedagogy

At CAS we study the ‘Art of Teaching’, not just Alexander’s material. It is one thing to know the Principles, and an entirely different thing to be able to successfully teach those Principles to others. We study pedagogical theory as well as learning from renowned educators from many diverse fields. Trainees become “Alexander Teachers” – and the training reflects both ideas equally, as we study both Alexander’s Work and Teaching. Trainees learn to teach to all types of people, personalities, and learning styles.

Individual, Group, & Intro Teaching

The reality of making a living as an Alexander Teacher requires skill in varied ways of teaching. For example, offering successful short introductory workshops, which lead to ongoing group classes, which lead to private lessons is a simple and effective way to build a robust private practice.

It is a very different skill to craft an effective introductory workshop than to teach an individual lesson. Or to balance the needs of a group while still offering an effective individual experience while demonstrating with a student in front of a group. Through practice teaching situations and hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities, CAS trainees graduate with skills in all three of these formats: individual lesson, group class, and introductory workshop. Trainees have the opportunity to practice and refine their teaching skills with each other as well as with ‘volunteer students’.

Body Mapping/Experiential Anatomy

One of the core skills required for graduation at CAS is a thorough knowledge of body mapping, which is different from basic anatomy. It implies an ability to recognize what a student believes about their anatomy, and to, in essence, upgrade their ‘software’ (their beliefs) to a more accurate ‘map’ of their true anatomy and coordination.

roundAll trainees are required to complete the Living in a Body ™ Level I course during their training. Developed by CAS Director Robyn Avalon, LIAB™ is a 20 hour professional certification course in body mapping for educators taught throughout the US, Europe, and Asia and translated into several languages (www.livinginabody.com). The first LIAB™ course is included in the training tuition, and trainees can repeat it at half price. In addition to LIAB™, trainees learn basic anatomy, physiology, and developmental movement as a part of their training. Trainees are encouraged to expand their knowledge with additional workshops and courses in related fields.

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