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Master Teacher of the Alexander Technique
Photo Courtesy of Holly Sweeney
There isn't anything either right or wrong when dealing with co-ordination. There are degrees of movement. Life is really moving from one position to another. We never stop and say, "This is right--this is my posture, this is the way I ought to be". If we do that, we're stiff trying to hold that posture. It isn't natural for our bodies to be held in positions. - Marjorie Barstow, quoted in Practical Marj
Marjorie Barstow, from Lincoln, Nebraska was the first person to graduate from F. M. Alexander's first training course in 1933. After working as A. R. Alexander's assistant in Boston and New York in the 1930's, she returned to Lincoln.
She continued teaching until shortly before her death in 1995 at age 95. During the last 2 decades of her teaching, she attracted thousands of students to her workshops Lincoln, and around the world, with her unique approach to teaching Alexander's discoveries.
The videos below will give you some idea of her teaching style towards the end of her life, including her emphasis on students' taking responsibility for themselves, her use of a wide range of activities as frameworks within which to teach the Alexander Technique, the power and delicacy of her hands and much more.
Please note: When most of these videos were shot in 1990 and 1991, Marj was well over 90 and suffering from severe osteoporosis which limited her ability to reach her full height. Despite that, her movements were as fluid as ever. In Alexander Technique jargon, her conditions of use had diminshed with age, but her manner of use - and with that, the power and clairity of her touch - was at its peak.* During this workshop, she taught for 6 hours a day - mostly standing on her feet - for seven straight days! These videos were taken from almost 20 hours of raw footage that include a great deal more valuable material.
I can't teach anything that I haven't done myself. I may not always do it, you know we don't always do what we should (life would be very dull if we did). But I know when I want to have more freedom, I know what I can do and what I must do, then I make the choice of whether or not to do it. - Marjorie Barstow, quoted in Practical Marj