CAPOEIRA: Capoeira is a martial art from Brazil that was created by slaves brought to Brazil from West Africa. In order to disguise their activities from their masters, the slaves developed the form as a kind of dance. It is practiced to chanting and the music of a string instrument called the berimbau. Martial arts are in general great things for actors to practice, as they promote alertness, focus, presence, strength, agility, and endurance. But capoeira has an advantage over other forms in that it has a rhythmic aspect, and rhythm is a vital faculty for actors as well. Also, capoeira has a swing to it, so it also promotes fluidity in movement, another aspect that differentiates it from other martial art forms. There are different styles of capoeira as well, so there are styles appropriate for people of all ages. Try out this exuberant and sly movement form– you’ll be hooked before you know it. Check it out.
ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE: Most major acting conservatories offer training in the Alexander technique. (The Yale School of Drama now requires all acting students to study the Alexander Technique for the entire three years of the MFA program there. It is the only movement discipline that for which this is a requirement of the program.) Alexander was an actor in Australia in the early part of the century who evolved an approach to body-mind integration that is extremely valuable for recovering from injuries, maintaining health, and helping performers of all stripes to stay in the present moment consistently. I have listed several Los Angeles-based practitioners above.
Leah Zhang: Leah is an extremely skilled teacher of the Alexander technique, who has been a guest teacher at Andrew Wood often. See below/left (“Recommendations for Actors”) for more on the Alexander Technique.
Fitzmaurice Voice Teacher, Beth Gudenrath: Beth is a wonderfully generous spirit, and a certified teacher of the powerful Fitzmaurice Voice Technique, which helps actors unleash the full power and expressiveness of their vocal instrument.
Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles: A training institute for individuals wishing to become certified in the Alexander Technique in Los Angeles. These institutes often have opportunities for actors interested in receiving free Alexander work to be worked on by supervised trainees. They can also refer you to recent graduates who will be offering cheaper rates than the established professionals for Alexander work.
Comedy and Improv teacher John Gilkey: From his website… “There is game in everything. Everything. You are the foundation of every character you play. Find the game in who you are. The idiot. The game of your idiocy underpins every comic performance. Take that with you and you will always be funny. Even when you are dying.”
Improv Teacher Bill Chott: Bill Chott is an award-winning improviser and teacher. He presents improv clearly, through a series of exercises that begin simply and grow in complexity. He has a deep appreciation and understanding of the power of improvisation.