Though the Alexander Technique and American Folk waltz are not usually paired, while learning waltz I teach tools of the Technique.
The way you choose to use yourself dictates your tensegrity. At a dance, manage yourself poorly and you may hurt for a week. Manage yourself well and feel vibrantly connection to yourself, the other dancers, and the event. The Technique defines how to more reliably get that connection.
The Alexander Technique is a study the use of the self. When I talk about the self I mean the mind, body and emotions, all in one human-being package, humming along together. I mean – those moments when everything is just right, you feel great and everything is connected. We can cultivate that ability to connect, and the Alexander Technique offers tools toward developing this capacity.
In waltz workshops I ask students to give attention to the use of the self while learning something new – 3/4 time waltz. The Technique is very practical:
1) remember to go through these steps;
2) think into the body – neck free, head up, feet feeling the floor, knees slightly bent streaming forward, shoulders released, and breath easy;
3) consider the means where by you would accomplish the task at hand, be it a step, turn, swirl, or dip;
4) stop – let go of unnecessary tightening; and
5) carry out the desired movement with as much ease and grace as is possible.
Learning can be fun.
Apply these steps to any pursuit, not just dancing? Use the mind to bring attention (not tension) to the body and direct the use of the self. Apply the Technique and refine the capacity to tune in. The result is coordination of the body, mind and emotions. How nice to tune in when pursuing the things we love.