Frederick Matthias Alexander

(1869—1955) originator of the Alexander technique and teacher

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(b. Wynard, Tasmania, 20 Jan. 1869; d. London, 10 Oct. 1955) Actor. By experimentation, he discovered a way of creating and maintaining an improved harmony in the body through conscious control and correct alignment. The ‘Alexander Technique’ is used successfully in education, drama and music schools, and professional theatre, and by doctors and physical therapists. Believing that the involuntary muscular contractions caused by misalignment drastically reduce the ability to stand, move and speak with relaxed ease, Alexander perfected a system for replacing familiar, and therefore comfortable, poor habits (misuse) with a mentally guided correction of the whole physical structure. From 1904 he was based in London, and he published four books on his principles: Man's Supreme Inheritance (1910), Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (1923), The Use of Self (1932) and The Universal Constant in Living (1941). Among his pupils were Henry Irving, Lillie Langtry and George Bernard Shaw.

From The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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