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Wolf Govaerts (dancer)

Amsterdam University of the Arts - Modern Theatre Dance

When arriving in the second year at the mtd department, I was very overwhelmed and confused for a few weeks. It was so sudden for me to just jump into a group of people who already knew what was going on inside and outside the school. It made me very insecure and In classes I would be tensed and anxious. My first Alexander Technique class was even more confusing because I never even heard of Alexander Technique before, ànd it was a continuation of the previous year which everybody attended but me.

Going into Alexander Technique I was sceptical of its meaning, function and goal. I didn't really give a lot of effort to understand what it was about (I was an Alexandroid in those days). But not much later into the year, when I was reading the pages of Use Of The Self, I realised I was almost constantly agreeing with F. Matthias Alexander's explanations.

Because of all the build up anxiety about me trying to fit in and figure out how to place myself in this new group, I was restless and didn't sleep very much which led to tiredness. I was extremely self-conscious and didn't want to become isolated from the rest (even though my new classmates were very open and inviting towards me). But reading Use Of The Self helped me a lot by being more in the moment. It was very strange to me how so much emotion was connected to the way I handled my body, it was only later I came to realize the connection between body and mind is a two-way street.

In the third year I was already much more understanding the core of Alexander Technique, trying to apply it in dance classes and overall daily life. More and more I came to acknowledge the fact Alexander Technique was not only helping me, but was becoming an important way of working, or even living. To be completely honest some of the exercises I still find a bit strange, but the philosophy I completely agree with. When in a ballet class or any other warm-up class, I would inhibit, think forward and up and it would not just make me much more free in spirit and body it would also open up the space, open up possibilities and make me more conscious of the people around me.

In my final year, at my internship at the WArd/waRD company led by Ann Van den Broek, it became almost crucial for me to practice Alexander Technique. Ann Van den Broeks unique and physically exhaustive movement quality pushes the dancers' boundaries' and can lead to very serious injuries. Ann is extremely demanding, the days at WArd/waRD are long (9h00-10h00) and very intense. The first month I already came to the conclusion I had to compensate this intensive work with taking care of my mind and body. Mostly as a preparation in the mornings and as a wrap up after rehearsal, I would try to calm myself completely and do some Alexander Technique 'exercises'. Now, during the ACCUSATIONS-tour, I warm-up mind and body together with Alexander Technique before I start doing my daily push-ups and abdominal exercises. I even bought Use Of the Self so I can deepen my knowledge of Alexander Technique and continue the work. I'm very glad to have had these classes, because they've taught me a lot and I'll be applying these tools in my future work.

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