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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

A session at the 2009 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio focused on the Alexander Technique as a way to release stress and pain which could be caused by everyday activities in performing arts spaces.

Photos/Rob Berls

Offer Alexander Technique for Technicians Session

Robert Berls
Vice-Commissioner for Health and Safety Scene Design Commission

Any technician who might have arrived late at the session The Alexander Technique for Technicians during the 2009 Cincinnati Conference & Stage Expo may have wondered what was going on and where he had landed.

People were sitting down and standing up repeatedly, and then they were aligning their heads above their necks. Could this be a workshop at USITT? For those who attended the entire session; the many techniques explored could release the stress and pain from everyday theatrical activities. The workshop addressed many issues of the pained technician.

This well-attended workshop addressed how to use a bamboo painting stick more efficiently: pre and post stretching to help free the body, changing a stance to support body and weight, and adjusting foot position to increase and sustain reach. Time also was spent helping designers to learn proper arm and body position when cutting illustration board and drafting over a table. Attendees learned a better way to sit down and work at a computer without increasing tension and fatigue. Using the Alexander Technique in these ways -- including stretching before shop calls, using screw guns in a more ergonomic way, and finding a more balanced and controlled stance to help with low back and foot pain -- can make a world of difference.

The session delved further into optimizing body movements for maintaining healthy and sustained productivity throughout an entire career. This workshop enlightened technicians at all stages of their careers and helped to increase their productivity and ability to be healthy in the workplace.

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