There are a whole variety of things one can learn in a movement class designed for actors, but sometimes actors are not always clear on WHY they need movement at all… if you know that you need a movement class (congratulations, you are ahead of the game) but cannot articulate exactly what you need- here are some things that should be covered in any movement for actors class and they can be learned in a variety of forms… ‘movement’, dance, yoga, Suzuki, etc… as long as the teacher can help you integrate the work into the actual process of acting. This is just one list, as there is so much more! In fact... tell me what YOU think is missing...
10 BASIC things you should be learning in a beginning movement for actor’s class:
1) how to warm up your body ON YOUR OWN
-there are many different and effective warm up approaches, there is not ONE WAY, but you should leave the class being able to warm up without having to take a class
2) how to physically support your vocal work
-make sure that the teacher understands breathing and vocal work, you don’t want to undo what you are learning in voice class!
3) physical awareness
-you can’t change something if you can’t feel it
4) tools to increase flexibility, strength and endurance
-however, your movement for actors class should not be a replacement for fitness work or endurance work, it should be a class in which you learn physical things related to theatre, not a personal training session- go to the gym for that, BUT it should give you tools and motivation for all three of these critical elements
5) how to identify your habits- postural and gestural
-this takes longer than people realize, but you should be set on the right path and given tools to BEGIN this process
6) how to move in space
-this is more important than actors realize and few learn it well, it can make all the difference in being well placed on stage. Remember you are part of a bigger picture on stage, the audience is not looking at YOU, they are looking at a moving painting in which you are one piece
7) how to fall and roll safely
-actors who can drop and roll without having to bring someone in or get over their fear, make a directors life easier
8) basic coordination
-so you can pick up a step, learn a piece of movement, change your blocking -quickly
9) some physical range
-this can mean a variety of things and varies with the form the teacher is using and takes a long time- but you don’t want to be a one trick pony/ If you really want range you need more than a basic movement for actors class and you need discipline and a form you can commit to.
10) how to take care of your body
-As a director, I ASSUME the actor knows their physical limits and can last the run. That is your job. Also remember- a movement for actors teacher is NOT a physical therapist, even though they may be able to offer you helpful information