Movement training for Performers

“Essential to a serious actor is the training and perfecting of the outer instrument-comprising his body, his voice and his speech. This instrument is the violin on which he will play. He should be aware that it can be comparable to a Stradivarius and that he must turn it into and treat it like one.”  Uta Hagen- Respect for Acting.

Core Proprioception[1] Training (CPT)

Developed by Professor Gwenyth Dobie

School of the Arts, Media Performance and Design

York University

As a movement specialist for performers, I have researched movement training for the actor for over 20 years. From my primary training as a dancer, followed by my experience as a performer, creator, director and choreographer, I have developed an informed pedagogical approach to teaching actors.

My certification as an Alexander Technique and Yoga teacher provides the foundation from which I initiate all movement instruction. From this sound foundation, I offer a balanced training in physical technique, movement styles, postural education, improvisation and release work. I have developed Core Proprioception Training (CPT): a movement training method for actors established to enhance ability and awareness in movement.

Core Proprioception Training (CPT) is comprised of three sections: Floor, Partner and Allegro sequences. Cross Pattern Proprioception Training (XPPT) continues the training process once the foundation of the CPT has been established.

Objectives of the CPT Floor Sequences:

  • Guided meditation quiets the mind and prepares the actor for a physical practice
  • Yoga Asanas help improve strength, flexibility and balance
  • CPT stimulates the neuromuscular pathways for new patterns of “use”
  • Work in this sequence develops breath awareness, kinesthetic awareness and movement range
  • Daily practice brings focus and directs the energy towards a heightened co-ordination of isolated motion

Objectives of the CPT Partner Sequences:

  • Encourages a connection to breath while in a physical dialogue with another scene partner
  • Further, the partner sequence in CPT invites the actor:
    • To learn how to take and give weight
    • To gain coordination and balance
    • To play with rhythm, tempo and dynamics
    • To physically communicate specific actor objectives and play with tactics
    • To play with primary and secondary scene partners
    • To integrate voice work to movement
    • To let yourself see and be seen in action while pursuing wants.
    • To take risks and build trust within an ensemble

Objectives of the CPT Allegro[2] Sequences are to:

  • Build strength and endurance
  • Encourage organization, precision, and attention to detail
  • Master longer movement sequences with larger and more complex choreographic patterns and stay “seeing”
  • Improve ability to jump and turn
  • Encourage commitment and reliability
  • Foster and pursue clear actor objectives while moving quickly
  • Keep the actor’s radar on in a quickly changing environment

My philosophy of teaching movement to actors: provide a sound training in a healthy and positive environment and guide the actor towards the discovery of his or her potential and intrinsic movement capabilities.

[1] Proprioception: The awareness of the orientation of the body in space and the direction, extent, and rate of movement of the limbs depend in part upon information derived from sensory receptors in the joints, tendons, and muscles.

[2] Allegro: allegro (It., merry). General term to describe a quick and lively tempo, it also refers specifically to any combination of fast steps (as opposed to adagio). Here performers execute steps and sequences that are designed to improve their speed and attack, plus their ability to jump and turn.