The Association of Theatre Movement Educators is shaping the future of kinesthetic and aesthetic education by:
- Promoting the highest possible standards for theatre movement training and the application of those standards to educational and professional theatre;
- Facilitating collegial support, faculty exchange, and networking;
- Promoting the recognition of theatre movement educators as vital and equal partners in the training of actors; and,
- Communicating the latest research, methods of skills integration, and career planning strategies.
Association of Theatre Movement Educators
Who We Are
We are a diverse group of professional educators, scholars, and practitioners whose mission is to foster artistic growth, personal freedom, and safe and respectful exploration of the physical components of communication, and effective, efficient motion. Each member, within his or her own unique specialization, may: practice creativity and freedom of expression; empower students/clients, themselves and the organization; promote research into related fields.
To achieve our objectives we will employ reasonable and accepted practices such as: visual demonstration and modeling, physical contact, written text, observation, and discussions that foster understanding.
Our members represent a wide range of somatic (of or relating to the body) disciplines and approaches. Our varied practices reflect these differences while always honoring the emotional, physical and psychological well being of our student/clients, ourselves, and the integrity of our profession.
A movement specialist possesses a fundamental knowledge of physical training pedagogies as demonstrated through study with various recognized physical training practitioners and institutions devoted to the study of physical pedagogies. ATME believes that familiarity with many systems can only aid the movement specialist’s overall understanding of the expectations of the various aspects of the performer’s profession and the further development of our discipline. A movement specialist will endeavor to stay current in new and or innovative approaches
- STUDENT/CLIENTS – To our student/clients we will provide: the creation of an environment that promotes creative expression and exploration; instruction; communication with the movement specialist; and the opportunity of empowered expression in relation to the self and to the art form. We will always respect confidentiality.
- COLLEAGUES – We will share information and resources, respect, learn and encourage. We will not shield a fellow member whose conduct is unprofessional or who is guilty of misconduct.
- COMMUNITY/UNIVERSITY – We will employ respectful practices, work within ethical standards, and remain accessible and available.
- PROFESSION – We will provide service to the profession and embrace current developments while respecting traditional practice.
- SELF – Create a positive environment that fosters personal and artistic growth, health, safety and artistic and professional freedom.
Typical Job Responsibilities
We employ practices that assist with appropriate self-use and mechanical issues concerning the body (the instrument). These issues range from general care to corrective work. The movement specialist/teacher works with the development of the intuitive and kinesthetic understanding of the performer. A movement specialist will devise a process for creating an articulate body that demonstrates technical proficiency, full physical commitment and ease along with the integration of physical skills. This may include but is not limited to:
- Examination of the muscles and the skeletal aspects of the body to foster optimum alignment, which is the ability to maintain a vertical silhouette within the body that demonstrates ease and radiates an engagement with the self and with the environment.
- Tension release to facilitate ease of motion and the technical proficiency of the body.
- Understanding of the process of respiration that supports all physical processes.
- Teaching of movement skills and/or dance pedagogy to increase strength, flexibility, control, articulate self-use, and as elements of improvisation.
- Addressing physical mannerisms as they affect the student/client.
- Clarity and specificity in the physical shaping of movement dynamics.
- Physical definition of character – training the body to be emotionally and physically connected to the specifics of the text.
- Styles training – the ability to inhabit a physical and experiential reality other than one’s own, including styles that may range from Commedia dell’Arte and Restoration manners to twenty first century dance.
A movement specialist will assist the student/performer in the exploration of the body as an expressive tool of the creative imagination. This may include but is not limited to:
- Teaching physical articulation and the use of the body as an instrument of perception and expression facilitating the transformation of the body.
- Developing the ability to externalize and communicate the character’s goals/objectives and inner state through movement, with or without text.
- Increasing the powers of concentration, observation, and sensitivity to others; and applying these skills to working collaboratively in groups.
- Assisting in the achievement of attaining the skill, confidence and freedom of expression required to play diverse characters and to convincingly convey differences of age, physical condition, class position, historical period, and emotional attitude.
Techniques and Pedagogical Practices
Movement specialists will often have received training in multiple approaches to the discipline. A few examples of these training methods are: dance, tai chi, yoga, period styles, combat, physical comedy, acrobatics, mime, mask, clown, or any one of many body use or movement techniques or approaches: Lecoq, Decroux, Bartenieff, Laban, Michael Chekhov, Alexander, Feldenkrais, Meyerhold, Suzuki, Pilates, Williamson, Bioenergetics, Commedia dell’Arte, Improvisation, Martial Arts, Viewpoints, and RasaBoxes. Theater programs embrace somatic training in some form. They embrace training styles using extensions of the body in the form of anything from masks to weapons in combat to the red nose of the clown.
The Movement Specialist’s work with students/performers in producation includes, but is not limited to:
- Collaborating with the director and production staff to design a unique physical life for a production and a work process for the movement coach and or choreographer.
- Creating a process for the performing artist in which they create, enter and inhabit the internal and external elements of a performance space.
- Assisting in the ability of a physical instrument to maintain freedom from tension, vivid expression, a released and aligned vertical silhouette, and remain responsive to the world of the script while demonstrating specific physical character dynamics implementing the imagination.
- Coaching the physical and experiential crafting of a specific character life involving physical, vocal, and experiential choices that are related to the character, not the performer, including: rhythm, tempo, styles, strength and articulate character definition, and choreography.
- Developing a warm up process specifically designed to address the demands of the rehearsal period and the production.
The Movement Specialist may also be engaged in:
- Consultations with professional artists, teachers, and other professionals from all walks of life in the public sector.
- Direction and/or creation of dramatic works, performance pieces of original work.
- Teaching of other approaches to performance including: acting, musical theatre, singing or performing in film, television or broadcast media, vocal approaches to character and style, textual analysis and interpretation.
- Research and scholarship including, but not limited to, historical investigations, pedagogical advances, and performance reviews.