Your Body Knows : A Movement Guide for Actors book cover
1st Edition

Your Body Knows
A Movement Guide for Actors

ISBN 9780367258825
Published February 26, 2020 by Routledge
410 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Your Body Knows provides the foundation actors need to move with ease and power. It is a practical guide to movement starting at the very beginning: knowing your body and experiencing how it works.

Through the work of F.M. Alexander, Rudolf Laban, and Michael Chekhov, this book offers basic training in movement fundamentals. Its step-by-step process supports the actor's work in any acting or movement training program and as a working professional. The book focuses on three main areas of exploration:

  • Body facts – Know your body and its design for movement. Let go of misinformed ideas about your body. Move more freely, avoid injury, and develop a strong body-mind connection.

  • Movement facts – What is movement? Discover the movement fundamentals that can serve your art. Explore new ways of moving.

  • Creative inspiration – Connect your body, mind, and imagination to liberate authentic and expressive character movement.

Your Body Knows: A Movement Guide for Actors is an excellent resource for acting students and their teachers, promoting a strong onstage presence and awakening unlimited potential for creative expression.

Table of Contents




Know Your Instrument (So You Can Really Play)

Section I The Starting Place

Chapter 1 Your Motion Detector

Chapter 2 Your 3-Dimensional Body

Chapter 3 Your Moving Breath

A Restful Break: Constructive Rest #1

Section II You Are Designed for Movement

Chapter 4 Get to Know Your Joints

Chapter 5 Joint Connections in Your Head–Spine–Pelvis

Chapter 6 Joint Connections in Your Arm Structure

Chapter 7 Joint Connections in your Feet, Legs, and Pelvis

Chapter 8 Strong Bones, Dynamic Muscles

Chapter 9 Connecting Your Joints and Your Whole Body

A Restful Break: Constructive Rest #2

Section III What You Think Is What You Get

Chapter 10 Your Body-Mind Connection

Chapter 11 Body Myths vs. Anatomical Facts

Chapter 12 Your Primary Coordination

Section IV Claiming Your Inner and Outer Space

Chapter 13 Your Inner Space

Chapter 14 Exploring “Outer Space”

Chapter 15 Inner and Outer Space: A Movement Partnership

Section V Pathway to Presence: Putting It All Together

Chapter 16 Connecting Body, Mind, Breath, and Space

Chapter 17 Practicing Presence


Elements of Expression

Section VI Authenticity and Commitment

Chapter 18 Authentic Impulse: Listening Within

Chapter 19 Your Body Leads The Way

Chapter 20 The Four Brothers

Section VII Foundations

Chapter 21 Space

Chapter 22 Time

Chapter 23 Weight

Chapter 24 Flow

Chapter 26 Qualities of Movement

Chapter 27 Shape

Chapter 28 Spatial Tools

Chapter 29 Text and Your Responsive Body-Mind


Creative Practice

Chapter 30 Whole-body Warm-up: Staccato-Legato

Chapter 31 Movement, Character, and Relationships: Putting Principles and Skills Into Practice!

Chapter 32 Performing for an Audience: My Space, Your Space, Their Space

Chapter 33 Movement and Space: Creating the World of the Play


List of Key Words and Key Practices

Appendix I – Practices for Further Exploration

Appendix II – The Movement Pioneers



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Meade Andrews, PhD, is an internationally recognized, senior teacher of the Alexander Technique. She is a certified member of the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSat) and Alexander Technique International (ATI). She teaches Movement for Actors to students and professionals, and has served as a movement coach for over 40 theatrical productions. She is a certified teacher of the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique and has also done an extensive study of the work of Rudolf Laban and Irmgard Bartenieff with Carol Boggs, CMA. Former director of the Dance Program at American University in Washington, DC, Meade also taught at the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC for 20 years, offering classes in acting, improvisation, and Alexander Technique. With her colleague, Jeanne Feeney, she won the Helen Hayes Award for choreographing the Studio Theatre’s 30th anniversary revival of HAIR. She currently teaches and coaches performers at Rider University, and the Westminster Choir College, located in Princeton, NJ. She has taught numerous workshops in the Alexander Technique for actors, dancers, singers, and musicians throughout the US, Europe, and Asia.

Jana Tift, MFA, has taught movement for actors in academic and professional settings for over 20 years. Certified to teach the Alexander Technique, the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique, and Amrit Yoga, she has led workshops and coached actors and singers throughout the US and abroad. Ms. Tift taught movement in the graduate Acting program at Florida Atlantic University for ten years. She also served on the faculty at New World School of the Arts. A student of Rudolf Laban’s work for many years, Ms. Tift is a founding member of the Labanites of South Florida, a collective of movement specialists dedicated to the study and promotion of Laban’s work. An award-winning director, she has been a Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Artist-in-Residence at Hendrix College and an artist-in-residence at The Ragdale Foundation. She is a teaching member of Alexander Technique International (ATI) and a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Ms. Tift holds an MFA in Theatre from Florida State University.