1st Edition

Your Body Knows A Movement Guide for Actors

By Meade Andrews, PhD, Jana Tift, MFA Copyright 2020
    410 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    410 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.



    PART I

    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




    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.