Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Exercise & Fitness
Discover the practice of the Alexander Technique, founded by the Australian born actor Frederick Mathias Alexander. This video examines the movement re-education techniques founded by Alexander which can alleviate or elimi... more »
Boring and Poorly Done
M. Al-Kazemi | Canada | 07/31/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"When I bought the DVD a few months ago, I could not watch more than the first 10 to 15 minutes. I was really disappointed by its quality. This week, I decided to watch it again, partly to give it another chance since I really like Alexander Technique (AT) as a method, and partly to write this review on what I was specifically unhappy about. I summed it up in two main points, the sound quality and the way the material is presented.
First, the DVD has a very poor sound quality throughout, and one can tell that the production is done by amateurs. There are two Alexander Technique teachers who speak about the technique, Greg Holdaway and Petra Schaefer, both seem Australian (loved the accent!). When Greg speaks, you can hear in the background cars passing, horns, sirens, and even someone shouting "Oh my God!"
Second, although the information that is being presented is valuable and essential in itself, the way the material is presented does not grab the viewer's attention.
The video was made in 1995 by VisionQuest Video, and it is part of a series of videos on holistic health. In the introductory footage, viewers can see other techniques being presented with titles such as Tai Chi, meditation, etc. (I really disliked the choice of music!) Then the title of this particular episode is presented, "Learning the Alexander Technique." Because it was a video before, or maybe because those who turned it to DVD are amateurs, the only button you see on the screen is the "play" button, which is limiting (One expects on a DVD a "menu" and "chapters" to select).
Toni Galardi introduces herself, then she gives an overview of what is coming up. From the very beginning, I started feeling bored; nothing that was being said seemed appealing.
Throughout the DVD, while the two AT teachers speak on various points, there are silent segments of an AT lesson given by Petra to a student named Kylie (We learn her name when, later on the DVD, Petra explains what is happening in the lesson). For a new student, he or she will not be able to figure out what is happening in many parts of the silent lesson. Although there is no sound in any part of the lesson, Petra comments at one point that "I think you can hear the knees crack." In my opinion, in the editing of the video, this comment should have been omitted since it is incoherent with what is presented on the screen.
Sometimes both Alexander Technique teachers speak on the same point with not much difference in what they are saying, so I think it was unnecessary to repeat the same information, for example on the fact that teachers have different styles and students could shop around to find the suitable style for them.
Even the pictures that are used from time to time in the background (black and white) do not seem to be clearly connected to the point being said! I felt that the pictures were forced into the material, and there was nothing appealing about them.
One of my main criticisms was the contradiction between the focus on posture at the beginning and then considering connecting the technique with posture a misconception. For example, here are two statements from the introduction, (1) "By using the Alexander Technique, posture can improve, so that the body is able to work in a more natural and an efficient manner...this therapy is said to be completely safe." (By the way, AT is not a therapy; it is a learning method that can be therapeutic). (2) "For most of our lives, many of us do not adopt the right posture, even when simply standing up...bad habits such as bad posture learned over a lifetime are often so ingrained that they feel normal and natural." Later Greg mentions that it is a misconception that AT is connected to posture. "People often think it's about posture and of course this is understandable, because your posture improves considerably when you do this technique." I believe that a clear distinction should have been provided from the beginning.
Titles that are presented include (1) The Origins of the Alexander Technique (2) The Philosophy Behind the Technique (3) Incorporating and Using the Technique (4) Techniques used in Alexander Practice (Greg explains that they are principles or Alexander discoveries rather than "techniques," which could have been reflected in the title itself). (5) Styles of the Alexander Technique (6) Benefits of the Alexander Technique (This segment includes "Ailments alleviated with Alexander") (7) An Alexander Technique Session (8) Case Example of People helped (9) Precautions (10) Misconceptions (11) The Medical View of the Technique (12) Conclusions.
The final credits are run while images of other techniques are being presented. I consider this mismatch another poor choice by the makers of the video.
To conclude, I believe that Alexander Technique could have been presented in a much more engaging way. Unfortunately, if I were a new student that wanted to learn AT, watching this DVD would not have got me interested in the technique even though the material in itself is valuable! In fact, I believe that I was able to appreciate what was being said only because I knew it before. Based on how I felt while watching the DVD, my advice, specially to new students, is to find other resources to learn about AT! And you might have heard it before, the best way is to actually take lessons. Just like learning any other valuable skill, you can only appreciate what it is about by experiencing it for yourself.
DVD for Alexander Technique
Penny Dyer | Ohio | 07/19/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I love the technique as I have read about it in books but this is a poor promotional video, poorly done and
bascically telling you to find a teacher. Very disappointed.