In this article Rebecca Loukes explores the practice of German psychophysical awareness practitioner Elsa Gindler (1885–1961), whose work influenced twentieth-century performance in a range of ways, but has not previously been documented in this context.
Loukes situates Gindler’s training and early work amongst key early twentieth-centuryGymnastik
practitioners before tracing developments in her life and work, drawing from Gindler’s 1926 article, her unpublished class notes, and her students’ memories. She discusses what Gindler meant by cultivating a state of ‘concentration’, and how this related to breathing, tension, and relaxation, both in the studio and daily life. She then indicates how this can usefully be applied to contemporary pre-performance training or work on the ‘beginning state of the actor’. Rebecca Loukes is a practitioner, performer, and researcher in the area of actor training and psychophysical awareness. She has been training in practices derived from Gindler’s work for over ten years. Her recent writing includes ‘Body Awareness in Performer Training: the Hidden Legacy of Gertrud Falke-Heller (1891–1984)’ for Dance Research Journal
(in press). She is Lecturer in Performance Practice at the University of Exeter.