Amanda Blair MacDonald, MFA, M.AmSAT
Alexander Technique Teacher
Developmental Movement Specialist
Amanda grew up loving music and dance. She was surrounded by music from a very young age, but did not begin to learn dance technique until college. Because of this late start, she questioned everything. “How do I improve my turnout? How do my muscles work? How do I get my body to do what others have been doing since they were young?” These questions grew into a lifelong exploration of movement and wellness. Amanda studied yoga, Pilates, floor barre and various styles of dance, and finally found The Alexander Technique. One of her early teachers helped her understand that The Alexander Technique teaches awareness about the underpinnings of all movement, and therefore allows for a deepening in all other practices. Amanda’s skills improved and her desire to share what she knew through teaching blossomed.
Amanda attended Alexander Technique teacher trainings at: Habit and Choice (Beret Arcaya), Balance Arts (Ann Rodiger) and The Dimon Institute (Ted Dimon and John Nicholls) and completed the 3-year, 1600 hour course in 2005. Professional Development includes a week-long continuing education course with Alex and Joan Murray in Urbana, IL in June 2012 and regular visits to Alexander Technique Milwaukee during her MFA program at UWM 2015-2016. She was a member of the Planning Committee for AmSAT’s 2013 Annual Conference and General Meeting in Chicago and currently serves on the Training Standards and Course Review Committee. Amanda completed her MFA in Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in August 2017. When she began in June 2015, the program was directed by fellow Alexander Technique teacher, Luc Vanier.
Amanda’s Alexander Technique journey has always paralleled her journey as a performer and dance teacher. She incorporated her Alexander work into the movement for actors classes she taught at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC, where over the course of six years she developed curriculum that helped her students bridge demands in acting, voice and dance. She worked under the supervision of Harry Woolever at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC, learning to teach his foundations of theatre dance curriculum and Hanya Holm’s floor series. She also studied at the Dance Education Laboratory and the Kane School for Core Integration, both in NYC.
Upon moving to Chicago, Amanda began to work more and more with children. In her search to create meaningful and developmentally appropriate curriculum for them, she attended the Summer Dance Institute for Teachers at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, WA, founded by Anne Green Gilbert. There she learned about BrainDance and Brain Compatible Dance Education. The scientific underpinnings of this work showed a link between her work with Alexander Technique, the Holm floor series, and her work with children. Amanda continues to study and read to strengthen her teaching in all of these areas.
If the Alexander Technique works on the underpinnings of all movement, then it can help you do whatever it is that you do, better. Amanda can design a workshop or presentation to meet your needs. Workshops include, but are not limited to: Ergonomics in Action, The Science of Stress, Managing Anxiety, Improving Public Speaking, Wellness Through Movement and Movement for Actors. She is passionate about reaching out through Parent and Teacher Education to incorporate movement into the home and classroom environment. Developmental movement and BrainDance work improves sensory integration, coordination, and brain development. She is also available for private Alexander Technique lessons in Winnetka and West Bucktown.
Amanda spent many years in New York City working as an actress, choreographer, and teacher of musical theatre dance. She also supported herself by working as an usher and house manager at Lincoln Center and the DGA. ~ Keep your eyes open for an upcoming theatre blog at www.lifeuponthewickedstage.com.