The inspiration out of which all of my work moves is anthroposophy, a dynamic and disciplined approach to all of life based on the research and developments of Rudolf Steiner. A path of service, knowledge, personal growth and social engagement, anthroposophy is an instrument to approach all of life. Essential aspects alive in the anthroposophical approach are a dynamic world view that includes reincarnation and karma and the spiritual nature of earth and humanity. Though I began to study Rudolf Steiner's writings at the age of 17, I am eternally grateful to my time as a student at Emerson College (in Forest Row near London, UK) - the quality and passion of the individuals there continues to inspire me every day.
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"...anthroposophy is merely the instrument whereby the deepest truths can be rendered accessible to the modern human spirit, in order that they may be grasped in their full depth" Rudolf Steiner
Michael Chekhov and his acting technique
Michael Chekhov (1891 – 1955), nephew of the playwright Anton Chekhov, is recognized as one of the greatest actors of the 20th century. In 1911, the young Chekhov auditioned for Constantine Stanislavsky and was invited to join the First Studio of the Moscow Art Theater. He worked with and was taught by Stanislavsky, Leopold Sulerzhitsky and Yevgeny Vakhtangov among others. Chekhov had a great talent for characterization and was a devoted observer of the creative process. Stanislavsky referred to him as his most brilliant student. (...) At the Moscow Art Theatre, the collaboration between Stanislavsky, Vakhtangov, Meyerhold and Chekhov led to a theater that was bold, expressive and imaginative. In their work they searched for objective principles that would lead to inspired acting. This investigation led Michael Chekhov to develop his psychophysical acting technique, incorporating the imagination and body as well as the intellect. (this is an excerpt from the official Michael Chekhov Association's (MICHA) website where you can read more). Michael Chekhov's To the Actor is a brilliant tool for the actor - and, as I view it, for being a human being.
As human beings, we have a physical body with which we move through time and space. How we are able to inhabit this physical body and the surrounding space largely determines our well-being and effectiveness, in more than purely physical ways. Spacial Dynamics® is a disciplined approach to studying and strengthening the dynamics between the human being and his/her surrounding space. Through specially developed movements and techniques, a healthy and balanced, but most of all joyfully evolving relationship to movement, posture, the physical body, and allround well-being is fostered. Spacial Dynamics® finds application in a wide variety of areas - therapy, education, as scientific approach to movement, and as dynamic approach to teaching and learning. To learn more, participate in a Spacial Dynamics® course, and visit the Spacial Dynamics® website. I am a Level I graduate of Spacial Dynamics®, and am honored to integrate the techniques into my work, and workshops, while continuing my training, towards the Level II certification.
Waldorf education is one of the many developments that have entered the world through the inspiration of Rudolf Steiner (see above). The educational approach is based on a profound understanding of the human being, seeking to address the needs of the developing child. Waldorf education addresses the human being in a complete, age-appropriate way - inviting the development not just of intellectual capacities, but also through a deeply practical and emotionally intelligent approach to all of life and culture. Having been a Waldorf student myself (from the age of 9 until 19), I can confidently say that this education, and my school in particular saved my life. To learn more about this approach to education, I suggest experiencing as many Waldorf schools as you can - for though the inspiration flows from a common source, the absence of a streamlining burocracy and dogma makes for extremely individual and entirely independent social realities. Further reading, for example: Association of Waldorf Schools in North America (AWSNA)
Inspiration and Gratitude
My "backpack" is full of tools and inspirations, including the many trainings I have had the fortune to participate in - such as in eurythmy (a movement art also inspired by Rudolf Steiner), the Jacques Lecoq approach to physical theater, the Michael Chekhov Studio in Berlin, my clown training with Marjolein Baars in the Netherlands (tiny hero productions) and clown teaching experience with Vivian Gladwell's Nose to Nose.
And, the more I proceed on my journey, the more my heart fills with gratitude for my upbringing and family - my loving and too-soon-disappeared mother, my father Karl Bertau and his constantly generous and trusting support, his wife, my sister and brothers who have shaken their heads about my choices, but never stop cheering me on. My family imbued my upbringing with the culture of conversation and interest in the world, with a passion for language and meaning.
My friends and colleagues (and that includes every board member, collaborator, and audience member) at Walking the dog Theater, both past and present are pivotal to who I am, yet David Anderson has perhaps had the most impact, followed closely by Melania Levitsky. And then the teachers, parents, students, and school communities I have had the privilege to work with...
Truly though - how can I single out any one person, when every encounter has given me the gift to move a little closer to who I am and the gifts I might be able to pass on? The list is endless, and you know that you are on it. Thank you.