shamanic techniques for actors

I have been an actor and a voice teacher for 30 years. I found the experience of taking Helen's shamanism for actors workshop to be reviving, renewing and very nourishing for my soul. Her work sparked creative impulses that had been buried. But in addition to renewing a love for communication, both inner and outer, the work invites one to open up to complete new horizons of theater making. Her linking of healing with acting in a very practical way felt revolutionary. The work is high experimentation and always feels like it's on the brink of altering mind, body and spirit toward greater and deeper modes of expression. While grasping and honoring traditional acting approaches, Helen also investigates ways of expanding human potential for alternate modes of accessing reality in order to merge the extraordinary with the pragmatic needs of theater. She restores a power to the actor that is both ancient and futuristic. 

 

M. Morgan, Actor and Professor of Theatre, University of California,

Santa Barbara

EMPTINESS + EXPRESSION = MAGIC

Awareness skills for actors 

 

‘The actor makes a total gift of himself. This is the technique of the ‘trance’ and of the integration of all the actor’s psychic and bodily powers which emerge from the most intimate layers of his being and his instinct, springing forth in a sort of ‘translumination’. Jerzy Grotowski

 

In our culture the everyday mind has little experience of empty space. As it cannot be logically grasped, emptiness becomes saturated with preoccupations and distractions. However artists know it is the source of creative inspiration, energy and power. Zen traditions define it as ‘beginner’s mind’. Shamans know it as ‘inner silence’ or ‘stepping out of time’. And they recognize the source of creativity as the source of personal power. 

 

Shamanic practices of heightened awareness allow us to reconnect with this source and be informed by the emptiness. We tumble into childlike ego-less states: innocence, wonder, reverence, grace, bliss. 

 

In this workshop we will focus on emptiness as it is reflected in quality of presence. Self-consciousness erects a barrier between the self and the moment; presence is overshadowed by thought and expression becomes inauthentic. It takes a shift of perception for self-consciousness to be reassembled as uncritical observation. In this process time dissolves and the present moment, however well rehearsed, can unfold with the freshness of a first encounter. Insecurity points towards new energy. Avoiding insecurity leads to repetition, habit, deadness.

 

This experiential workshop brings together the insights of the shaman with the demands of contemporary performance with a focus from inner work towards outer expression in movement, play, dance, music, silence, gazing, improv (solo and dyad work).You will learn awareness practices for expanding your own energy field and experiencing a dialogue of subtle energy with the space around the physical body, increasing fluidity of movement, expressivity and power. You will explore emotions as energy vibrations, and master specific techniques to dissolve insecurity and self-judging, and to release restrictions that could inhibit a free flow of energy. This will involve inner work, movement, breathing techniques, voice work and interactive processes.

Presence, Perception and Space: Emotions at Source

 

For the everyday mind empty space is a koan. As it cannot be grasped, it becomes saturated with preconceptions and fragments of emotions. Shamanic practices of heightened awareness allow us to disrupt habitual mental-emotional patterns and enter into emptiness to create a fluid healing dialogue with the invisible world around us. 

In the process we gain access to emotions at their source, connecting with them in the luminous body as transpersonal energies before they impact and crystallise in the physical body as tension. In this way they become pure fuel for creativity. 

We will work to stabilise stillness in movement, to liberate the healing energy and power of the luminous body, dreaming and journeying beyond time, beyond the familiar parameters of emotions to reweave our awareness out of emptiness. We hold the mystery, not knowing, until it becomes magic.

© 2018 Helen Fost