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10th International Alexander Technique Congress Limerick - Sandra Waller

09 Sep 2015 11:33 AM | Anonymous

Limerick Alexander Technique Congress

Summer is now drawing to a close and holidays are over but before it’s back to ‘business as usual’ I would like to share an account of the 10th International Alexander Congress which took place in the beautiful town of Limerick on what must be one of the most striking university campuses in the world.

Set on the banks of the river Shannon, the two University villages are linked by the Living bridge, named for its architectural design which creates movement as people cross it.  The two villages of student accommodation are surrounded by magnificent halls of learning and impressive architecture.  With numerous restaurants and cafés to choose from. The student life here must be very conducive to study and social activities.

What a fantastic venue then for our Alexander Congress.  This was the best attendance ever with 700 delegates from 40 countries.  The opening ceremony was hosted by the organisers Richard Brennan, Niall Kelly and Glenna Batson and we were hugely entertained by Michael Gelb’s witty and informative session on Leonardo DaVinci, a genius visionary whom Michael compared to our own FM.

This set the bar high for the whole week and we were not disappointed!  From the plenary sessions to the talks, from workshops to work exchange there was infinite choice to satisfy every interest.  Swimming, running, singing, movement, music, anatomy, eyesight, to mention just a few. 

We were also treated to Irish music, Irish dancing with such talented children enchanting us with lightning footwork and straight backs, a Limerick competition with a huge range of subject matter and totally crazy judging.  There was a chance to learn some dancing, to meet many authors of AT books and to view new film footage.  Heads of Training had a special lunch with over 30 in attendance and the week was rounded off with a magnificent Gala dinner in a local hotel with a three course meal and music provided by a local band.  The band members were overwhelmed to see so many people up on the dance floor, they were taking pictures of the dancers !!  That’s the Alexander world for you, people moving freely and having such fun.

Our organisation was very well represented with our brochures on display in the main building. Our participating members wore the ATE UK badges from day one which we think inspired ATI to wear theirs too.  It was also a very great pleasure to meet up with our colleagues from Australia (ATE inc) and to exchange news and views.  There is now a newly formed ATE Espania.  Ken Thompson, our most senior member was at the heart of the event very busy with helping to film the whole Congress.

The closing ceremony was very inspiring, again Michael Gelb did a splendid job, Michael Frederick, the founder of the International Congresses was delighted to announce that in 2018 the next Congress will be held in the USA in Chicago.  The whole event was rounded off with some beautiful singing and a trio of Alexander teacher/musicians playing a selection of classical music.

The above account cannot fully capture what a marvellous experience it was to be in Limerick and to be part of such a large representation of our worldwide Alexander community, the spirit of sharing, the kindness, the fun and laughter and, of course, the opportunity to pool so much knowledge of our work for the future development of FM Alexander’s Technique.  I am certain that he would be highly delighted with the shape of things to come.

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