Looking Back

Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869 - 1955)


FM Alexander FM, as he was known, was the eldest of 8 born on a farm in Tasmania, and had an affinity for horses and theater. As a young actor, he had difficulty with his voice, which he eventually resolved through long and careful observation of his habits. This led him to a deep and lifelong exploration of human movement and the nature of habit and thought. He moved to England and began to help others with his discoveries. In 1931, he began to teach his unique observations and skills to others. Marjorie Barstow, a young dancer from America, was in that first training class and was the first person he trained to teach his Work.

Marjorie Barstow (1899 - 1995)


Marj Barstow Marj, as we called her, was a rancher and dance teacher from Lincoln, Nebraska, who traveled to England to become the first 'Alexander Teacher' other than FM himself. Returning to her ranch, she took Alexander's principles and applied them to real activities of everyday Midwestern life - walking the land, doing the chores, and mucking the barn. As her popularity as a teacher grew, she developed a method for teaching the Work in a group setting, allowing students to learn by collective observation and exploration. Bruce and Robyn were longtime students of Marj in Lincoln.



Bruce Fertman (1951 - )


Bruce Fertman In 1982, Bruce Fertman and Martha Hansen Fertman created the Alexander Foundation, an Alexander teacher training program in Philadelphia, PA, based on Marj's model of teaching in groups. They added their own innovative and cutting-edge style to the way we think about the Work, with an emphasis on working in activities of all kinds. As their work developed and spread to Asia and Europe, the Alexander Alliance International was born. Robyn, Midori, and Sakiko studied with Bruce and Martha, and now each run independent schools within the Alliance.
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