Staying up

About twenty years ago a gentleman walked into my practice in Bournemouth for a lesson. He was tall and elegant, walking with a certain grace, or lightness, which made him stand out, given that he was also very elderly.

I asked him if he'd had Alexander lessons before, and he replied - oh, yes, hundreds. I asked him if he was seeing me for a top up, and he replied - yes, that's right. I asked him how long it had been since his last lesson, and he replied - oh, about fifty years. By this time I was intrigued, and when I asked who his previous teacher had been, he replied - Mr Alexander.

At the time I was shocked and a little bit intimidated. I was only recently qualified, and it seemed to me that this fellow's 'use' was quite likely better than mine. In any case, I couldn't see how I would be able to help him when he'd been taught by Alexander himself.

I remember saying something along these lines, to which he replied - you're doing just fine, carry on. I also recall that he disapproved of my model skeleton, saying that Alexander's teaching was about the living, not the dead. But, regretfully, I don't remember asking him any of the hundreds of questions that would have been interesting, and which I thought of later, being far too concerned at the time with giving him a good lesson.

Anyway, for me, one thing stands out: lessons with Mr Alexander were clearly so, so powerfully positive, that they could keep a person going for the rest of their lives. I really felt something of his work through that pupil.

Talk about 'staying up' - it was awesome!

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