by Margaret J. David

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s too bad because several Alexander Technique web sites present a decidedly macabre first impression of the work. Curiously, death is the sub-text for all of the three worst offenders:

Death by strangulation - The Canadian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique site opens with a sideways photo of an unhappy young man with a pair of disembodied hands wrapped around his neck. It appears that a homicide is about to take place.

Death by electrocution - Jeff Haas’ web site starts with a 5-second moving sequence (taken from a 1949 film) of FM giving a chair lesson. The jerky quality of the pictures makes it appear that the subject is being forced into the chair in preparation for strapping in and having electrodes attached to his body. Mercifully, the huge nude portrait that appears so prominently in the film is too blurry to make out here.

Multiple deaths from unknown causes - The American Society for the Alexander Technique web site begins with a picture of a naked man, an old-fashioned portrait of FM and three skeletons. Both “The Naked and the Dead” and “Dead Man Walking” would be appropriate titles. Or, as a young friend of mine remarked, “A naked guy, an old guy and three dead guys.”

It’s enough to make Dr. Kevorkian consider becoming an Alexander teacher!

(Webmaster's note: The naked man and the old man have been removed from the AmSAT site; the three dead men remain, identified now as "the creative team"! The Canstat site has removed the unhappy young man. Death by electrocution continues hourly on Jeff Haas's site. And plenty of disembodied skulls, skeletons and the like can still be found on Alexander Technique web sites. Check it out by doing an "Alexander Technique" - "images" search on Google and you'll be amazed at the first visual experience many people are getting of the Alexander Technique.)

Margaret J. David has been a student of the Alexander Technique for eight years and is the Director of WebSmart, a web design and consulting firm.

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