Acting Tip #10: Get Down and Dirty!

When you work with me, you get down and dirty!  That means we get down on the floor and roll around.  And why are we doing this?  Well, remember what I said about “body memory” in Tip #7?  If not, please go back and reread it.  My entire technique is geared towards coaxing the “body” (and “voice”) memory out of the body.

The body and voice memory can’t be forced or tricked.  I know that from when I was a singer 30-plus years ago.   I did vocalizations two hours a day just so my voice would, when faced with whatever emotion I was conjuring up for a song, react in a full, pure way.  When you train the heck out of your expressive apparatus, you can more easily coax it to respond.

So, to begin, we do primal movements like babies.  When I began to do these at, of all places, my personal trainer’s, I burst into tears.  They seem to trigger the “body” memory Plastiques 11 Acting Tip #10: Get Down and Dirty!almost violently.  This group of three exercises I call the Rock (‘n Crawl) ‘n Roll.

The first is just rocking on all fours.  I like to get as close to the ground as I can when I rock forward to open my pelvis;  this is also a great initial stretch for all parts of your body.  I watch my cat doing similar movements many times a day.  I must be doing something right!

You then crawl to move forward and backward on all fours.  We crawl with the opposite arm and leg at the same time to center the body.  I also like to do the Spiderman crawl exactly like Spidey does up the wall;  it’s just  harder version of the original crawl.

Last, you lie on the floor with both hands above your head and roll over without using your legs.  You lift your whole arm, then your head if you’re lying on your back, angle it to the side you want to roll towards and let the momentum flow you over.  Then you’re your arm and head behind you until the momentum rolls you back.   The trick is to use only your arm and head to roll over and not use the rest of your body.

These exercises center and stretch you and open the window to a deeper state of consciousness so that finding the “body memory” becomes easier.  And I don’t know about you but, as an actress, that’s all I ever wanted to do.