Category Archives: Alba Emoting Sources
Alba Emoting Sources in English
The Alba of Emotions, by Dr. Susana Bloch.
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1) Books that include full chapters on Alba Emoting
Acting (Re)Considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide edited by Phillip Zarrilli. Routledge (1995).
-Contains a chapter entitled “Effector Patterns of Basic Emotions: A Psychophysiological Method for Training Actors” by Susana Bloch, Pedro Orthous and Guy Santibanez-H
Performer Training: Developments Across Cultures edited by Ian Watson. Harwood Academic Publishers (2001).
-Contains a chapter entitled “Alba Emoting: A Revolution in Emotion for the Actor” by Roxane Rix
Method Acting Reconsidered: Theory, Practice, Future edited by David Krasner.
St. Martin’s Press (2000).
-Contains a chapter entitled “Emotion Training and the Mind/Body Connection: Alba Emoting and the Method” by Pamela D. Chabora
Action! Acting Lessons for CG Animators by John Kundert-Gibbs and Kristin Kundert-Gibbs. Wiley Publishing, Inc. (2009).
-Contains a chapter entitled “Alba Emoting”
2) Books that have noteworthy mentions
Restoration of Breath: Consciousness and Performance by Sreenath Nair
The Actor, Image and Action: Acting and Cognitive Neuroscience by Rhonda Blair.
The Voice in Violence: Essays on Voice and Speech edited by Rocco Dal Vera and VASTA (The Voice and Speech Trainers Association). A publication of the Voice & Speech Trainers Association, 2001.
-Brief mention in an article entitled “The Voice in Heightened Affective States” by Rocco Dal Vera
3) Books that briefly mention Alba Emoting (one or two lines)
Acting Emotions: Shaping Emotions On Stage by Elly A. Konijn. Amsterdam University Press (2000)*
Stanislavsky in Focus by Sharon Marie Carnicke. Harwood Academic Publishers (1998).
Sonia Moore and American Acting Training: With a Sliver of Wood in Hand by Suzanne Trauth and Elizabeth C. Stroppel. (2005)
Reframing Screen Performance by Cynthia L. Baron and Sharon Marie Carnicke
University of Michigan Press (2008).
Current Approaches in Drama Therapy by David Read Johnson, Penny Lewis
Ideologies of Emotion by Patricia Marie Gallagher. (2000).
Book on Acting: Improvisation Technique for the Professional Actor in Film, Theater, and Television by Stephen Book.
-mentions Viola Spolin’s experience with Alba
Written by Laura Facciponti
Quick inhales gasp inward through gaping mouths, while chests rise and eyes flash wide. They hold their breath, or take quick little exhales out of their mouths, only to follow with another shallow inhale and a hold. They pull their whole selves back, as if to tilt backwards off balance, and freeze while eyes dart around searching for the cause of this alarming feeling. They are in the grip of fear.
The Montreal workshop participants, practicing the Alba Emoting™ pattern for fear, slowly release this emotion by switching to the neutral breath pattern, clearing it away. This profoundly powerful pattern has so quickly evoked strong physiological reactions in their systems that the group sits in awe of its power.
Afterwards in our follow-up discussion, and throughout the week of lessons, many of the participants find this particular pattern provides increasing insights into everyday life. How has fear manifested itself in our lives? Are we unconsciously leaning back or pulling away from people or things? Do we habitually breathe shallowly by inflating the chest, and do we occasionally hold that breath? Do we find ourselves receiving information with wide eyes or do they dart around after we have said something we feel is risky, looking for reactions?
In this workshop environment we explore these emotional patterns on larger levels so that beginners can examine such effector patterns throughout our whole selves. We look for these patterns in the posture from head to toe, while we sit and walk, in how we breathe and talk, and how small muscles in the face trigger emotion in the entire system, while also sending clear or mixed communication messages to others. At first glance this fear pattern seems only recognizable in horror movies or in terrifying headline news footage. However, as individual study of this work progresses, lower levels of the patterns are explored so that connections can be made concerning how these emotional states are present in our daily lives.
Many of us may not be aware of these patterns in our day-to-day behavior. Often times the signs of fear are subtle signals or actions, but causing powerful physiological reactions and affecting behaviors inside and all around us. Consider how continuous shallow breathing can affect a person’s health. Shallow breathing practices prevent the lungs from inhaling enough oxygen to fully feed our muscles, cells, brain, etc. A shallow exhale prevents the lungs from emptying enough to expel “dead air” at the bottom of the lungs, building up carbon dioxide waste. Chronic shallow breathing practices can produce ongoing low level fear in a person, translating as anxiety, apprehension, and nervousness while also creating detrimental levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
High levels of stress in the system are meant as transitional states, communicating a high emergency and sending strong signals to the brain to hold fast and frozen or to flee the situation for safety. When these levels maintain as a lower level chronic state of living these ongoing crisis signals could translate to actions that eventually create negative affects on the system. Our brain may communicate a signal to hold on to as many calories consumed as possible, just in case more food is not to come, slowing our metabolism and causing us to gain weight. We may keep our blood flow primarily in areas associated with flight, pumping adrenaline to important retreat muscles and organs always in preparation to flee. With such a chronic state of stress, over time other muscles, organs, and beneficial brain activity could be deprived of vital attention, thereby denying growth, physical and emotional development, and breaking down our immune systems.
If the postural attitude of fear is to withdraw, lean away, and to hold back—how does this affect our interactions with others and in our careers if we are constantly held in the grip of fear? Could it be the reason why some people might fear change in their lives and stay with what is familiar, believing it is safer even when signals all around them might be communicating that the current living, working, or relationship environment is not as healthy as they would like? Do we tend to hold back our positive and more vulnerable emotions of love and tenderness, because we are fearful of rejection or loss? Does the hold of fear also contribute to a hording strategy, holding onto our money to great extremes, collecting possessions and piling them around us, overfilling the storage areas of our homes and contributing to the massive storage rental business?
In our current economic climate it is no surprise to see fear manifesting in people’s behavior throughout our country. We watch the news and read reports focused on surprising losses from the personal home loss to the demise of powerful, and seemingly indestructible, billion dollar companies. We are surrounded by massive budget cuts, while food and gas prices rise beyond what our sadly stretched wallets can imagine. Worldwide perspectives of our environmental climate add to the economic fears as we listen to predictions of global warming, melting icebergs, and loss of resources. These fear inducing conditions, and many more, can threaten us right into the grip of fear. But do we need to hold this fear?
Consider all the possible levels of fear, and then look at surprise as a low level fear. Surprise is a state that is meant to absorb unexpected information, process it for meanings, and then move into another state of being that engages action. We have many choices in this interpretation of the information received and then with the resulting action following the assignment of meaning. One choice is certainly to hold onto the fear-based emotion of surprise and allow it to manifest into many other levels of fear, including retreat, anxiety, shyness, worry, intimidation, stress, and low self-esteem. However, we have many other choices as well. What if the resulting action of surprise was confidence, awe, courage, delight, power, or gratitude? How would this change our state of being, our interactions with others, our careers and our attitudes?
As I contemplated this article over the weekend I had the opportunity to witness these transitional fear options while watching the fireworks display, celebrating our 4th of July. I held my two-and-a-half year-old niece as we started to watch a lengthy fireworks show. She sat timidly, unsure of how to react to this unknown and potentially scary situation. I supported her with comforting arms and called out excited observations hoping this would transform her surprise of each sound and light demonstration into awe and glee. She was well on her way to this new pattern of transformation when suddenly someone set off an M80 far too close for our comfort. She jumped back, burrowed into my chest and claimed, “That scared me.” I agreed with her that it scared me a little too and that we could enjoy the fireworks from a place that felt safer. Over the next hour we explored various steps of watching from indoors, through windows and gradually we moved out onto a covered deck as we continued to find ways that we could enjoy this event, but with a sense of safety for this impressionable young child. At one point we witnessed a reckless teenager who managed to acquire some fireworks and a lighter and quickly threatened the group’s safety by his own misguided actions. We watched as a group of calm and authoritative adults instantly formed a united front, transforming their fear reaction of this teen’s actions into calm yet commanding counter actions, disarming the youth by commandeering his lighter and delivering a strong talk about safety. Soon the level of safety was re-established and we all cheered as the big finale of fireworks signaled this fantastic show coming to an end. My niece had managed to find joyous awe as she observed this final display, having learned that she could experience such surprise and with the right conditions inside herself and outside in her environment, and transform her fear into awe. She watched with eyes wide, mouth open yet smiling, leaning forward looking up into the sky declaring, “This makes me very happy.”
~Photos posted with permission from workshop participants