Puppeteers move for a living. Body Mapping is a scientifically proven method and an extremely useful tool for the performing artist. A Body Map is your own self-representation of how you “think” you are constructed – a performer will always move to how they “think” they are constructed, even if it goes against actual skeletal structure. Body Mapping quickly and easily helps a puppeteer to understand how movement works in their “real” skeletal system. Body Mapping is valuable for puppeteers, as it helps to expand awareness and changes the relationship with their own body and their puppet. It’s essential in injury recovery and is an indispensable method to change harmful movement patterns. It helps to discard any inaccurate notions of how we are structured, as this misunderstanding can add greatly to undue tension and pain in an activity.
The term Body Mapping was coined by two Alexander Technique Teachers, who saw it as a natural extension of their work. (Disclaimer: Body Mapping is not anatomy – the identification of all parts of human structure; nor is it kinesiology—the study of movement of the “parts.” So please, no fears that you will be attending a pedantic and stodgy lecture!).
We shall be working with a life-size skeleton that is cast from a real human being and can be disarticulated. We shall go through the different sections of the skeletal system, how they move and how they relate to the whole. In addition, we shall engage in short kinesthetic exercises that will help you to explore movement and proprioception (your ability to sense your body in space).
This is an introductory workshop to Body Mapping, and no prior experience is necessary. Participants are encouraged to bring a puppet with which they are familiar, so that the principles of Body Mapping can be immediately explored.
Dr. Larry Hensel is a creative tour de force and wildly inventive storyteller who blends the arts of singing, directing, writing, puppetry and movement, into theatrical and musical works of intrigue and humor. He studied at the O’Neil Theatre’s Puppetry Conference in 2014, and in 2016, was chosen to be acting music director for a 30-minute performance of excerpts from Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. He also was one of three puppeteers that operated the life-size puppet character of “Pirelli,” the barber.
As an educator, Hensel draws upon his Eastman School of Music pedigree (DMA and MM), twenty-five years of teaching experience, and his skills as a Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique (AT) for clinics throughout the US: as presenter at the 2018-2019 Explore Puppetry Series at the Center for Puppetry Arts (upcoming, Feb. 2019), and workshops at the Puppeteers of America Puppetry Festival, 2017, the University of Michigan School of Music, and NYU Steinhardt School. He has been a certified Teacher member of Alexander Technique International since 2007. He is a Professor of Music, Emeritus from the University of Wyoming, (Director of Opera Theatre, Head of the Vocal Area).