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Breath in Action

"Breath in Action" confirms the importance of breath as central to all vocal communication. Bringing together experts on voice and breath from a variety of backgrounds, the book provides a wealth of information on the art of breath and vocal communication. New strategies for teaching breath, new paths of integration from various other disciplines and the latest in medical information are all brought together in this comprehensive, user-friendly volume. Divided into five sections, the book considers the use of breath in a range of contexts: Breath in the Body; Breath Across Cultures; Breath in Training; Breath in Movement; and Breath and the Mind. It offers an up- to- date perspective on how breath is taught in order to achieve better results in a performance context, and how it is conceptualised in order to add greater meaning and generate greater understanding of all human communication. Combining theory with practice, many of the chapters contain clearly laid out practical exercises on breathing techniques from various disciplines. Interdisciplinary in its focus, "Breath in Action" adds to specialist knowledge in the performance field, whilst also offering enlightening information for those interested in therapeutic and healing processes, movement, and voice and speech sciences.
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Table of Contents

Contributors' Biographies. Acknowledgements. Dedication. Foreword. Cicely Berry, Voice Director, Royal Shakespeare Company. Introduction. Jane Boston, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London, UK, and Rena Cook, University of Oklahoma School of Drama, USA. Part I: Breath and the Body. Introduction. Jane Boston and Rena Cook. 1. Anatomy of Breathing. Dr. Yolanda Heman-Ackah, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA . 2. A Short History of Breath From Womb to Tomb. Stephanie Martin. 3. Effects of Posture and Diaphragmatic Breath. April Pierrot, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London, UK. 4. The Art of Breathing. Jessica Wolf, Yale School of Drama, USA. Part II. Breath and the Mind. Introduction. Jane Boston and Rena Cook. 5. Breath and the Science of Feeling. Rebecca Cuthbertson-Lane. 6. The Breathing Mind: The Feeling Voice. Joanna Weir Ouston, Oxford School of Drama, UK. 7. The Art of Breathing. Kristin Linklater, Columbia University, New York, USA. Part III: Breath and Holistic Practice. Introduction. Jane Boston and Rena Cook. 8. Dahnjeon Breathing: Training Actors' Voices Through Korean P'ansori. Kristin Linklater. 9. Transformative Breath: From Shamanism to Voice Practice. Marj McDaid, ArtsEd, London, UK. 10. Qi Gong Breath. Michael Morgan, Yale School of Drama, USA. 11. Integrated Movement Practices and the Breath. Debbie Green, Central School of Speech and Drama, London, UK. 12. Breath, Theatrical Authenticity, and the Healing Arts. Rena Cook. Part IV: Breath and Performance. Introduction. Jane Boston and Rena Cook. 13. Transformation and the Actor: The Responsive Breath. David Carey, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London, UK. 14. Breathing the Verse.: An Examination of Breath in Contemporary Actor Training. Jane Boston. 15. An Integration of Breath, Body and Mind. Lisa Wilson, Department of Theatre, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. 16. Laban and Breath: The Embodied Actor. Katya Bloom, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London, UK.17. The Breath: Heart and Soul of the Self. Judylee Vivier, MFA Acting Program, Brooklyn College, New York, USA . Index.

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A wealth of information and strategies on the art of breath and vocal communication

About the Author

Jane Boston is Senior Voice Practitioner and Head of Artistic Research and Development at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. She holds an Advanced Diploma in Voice Studies from the Central School of Speech and Drama, London. In her 20 year teaching career she has served as voice teacher, acting teacher and director in a number of educational institutions and theatres, including the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and the Central School of Speech and Drama. Jane divides her time between work in London and home in Brighton, where she lives with her partner and their daughter, Ella. Rena Cook is Head of Voice at the University of Oklahoma School of Drama where she teaches voice, speech and dialects. In her 20-year career, she has served as voice and dialect coach or director for over 200 productions and she is a distinguished actress, presenter and voice-over artist. Rena holds an MA in Voice Studies from the Central School of Speech and Drama and an MFA in Directing from the University of Oklahoma. She has taught lawyers, politicians, teachers, and supervisors to use the voice more effectively though her private business, Vocal Authority. Rena lives in Oklahoma with her husband, Joe.


The mystery of breath continues to intrigue us. We still do not know all the answers but as Judylee Vivier says, there is nothing really new: "The basic principles are definitive but there are many doors through which we can enter the same room". On this basis, this is an intersting addition to any practitioner's bookshelf. -- Voice Matters This is an inexpensive and fascinating book for those interested in finding out more about what influences the theatre voice practitioner. -- Speech & Language Tharepy in Practice Breath in Action offers a rich tapestry of approaches to effective breathing that occasionally contrast, but mostly complement each other... The writers of Breath in Action are literally and figuratively filled with inspiration. May their wise words enlighten theatre artists for years to come. -- American Theatre

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