An Opera's Singers experience with Rolfing®

To convey text or message, the expressive presence of an actor's or singer's body and voice is essential. Working on fascias enhances body availability, to vary the possibilities of expression games, and Rolfing Movement helps to harmonise the coordination of movements, confirming the agility of the actor and his ability to be alert, while being calm, inhabited and authentic. The resonance box of the voice and its projection into space, brings a tangible sound feedback for each actor or singer and their audience.

Gloria's experience with Rolfing

Gloria, an opera singer, prefers above all else is to sing as a soloist, to mix opera and theatrical expression, to have no score, but to be able to follow a conductor, because she feels freer that way.

'What has changed with Rolfing is the work of the head and the distribution of its weight: it has changed the relationship between my head and my torso and has surprisingly improved circulation between all parts of my body. I hear the result from the sound of my voice and I perceive that my posture is different, that there is a relaxation related to breathing and the way I put my shoulders, manage my tongue and jaw.

If I block the shoulders when I inhale, they remain attached to the chest and if the legs are lazy, the chest twists. It is important to be aware of this: when my legs are strong in their supports, they carry my shoulders and when I am aware of my chest, that it is less curled up, the diaphragm is then less tight and everything moves to the bottom of the stomach when I breathe and sing. From front to back of my body, there is peace and quietness, I feel relaxed and the coordination of my movements and voice takes place naturally.

Before, my support system was not accessible. Rolfing gave me the opportunity to perceive how to get support and brought me a sense of wholeness within myself. When it flows between the different parts of the body, everything is articulated with more lightness and ease. It is noticeable in the way sound is produced and words are pronounced, everything is easier to control. I have a feeling of homogeneity, of being able to do what I want, because everything works together: setting up virtuosity, going fast with many notes and words, having a certain volume, varying nuances and expressing something of myself, which is not necessarily predetermined.

Then there is the moment I enter on stage and face the audience, sometimes it's like in a football stadium, or in a zoo where everyone performs. There is a kind of violence to receive, a response to the stress of being on stage, with which we can do something. For me, it happens a lot through the eyes: looking at people, at the space around them, having an overall impression. It is then a question of letting the intelligence of the body do the work. Personally, I like to regain the feeling of the ground.

Previously, the space to my left was not accessible to my left eye and I was compensating for this absence with my right eye. In addition, I am short-sighted and so facing the audience and watching them has helped me. I have many perceptions of my posture in relation to my gaze, but also, I perceive the link between my feet and my gaze, as if my feet supported my gaze. A certain radiation of the upper body is created by a very low support in the legs.

As a singer, you are both the instrumentalist and the instrument. In lyrical singing, as our instrument is soft, there are many tensions and counter-tensions to be found, in order to acquire a certain tone. Rolfing helped me to relax in the search for this tonicity. I didn't have a kind access to myself. It is the memory of certain sessions that made it possible to build this relationship with myself through gentleness'.

Author: Certified Advanced Rolfer®, Rolf Movement™ Practitioner and Dr. Ida Rolf Institute® Europe Faculty member, France Hatt-Arnold - Switzerland

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