What are movement classes for actors?

Movement Classes are integral to training in the Meisner technique. An actor’s body and voice are instruments of expression, which is why Movement training is a large part of the two year acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio. A piano is the instrument of the musician, and the paintbrush expresses the imagination of the painter. Actors train and care for their instrument, the body. Acting is a rigorous and physically demanding profession. Our movement classes for actors help students train the body so it can fulfill the demands made by the pursuit of the craft of acting.

instruction with blackboard during movement classes for actors at the maggie flanigan studio 06

Movement Classes for Actors New York NY – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 789-1599

Anyone who has yet to take a movement class for actors will find they experience discomfort, tension, and physical self-consciousness as they work. This is the death of any performance. In contrast, an acting student training at Maggie Flanigan Studio must learn how to build a strong and expressive physical presence. They work to become open, available, and capable of having real experiences and authentic emotions as the work progresses. Special care is given at Maggie Flanigan Studio to make it a safe and nurturing environment where actors can move away from limited, learned social behaviors and take more risks. In movement classes for acting, students are challenged to release during simple, truthful exchanges with other actors physically. As a collaborative art, acting demands a great deal of human contact and interaction, including physical expressions of emotional responses. The movement classes as part of the Summer Intensive program teaches actors how to use movement in their craft.

Why are movement classes important for acting?

An acting student seeking a professional career understands that their body must be able to move and express things in a vivid, authentic way. Studying movement techniques is essential for professional actors. From simply opening a door to expressing emotional anguish, mastering movement is key. Exceptional actors are trained to take in specific details of an imaginary world. They use these to express and create a new reality, as they respond to what they see and hear in the circumstances of a scene. Learning these movement techniques is essential to the study of Meisner.

students in the movement class for actors at the maggie flanigan studio practicing exercises

Movement Classes New York NY – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 789-1599

In movement classes, actors use all five senses to experience their imaginary surroundings. Their acting instrument can move sensually, responding to all that they see, hear, taste, touch, and experience. This takes place in an imaginary space, but if actors can learn to open up and become physically receptive, their movement is genuine. Excellent actors understand at a deep and enriched way, their fellow actors. They develop an ability to express and respond authentically and effortlessly. Naturally, this involves a great deal of physical expression in the body, but also in the face, in small non-verbal behavior in the hands, legs, fingers, and the entire body. How someone walks, turns, or opens a door, all movement becomes a physical expression that is authentic and truthful. Movement becomes an organic response to what others are saying and doing. This eliminates the self-awareness that too many actors experience. In Movement classes, actors work as collaborative teams to create a new imagined reality using movement as their form of expression.

Movement 1 at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Movement 1 is an introduction to the general concepts of movement and how they relate to the Meisner technique. The first level teaches students to release themselves from the restrictions that exist in their current physical state. We often move in ways that are in direct correlation to the constrictions we have placed on ourselves emotionally. The body and emotions work in tandem, continually influencing each other. To process all of the emotional demands placed upon them in a professional capacity, actors must learn to release themselves physically. This expands their emotional expression, as well. Movement 1 is about actors eliminating any pre-programmed, learned physical expressions that would get in the way of being open and responsive. Students will learn the foundation of the Williamson technique. They also explore open choreography, which is moving without predetermined actions or steps. This requires the actor first to study and master basic movement, which is what early Movement 1 allows.

The exercises and concepts that are a part of learning movement technique in Movement 1 include alignment, release vocabulary, and how to apply what you’ve what has been learned to exercises in Acting class. Although the study of movement is helpful during any stage of training, the correlation between Movement 1 and Acting 1 is significant. Fundamental exercises help actors identify their unique physical habits and areas where tension creates unnecessary, extraneous physical movement or behavior. In this class, you can begin to let go, become less cluttered, and increasingly capable of expansive, spontaneous and real behavior.

This first level of movement focuses on releasing the constrictions of the actor’s body and freeing the emotional life so that the two can work in concert.

Movement 2 at Maggie Flanigan Studio

One of the marks of an exceptional actor is their ability to create and respond in specific and detailed ways, based on their surroundings and what is happening at any given moment. The actor cannot rely on “props” or set pieces. These do not imbue movement with meaning: the actor does. In Movement 2, actors work to become open conduits of touch, emotion, physical movement, and behavior and expressions. All expression uses the body as an instrument, as real emotions come through and blossom organically. The movement technique taught at Maggie Flanigan Studio supports Meisner training.

In Movement 2, actors unpack the physical aspects of absorbing and then expressing information from all five senses. One of the most critical elements of Meisner is listening to, and focusing on, fellow actors. With the increased awareness of the physical self gained In Movement 1, the actor now learns how to understand and participate in ensemble work using personal movement.

Actors train in exercises such as blind work, animal essence, and what is called “drunk work,” learning more expansive types of movement and exploring improvisation. One example of the work done in Movement 2 is blind impediment exercises that enhance the senses that are typically less dominant. In drunk work, actors learn to function on experiencing what full physical release is.They gain a heightened sensual awareness due to an extraordinary amount of permission. In the second semester, actors also explore alignment and flexibility.

movement classes for actors with briana packer at the maggie flanigan studio

Movement Classes in New York NY – Briana Packen – Call (917) 789-1599

Movement 3 at Maggie Flanigan Studio

The Maggie Flanigan Studio believes that it is diverse and well-rounded training that allows actors to persevere and sustain a career in light of the extreme demands that are placed upon them. In Movement 3, actors apply what they have experienced and mastered in the first year of movement study and take on new challenges. This semester follows a full year of being immersed in becoming physically free and capable of rich, experiential behavior that is real. Moving beyond Williamson Technique, we offer training that provides students with a more expansive vocabulary and collaboration.

We introduce training in Viewpoints, a technique taught around the world by professionally recognized actors and directors. This technique is rooted in postmodern dance training, one of the most expressive forms of dance. Developed by choreographer and dancer Mary Overlie, Viewpoints draws on two main elements of stage performances, time and space. Later, theater directors Ann Bogart and Tina Landau modified the approach using an actor lens and developed Viewpoints.

This technique breaks down the concepts of time and space into sub categories: space, shape, time, emotion, movement, and story. This structure offers a perfect framework for physical movement and improvisation. Once an actor studies and owns these aspects of movement, it becomes a natural foundation that allows for the creation of intense, dynamic moments.

Viewpoints is a powerful ensemble building tool, giving performers an ever-increasing awareness of physical expression. They begin to understand on a deeper level how physical characterization works, and tools that they can use to choreograph authentic physical movements.

instruction during a movement class for actors at maggie flanigan studio 01

Movement Class New York NY – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 789-1599

Movement 4

Movement 4 is the final class in our two-year training, and centers around the Suzuki method. This class continues our commitment to providing students with extensive conservatory-based training that prepares them for a long term career as an actor, and leads them closer to mastery of the craft.

One critical aspect of becoming a seasoned, well-trained actor is physical simplicity. Ironically, physical simplicity is incredibly challenging, and it can take many years to fine-tune your instrument. One must pare everything down to the most authentic physical expressions. Exceptional actors have stripped away the unconscious physical habits, old physical patterns that clutter the clarity of a character. These impediments get in the way of acting and freely, and limits an actor’s ability to be experientially alive and moving in the moment.

The Suzuki Method is a rigorous and compelling approach that challenges actors to instill three essential qualities: strength, simplicity, and presence. Developed by renowned Japanese theatre director Tadashi Suzuki, the process begins with actors studying breathing, using their center of gravity, and collecting and harnessing energy. This eventually leads to power, presence, and precision, all considered essential to the actor’s craft.

Suzuki training is rigorous, and further expands actors’ physical vocabulary. Actors explore physical awareness, imagination, and the physical expression of vocal power. They also work on developing a sense of will and strength. Actors trained in Suzuki can create a rich, resonant “voice,” a commanding presence, and the ability to express all levels of physical energy.

actors in movement class at maggie flanigan studio rehearse together

Best Movement Class for Actors New York NY – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 789-1599

Learn More About Movement Classes at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Movement is an essential component of the actor’s instrument, especially for a Meisner trained actor. Maggie Flanigan Studio asks students to study all four semesters of movement because it is so vital to becoming an exceptional actor. However, we do offer Movement classes in several of our acting programs.

To enroll in our two-year conservatory program, actors need to first complete an interview Executive Director and Head of Acting Charlie Sandlan. Registering for the interview is simple, visit: If you would like more information about our programs, or the best way to take a movement class at the studio, call (917) 789-1599.

Movement Class for Actors New York NY


Movement Classes for Actors New York NY

The acting school of Maggie Flanigan Studio offers profession acting training for serious actors from New York NY as well as these New York, NY areas:

New York NY, Manhattan, NYC, Bronx NY, Brooklyn NY, Queens NY, Staten Island NY, Battery Park City NY, Financial District NY, TriBeCa NY, Chinatown NY, Greenwich Village NY, Little Italy NY, Lower East Side NY, NoHo NY, SoHo NY, Wards Island NY, Washington Heights NY, West Village NY, Alphabet City NY, East Village NY, Lower East Side NY, Two Bridges NY, Chelsea NY, Clinton NY, Gramercy Park NY, Kips Bay NY, Murray Hill NY, Peter Cooper Village NY, Stuyvesant Town NY, Sutton Place NY, Tudor City NY, Turtle Bay NY, Inwood NY, Spanish Harlem NY, Waterside Plaza NY, Lincoln Square NY, Manhattan Valley NY, Upper West Side NY, Lenox Hill NY, Roosevelt Island NY, Upper East Side NY, Yorkville NY, Hamilton Heights NY, Manhattanville NY, Morningside Heights NY, Harlem NY, Polo Grounds NY, East Harlem NY, and Randall’s Island NY.

To learn more about the movement classes and acting programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio, click here.

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