‘Don't educate them out of educating themselves’: A Conversation with Al Wunder

Abstract

Al Wunder's biography, in his own words: I had four lucky breaks that precipitated my becoming a teacher of improvised movement theatre. Between the ages of eight and fourteen I broke my right leg four different times. In 1962, I began modern dance classes with Alwin Nikolais as a physical therapy. His choreography and improvisation sections of class inspired me to teach and perform professionally. I spent eight years studying, teaching, choreographing, and performing with Nikolais.

1970 saw me move to the San Francisco Bay area where I opened a dance studio teaching Nikolais dance technique and improvisation. In 1971, I joined forces with Terry Sendgraff and Ruth Zaporah creating The Berkeley Dance Theater & Gymnasium. My focus was to create a way to teach dance technique through improvisation. I met my Australian wife, Lynden Nicholls, in 1981 when she came to study Motivity at Terry’s studio in Berkeley. In 1982, I moved to Melbourne, Australia where Lynden and I set up a dance studio. My focus changed from teaching dance technique improvisationally to teaching improvised movement theatre performance.

Over the next thirty years I developed a pedagogy that inspired professional and non-professional performers to create improvised movement theatre pieces. In 2006, I self-published a book, The Wonder of Improvisation. In 2017, a documentary was made by Michelle Dunn, The Wonder of Improvisation. In 2021, a book was written by Hilary Elliott and published by Routledge, The Motional Improvisation of Al Wunder.

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Krueger, A. & Wunder, A., (2021) “‘Don't educate them out of educating themselves’: A Conversation with Al Wunder”, Performance and Mindfulness 4(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/pam.1005

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Anton Krueger orcid logo (Rhodes University)
Albert Wunder (Theatre of the Ordinary)

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