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The Mask as a Gateway to the Self

In this experiential workshop, Zaslove explores the natural harmony of movement in the Animal, the Athlete and the Artist, in contrast to the defensive armor that develops in our physicality as we leave childhood and adopt the complex mask of the civilized adult.

Participants experience how the mask reveals our true inner spirits: not only in our faces but also in posture, gait, rhythm and movement patterns. The goal of mask training is to aid the participant in shedding their personal "character armor," in order to rediscover the true self, and to achieve a sense of inner calm, responsiveness and creative freedom.

The workshop features simple physical exercises for ensemble-building and physical alignment, improvisation games for concentration and imagination, and work with neutral and expressive masks (using Zaslove's extensive collection of primitive and theatre masks).

The neutral mask is a profound tool not only for diagnosing character blocks, but ultimately for the achievement of a childlike state of innocence, abandon and freedom. The exercises are based in a tradition of European physical theatre which has no counterpart in North America. The insights and experiences are universal. Donning the mask is a way of crossing the threshold to a deeper experience of the self.

Time: Can be presented in 90-minute format, 3 hours or a full 6-hour day (with lunch break). For groups devoted to more in-depth exploration, a mask and movement intensive can be tailored for the group's interests in either a weekend, 1-week or 2-week format.

Requirements: Up to 20 people at a time can participate, in an open room with enough space to allow movement. This is an experiential workshop, offering simple yoga-based exercises for relaxation and release (loose, comfortable clothing recommended). Participants need not be athletic in order to benefit. The exercises are safe yet profound. The instructor will act as a coach, offering each individual insights into his or her personal "mask" and physical character.

Please note: This is not a workshop in mask-making. Participants will have the opportunity to wear and work with the masks: moving from neutral to emotion to expressive. In addition to the personal insights the individual participants gain, there is great emphasis on ensemble and team-building skills.

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