About Gail Barlow

Gail Barlow

Gail Barlow is the Director of Dolphin Alexander Courses, which was set up in Richmond in 1990 after Gail completed the three-year full-time Alexander Technique Teacher Training Course and qualified as a Teacher of the F M Alexander Technique.

She is a Member of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT), which was founded in 1958 after his death by the teachers who trained with Alexander himself and is the oldest and largest professional body of Alexander Technique teachers in the world. Further information can be found at www.stat.org.uk

Gail trained with the late great charismatic and innovative Don Burton. After qualifying in 1990, in order to broaden and deepen her understanding and experience further, Gail worked as a postgraduate in London with the most senior Alexander teachers of the time, some of whom had been trained personally by F M Alexander himself (Walter Carrington, Dilys Carrington, Marjorie Barlow and Peggy Williams). In this way she experienced the nearest possible to Alexander's own hands-on teaching. She also worked in London, Devon and The Hague with second generation teachers such as Misha Magidov and Trisha Hemingway.

Subsequently, Gail was inspired by working with senior American teachers Marjorie Barstow, the first person to graduate from F M Alexander's training course in 1933 and the founder of her training course in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she worked with musicians and dancers; Frank Ottiwell, Director of the Alexander Technique Institute of San Francisco, whose speciality was teaching AT to singers and actors; Cathy Madden, founder member of the Performance School in Seattle, a trained actor and Alexander Teacher who taught singers, actors, dancers and musicians from an AT perspective; and Barbara Conable, Alexander Teacher at the Conservatory of Music in Cincinatti and developer, with her husband Bill, of the concept of 'body mapping', applied first to work with musicians and then to the wider world of Alexander teaching. All these American AT teachers were involved with teaching AT to performers and Gail has incorporated their combined expertise into her work ever since, not just with performers but with all her students.

In addition, she completed a four-year part-time counselling training from 1990 to 1994, which helped her to understand the mental and emotional aspects sometimes present in a person's long-held habit patterns.

Gail has now worked with over 2,000 people, either individually or by running public workshops and courses in Darlington, Guisborough, Aberystwyth, Cardigan, etc and she directed holiday courses in Greece and France for many years. She has also pioneered designing staff development Alexander Technique courses and taking them into companies, into The National Library of Wales, into Lancaster and Aberystwyth Universities and into The Institute for Grassland and Environmental Research. She taught Alexander Technique on several Jazz Summer Schools in London and directed 'Dolfinjazz' residential weekends in London specifically for jazz musicians and singers. For many years she was also the Alexander teacher for the Jazz Degree Course at Birmingham Conservatoire of Music, running AT masterclasses for musicians and singers.

Whilst living and working in New Quay and Aberystwyth, West Wales from 2000 to 2011, Gail worked on the Performing Arts Degree Course and on the MA in Performing Arts at Aberystwyth University, the musicFest annual classical music festival run by the university, with Lampeter Chamber Orchestra, with Aberystwyth Heartsong Choir, and with a group of tango dancers in Cardiff. She returned to Richmond in the autumn of 2011 and has re-opened her AT practice, now offering private sessions in Northallerton and occasional taster sessions in aid of Macmillan Cancer Relief at various locations in the area.

Drawn to the Technique as a 'last resort' for her own serious back problem, Gail's complete recovery and 'quality of life' transformation inspired her to relinquish her previous career in international industrial market research in order to re-train as an Alexander teacher. She speaks several languages and is an amateur singer, actor, dancer and learned the violin as a child. She is a member of Richmond Operatic Society, Musicality and The Station Singers, is an ex-member of Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society and has performed as a jazz singer with a band for several years, including performing in the Swansea Grand Theatre Cabaret Programme.

Her love of performing and her many years of experience working with performers mean that she has a special affinity with performers of all kinds and has an understanding and appreciation of the problems performers can come up against in terms of aches and pains, balance and projection. This awareness in turn gives her an insight into how non-performers 'perform a task' such as sitting at a desk, etc. Gail chose the dolphin for her practice name and logo because the magnificent dolphin represents the poise comprising power, fluidity and sensitivity to which we as human beings can aspire as we learn the Alexander Technique!

Sue B

"Within six weeks of starting Alexander Technique with Gail, I no longer needed the painkillers. The pain in my back has completely gone and my back is much stronger. I now feel freer, younger and more empowered. I have a 'can do' approach to my life which was not possible before!

Gail is an enthusiastic teacher who de-mystifies the Technique, making the concepts easy to understand and put into practice in everyday life. She has gentle but confident hands; not 'pushy-pully' but really effective.

(Sue, Civil Servant)
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"Gail is a clear and logical teacher. I can't cope with anything airy-fairy and so her teaching made sense to me. She showed me cause and effect and why you would be in pain if joints are not working as they are meant to. The idea that you could learn the concepts to go off and work on it yourself appealed to me and I have continued to do that since completing my course 18 months ago."

(John, Small Business Proprietor)
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For more information and comments about Gail's teaching, please go to the comprehensive 'People's Stories page' page.

Gail Barlow AIL DipM MSTAT 01748 884450

Teacher of the Alexander Technique in Northallerton