Skip to main content

Movement & Stage Combat

Today’s rapidly changing industry is craving artists who put their whole being on the line, turning on a dime between intimate, emotional vulnerability and bold, physical risk-taking.  Theatre is becoming an athletic event, requiring artists who can fill the physically expressive demands of modern audiences and directors.  We strive to unlock the boundless creativity of the next wave of performers with bold movement training that reconnects students to their primal impulses and then shapes those impulses into articulate and inspiring expressions.  We believe this is best accomplished through a select combination of approaches.


“Contact improvisation is the beauty of natural movement combined with complete communication.”                ~ Curt Siddall

A central element of any fine performance is an uninhibited, continuous flow of communication.  In order to achieve this open exchange of communication we have to un-learn our fear.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of failure.  Fear of conflict.  A child’s natural state is to trust.  She doesn’t know that the flame on the stove will hurt her until she reaches out for it and gets burned.  The first time he gets his heart broken he learns not to rely on other people.  Our fear response, while necessary to avoid pain in everyday life, can become a hindrance to actor training and a significant blockage of communication.  Through simple weight-sharing exercises and ensemble-building techniques, Contact Improvisation teaches students to revert to their primal state of trust: trust in self and trust in others.  Once this door is opened the floodgates of creativity and confidence soon follow.


“When you know what you do, you can do what you want.”  ~ Moshe Feldenkrais

Moshe Feldenkrais studied the development of infantile movement in order to understand the primal urges that drive us to move and organize ourselves so we can function.  He realized that by returning to those fundamental organizing patterns he would connect his students to the essential elements of movement and thereby eliminate their reliance on the unnecessary stresses that people acquire throughout life.  This return to our primitive essence brings them out of the shadows of mindless habit and ushers them toward a life that is lived with intention and purpose.  Through the use of Feldenkrais’ Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration® lessons students gain a deep personal understanding of their bodies which may have been on auto-pilot for over a decade.  Once they are equipped with a more conscious awareness of themselves they have the ability to turn habits into choices.


“Artists and scientists are activists. They look at the world as changeable and they look upon themselves as instruments for change. They understand that the slice of world they occupy is only a fragment but that the fragment is intrinsically connected to the whole. They know that action matters.” ~ Anne Bogart

These two methods of actor training are fast becoming some of the most widely practiced in the industry.  The combination of improvisation, discipline, and precise storytelling create an immediately accessible vocabulary for artists in any part of the work and any part of the world.  While Tadashi Suzuki’s exercises require an unprecedented level of physical control and imaginative investment, Anne Bogart’s Viewpoints & Composition training gives students a logical framework on which to hang the chaos of human experience.


“The successful warrior is the average man with laser-focus.” ~ Bruce Lee

Every BFA Acting student at OCU is trained in basic unarmed and single sword technique in keeping with the standards set forth by the Society of American Fight Directors.  In addition to the in-class training there are also a multitude of regional SAFD weekend workshops that immerse students in a wide variety of weapons and physical disciplines, as well as provide a critical networking opportunity with some of the top working professionals in the country.  Some of the weapons that have been covered in class are unarmed, single sword, rapier & dagger, quarterstaff, kali sticks, and poi spinning.