A tribute to Joyce Roberts
Joyce Roberts, my first Alexander Technique teacher worked in South Africa for over 55 years. She learnt the Alexander Technique as an apprentice to one of FM Alexander’s early assistant teachers, Irene Tasker, who spent many years working in this country.
At Alexander’s instigation, Tasker came from the UK to work in Johannesburg in the 1930s, in order to spread the work. Among her pupils were anthropologist Raymond Dart, and lawyer and anti-apartheid activist, Bram Fischer.
Joyce had suffered from severe asthma all her life but once she began Alexander lessons, she never had an attack again. She was unswerving in her commitment to this work, and had an especial talent for working with children. I met her in Cape Town in 1986, and started regular lessons the following year. I took this photograph when she was 90, a year before her death. I’ve always been fascinated when adults tell me that they were sent to Joyce as children; often, as they say this, they subtly straighten up!
Miss Roberts was my Alexander teacher in 1980, when I was with the Cape Town Symphony. She was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to me. I have a few photos of her if you’d like to have them.
Thanks so much for your message Thomas. I’d love to have copies of your photographs! Could you scan them?
Mis Roberts was my teacher from 1963 – 1965. Thanks for the photograph. I remember her so well. She used to have a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings and photographs illustrating how one should or should not stand. These were musicians, sportsmen, tennis players, acrobats etc. . She loved to show me the newspaper cuttings of Bridgitte Bardot! The way she stood, danced, acted and frolicked around Cannes. I was deeply impressed.
Thank you very much for the posting, Margaret! I hadn’t realized that you’d written, till updating my site this evening
It is wonderful to hear how vividly you remember Joyce’s teaching. She really did know how to get her message across. My experience was so similar to yours. I’m intrigued by how clear your memories are.
By the way, we have Joyce’s scrapbooks in our archives. They are unique!
Mis Roberts means a lot to me. I would like to write about why I was sent to her … and the influence that she had on my life. I am so happy to hear that her scrap book is in your archives!