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Suzuki Training C.W. Post

I went to C.W. Post on Long Island to visit my friend Vanessa Rosas. She is studying with Maria Porter for her MA in Theatre. Porter was trained by Suzuki himself and now teaches Suzuki with her own spin, a more intense physical training.




The 10 ways of walking:









The Chant they yell:


O, Splendor of sunburst breaking forth this day

Whereon I lay my hands once more on Helen, my wife.

And yet it is not so much as men think

For the woman’s sake I came to Troy,

But against that guest, proved treacherous,

Who, like a robber, carried the women from my house.


  • I interviewed Vanessa Rosas on Suzuki

ME: Why the Suzuki chant from the trojan women?


O, Splendor of sunburst breaking forth this day

Whereon I lay my hands once more on Helen, my wife.

And yet it is not so much as men think

For the woman’s sake I came to Troy,

But against that guest, proved treacherous,

Who, like a robber, carried the women from my house.


VAN: I’ve asked my prof this specifically. And she would never tell us. One of the thing she told us was to go read the play. And I never have! So I guess if I read it I’ll have an inkling.


ME: But when do you say it. Just during the stomping?


VAN: No, you dont say anything during stomping. Stomping is more focused on the form and technique and image that you’re working with. We try not to speak during stomping/stamping. We chant during our statues exercise.


ME: What is the statues exercise.


VAN: You’re simply making physical statues with your body. Your instructor calls the statues by making noses or hitting a Suzuki stick – a long wooden stick which you get at the end of your training. The very basic form you have, your beginning stance which is called, rest. Which is like a squat, a relaxed one. Feet on the floor and your body is slumped over. When she hits the stick you move as she tells you to.

As you get more advanced you gets more statues like sitting statues where you balance on your butt. Flying statues is where there is a box that you lay on where the part you balance is your stomach. There is electric statues which are moving. You start off on your back and you have to get to a standing position and then back down to the floor. One legged statues.


ME: Why statues. Why is it called that.


VAN: Well you’re actually making statues. You need to challenge yourself physically and lose balance. You need to free your mind and let your body do what it wants to do in the moment without overthinking. As actors we have a tendency to overthink and get lost in our heads. Statues help you overcome and have a blank mind.


ME: In Suzuki’s writing he talks a lot about community. Is there anything that you guys do that deals with community?


VAN: The traditional formal training is when you live in a commune. You train everyday, the way we interpret it:

There is a strong sense of community in your class from day one. We all sit in a circle. She says everything from this point on does not leave this room or class. You go through so much emotionally in the area created around the class. You feel very deeply and uncover hidden things with each other. Even though we are not living together we see eachother every day. Outside of class we practice and train until 4 in the morning all together. Having that support system is very tight knit. You form bonds that you don’t form with other people. We are a family. We’ve seen everyone cry, and we all have moments of total joy. We all experience everything together and help eachother get to that place.


ME: What is stomping?


VAN: It’s the very first thing you learn. The first day. You learn the right stance and then you go. It is a partially a warm up and a way to center yourself and to warm up your bodies. To connect with yourself and put everything in check, the god of perfection, your form.

You’re stomping not onto the ground but into the ground.  You’re stomping through the floor. You’re getting energy. The earth is giving you energy. When you feel you’re are too tired stomping surfaces the energy from the earth. It’s a support system.



ME: Why are there just 10 walks.


VAN: I don’t know. Ha. I dont know why he stopped at ten. But each walk focuses on a specific relationship. and it helps challenge your balance while keeping an image. And multi task while keeping focus.


ME: Was there one walk that was hard to you?


VAN: for me, i never enjoyed the bicycle, where you’re on the sides of your feet where you’re almost trotting on the floor. I like the more mentally challenging ones. Ones that are similar to dance moves.


ME: the one i like the most is the cockroach.


VAN: haha yeah, we would have cockroach races. To see who was fast. We would do all the 10 walks backwards once we got advanced.


ME: after the classes do you get the music that you march and stomp and walk to?


VAN: Yeah I think there is one or two that you can find online but you can only get the complete soundtrack once you finished the course.


ME: In his book he talks a lot about no and kabuki. Do you practice those techniques as well?


VAN: We briefly went over them. I know he was very influenced by those theatres and the techniques are pulled from the two but we never went in depth.


ME: can you tell me about the god of perfection;


VAN: It is an idea for yourself to strive for perfection. It’s used when you first start the physical training. because you cannot be satisfied with what you’re doing. The god of perfection is always watching you, and you are your own god as well. You set your own standards. You’re always trying your best.


ME: Is there a textbook showing you his techniques?


VAN: Suzuki is very hands on. There are no books. You can’t learn Suzuki from books. It’s more about the experience. You’re really going at things blind. Always wondering why we are doing these things. then one day you’ll have a big realization of I GET IT NOW. and you can’t find that in a book.

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