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Nekrolog - Vera Cavling

Publiceret d. 5. maj 2011, 12:43 - 0 kommentarer.

Jeg mødte desværre aldrig Vera Cavling, som døde i april, 90 år gammel. Hun var én af de allerførste lærere i alexanderteknik i Danmark. Læs Mary McGoverns nekrolog og få et indtryk af en pionér.

Vera Cavling

17th December 1920 – 20th April 2011

A pioneer of the Alexander Technique has left us On 20th April 2011 Vera Cavling (née Kjær), aged 90, passed away after many years of illness. A fervent pioneer of the Alexander Technique and one of the few remaining direct links to Alexander himself, she has found peace from her sufferings. When Vera qualified from Walter and Dylis Carrington’s training course in 1964 she became the second Danish teacher of the Technique, although her connection with the Technique began almost 20 years earlier. In 1948 she travelled to London to have lessons from FM Alexander in the hope of alleviating the fatigue, insomnia and chronic headaches from which she had suffered from an early age. At the age of 25 she spent 6 months in hospital, where the doctors told her that she would never have a normal life and that the functioning of all her organs was diminished. After one week of lessons, however, Vera experienced that her insomnia and her “incurable” headaches had disappeared, and that she felt stronger than ever before.

In 1950 Vera and her future husband Jens Cavling decided to train to be teachers of the Alexander Technique in order to improve their own health and to be able to pass the Technique on to others. Friends in London told them that Ashley Place had become a “gloomy place” and recommended that they study with the Barlows. So in 1950 Vera, Jens and one other student started on Dr Wilfred and Marjory Barlow’s training course – the first teacher training course not run by Alexander himself. This, however, came to an abrupt end in 1951 when Alexander wrote to Dr. Barlow telling him to stop training teachers.

Vera and Jens returned to Copenhagen, married, and, although not yet a qualified teacher of the Technique, she taught it surreptitiously. Some years earlier, her sister Else, who taught relaxation techniques, had persuaded Vera to teach relaxation. Vera started teaching again, but her approach was very much influenced by the Alexander Technique. She called this combination “movement teaching”. She had seen the light, so to speak, and couldn’t keep it to herself.

After the death of her husband in 1962, Vera returned to London where she studied with the Carringtons. She completed her training in 1964.

Vera’s interest in “proving” the effects of the Technique led her to setting up a research project with the support of the Danish Research Council to study the effects of the Technique on people with backache. Events, however, conspired against the project. There were very few Alexander teachers in Denmark at the time (1974), one moved abroad, two others dropped out and a key doctor became unavailable. It was therefore with great interest that Vera studied the results of the British ATEAM study. It was more or less the kind of study she had dreamt of – and the results were as convincing as she had expected.

Vera was loved by a great many people: her pupils, her colleagues, her friends, her neighbours and their children, and her family. She received so many visitors at the hospital that the staff asked if she was famous. There was a constant, and perhaps exhausting, stream of people who wished her well and came to support her through a distressing time, thus returning some of the boundless generosity they had received from her.

In a way, Vera never gave up teaching. Even when her arthritis and other health problems made teaching physically impossible, she persisted in giving articles about the Technique to the doctors who were treating her and in instructing her home helps in the use of themselves – sometimes sending them to me for lessons.

Vera visited Walter and Dylis’s training course regularly during term times and took part in many of their annual refresher courses, so many teachers from around the world will know her. I met her in 1977 when I was a student there. Since I moved to Denmark in 1985 our friendship has grown. She was very generous towards me when I began setting up a practice in Copenhagen in 1987. I have always been impressed and inspired by her courage in the face of health problems, her ability to see the positive side of anything unpleasant and her unrelenting support for others.

Rest in peace, Vera. Your work is done for now.

Mary McGovern, Copenhagen