Alice Letts

Home » Articles & Interviews » Piano and music resources » Interview with Franis Engel on the Alexander Technique – Part 1

Interview with Franis Engel on the Alexander Technique – Part 1

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Franis Engel – Alexander Technique Teacher
People are often confused by Franis Engel’s name, as they will insist on calling her Francis instead of Franis. Now why would people do that? Is it because they think that Engel does not know how to spell her own name, and instead she really meant to write Franis? No, maybe it was a typo, and there really should have been a c there between the ‘n’ and the ‘i’? It could be because Franis is a very unique name. Francis is famous because of the religious Saint Francis, prayers and songs about Saint Francis. I must admit that I fall into the category of one of those people making that mistake. It wasn’t that I thought there was a misspell or typo, its just that I hadn’t noticed and just assumed there was a c. Have you seen those experiments where you can see a whole page of words that have the correct letters but put the wrong way or with letters missing? Well this is what I often do, simply skimming and glancing at text, and making up what I think the text says.

In keeping with the religious theme, Engel’s close friends often call her Angel. No, this does not have religious connotations, but simply refers to her surname. When Engel is translated into English it means Angel. In Hawaii people find it easier to abbreviate Engel’s first name and simply call her Fran.

Engel hails from America. She grew up in San Diego.

“When I was a kid in San Diego, we would be driving across this bridge and my
mom used to point down to a bare spot and say, “That’s where you were born.” So
until I was ten I thought I was born on a bare spot of dirt in a gulch. It
wasn’t until I was older that Mom managed to inform me that there used to be a
hospital there that had been demolished.”

Today however, Engel splits her time between West Marin, a coastal collection of small towns north of San Francisco, and the Big Island of Hawaii. Fran leaves a very full life.

“Multi-talented people have quite a time choosing how they’re going to spend
their time working with their abilities. Multiple abilities that crave to be
used act can act like gremlins who clamor for your attention. Me! Work with Me!
Specializing feels similar to deciding which of your children you’re going to
starve. So my unusual lifestyle comes from having to feed it all.”

While in Marin, Engel offers pet sitting services along with her teaching quite a few other interests. She has taught over 3000 people to juggle three balls. She is a fine artist. She also has a couple of seasonal businesses making a community phone book for a small town in CA, and painting cartoons on windows for the holiday season. In addition, Engel is a keen philosopher. She is an active participant in physicist David Bohm’s Dialogue list server group.

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