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LISA DALTON's WORK?

 

There are few acting teachers in the world that can bring to the classroom the kind of wisdom, experience and sensitivity that Lisa Dalton does. A teacher of acting since 1974, Lisa has touched the lives of performing artists in Russia, Germany, France, Belgium, England, the Caribbean and the United States with students from over thirty five different countries.

 

She offers ongoing courses for actors covering all aspects of the industry including basic and advanced acting, on-camera commercial and scene study courses, audition, interview, and cold-reading techniques as well as image/marketing and networking skills. In additional to group classes, Lisa privately coaches many working actors for film, television and stage roles and offers concrete career guidance and motivational support for beginner and intermediate level professionals. Michael Chekhov Institutes are week-long intensive seminars held at universities, including University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and University of Southern Maine (USM) in Portland Maine. In addition she offers phone and Skype coaching, as well as personal studio coaching.

 

In recent years, Lisa has crafted intensive programs for actors from Italy, Denmark and Japan, as well as various areas of the United States. Each program is custom designed to meet the needs of the individual or group, taking into consideration the objective of the student/organization, the length of stay in Los Angeles, the budgetary needs and the artistic goals. Having taught in many different countries, Lisa is experienced in working with interpreters and skilled at assessing the work of actors acting in languages other than English.

 

WHY STUDY WITH LISA?

 

When it comes to selecting an acting training method, there are aspects to consider beyond convenience, price and fancy marketing. Every actor must able to act within the requirements of the medium- be it television, commercials, stage or film. They then must be able to get the opportunity to work. But there are many successful “stars” in Hollywood who are wonderful actors, getting all of the work they want, making millions- who, as human beings, are in deep pain. Lisa Dalton takes a very strong stand on this added element, giving significant attention to nurturing the full human being. She helps strengthen the fragile nature of aspiring actors, knowing the depth of their dreams and the complementary fears of never achieving or of fully achieving those fears. Her classes build the inner core of belief in the individual artist’s love of acting and the power that this love will supply to the actor. This is why the predominant training method Lisa focuses on is based on the greatest actor Russia ever produced-Michael Chekhov. His technique is the longest established most fully developed technique in contemporary acting methods based in unlimited imagination as manifest through the physical body. His work is founded upon the power of our love for acting, for our audiences, for portraying the human condition, for healing, uplifting, entertaining and educating.

 

WHY LEARN MICHAEL CHEKHOV'S TECHNIQUE FROM LISA DALTON?

 

Lisa Dalton is in a most unique position to teach Michael Chekhov’s work, especially to actors interested in on-camera work and all styles of stage. Here’s why: Michael Chekhov died in Hollywood in 1955, after coaching many great stars including Marilyn Monroe, Anthony Quinn, and Gary Cooper. He began his teaching as a member of the Moscow Arts Theater in the late 1910’s, and was marked for arrest in 1928 by the Soviet government for integrating eastern meditative practices and visualization techniques into his training methods. He had begun to develop the power of “Radiation” (used by actors such as Yul Brynner and Clint Eastwood) and the now famous “Psychological Gesture” (used by such notable actors as Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Depp and Jack Nicholson.) After is escape from Russia, his next ten years were in Europe where he continued to develop his work in Latvia and Lithuania, France and England.

In 1938, he moved his school to New York and Connecticut, and then, in 1942, to Hollywood. He taught in Los Angeles until his death in 1955, evolving from an antipathy toward film, to “falling in love with the problem” and creating new means to cope with the shortened preparation process.

 

During each of these phases, Mr. Chekhov’s teaching methods grew and changed- as would any great master’s. The needs of the Russian stage actor varied from that of the Hollywood film actor. No direct students of Mr. Chekhov remained with him throughout the evolution of his technique. Hence, the developments made in his work for film were never taught by the “first generation” of teachers who emerged from his Russian, European or East Coast student body. By the same token, Hollywood students of the late 40’s and 50’s never received the “conservatory” style training for a life long career in the theater.

 

Interestingly, Mr. Chekhov had an uncanny ability to reach each prot g on the level at which that prot g was working. Hence, each prot g ’s subsequent teaching placed emphasis on different aspects of the whole technique. For example, unless a student specifically and privately addressed the issue with Mr. C, he did not openly share the more spiritual nature underlying the work. In addition to this, many of Chekhov’s students were previously trained in “the method” based on Stanislavsky as expounded by the Actor’s Studio. Mr. Chekhov felt that Stanislavsky’s system of analysis was excellent and he himself built on that knowledge. So, some of his students who then taught purely what Micha taught often excluded the system of analysis that was part of their knowledge prior to training with Chekhov. These gaps made teaching and popularizing the techniques difficult for the first generation teachers. The general public was not ready to accept this “Alternative” system of training.

Lisa Dalton trained with at least ten different “first generation” teachers from these various phases of his career. She also had the opportunity to work with Russian Actors who had retained early, more intangible energy-sending exercises like those that first brought him under the suspicions of the Soviet government, as well as from his European and New York/Connecticut Phases and his early and later Hollywood years.

 

HOW DID LISA SYNTHESIZE THESE MANY MENTORS’ POV’S?

 

When Lisa began to notice variations in the teacher’s points of view, she sought a way to understand the underlying essence that would make each teacher’s approach equally valid. Sustaining a nearly paralyzing back injury in 1989 served as the perfect catalyst. The permanency of the medical prognosis- a life of chronic pain-compelled Lisa to begin to research scientific, metaphysic, athletic, quantum physic, eastern philosophies and psychology to find a way to be pain free. In her research, she discovered that everything was related to Chekhov’s world of Unseen energies. She found many underlying universal principles. With the world’s much wider acceptance of mind-body relationships, theories of relativity (the observed is affected by the observer), the unified energy field, the Messages from Water, the inner game of tennis, etc. Lisa is now able to present these once esoteric and ungraspable ideas in a manner that everyone can access and integrate. And by the way, her back has improved beyond all medical prognostications.

 

HOW DID LISA DALTON LEARN MICHAEL CHEKHOV’S TECHNIQUES?

 

She began her Chekhov training in 1980 with Wilfred Hunt, working on the world premiere of a silent adaptation of the D. H. Lawrence novel, “The Fox”. Later, she joined with Ted Pugh and the Actors Ensemble from the early 80’s through 1987, including several years at the Michael Chekhov Studio in New York, where her faculty (with where they trained with MC) also included Deirdre Hurst du Prey (UK, US), Beatrice Straight (UK, US), Joanna Merlin (Hollywood), Hurd Hatfield (UK, US), Eleanor Faison (UK, US), and Felicity Mason (UK, US). Additional faculty and workshops included Eddy Grove (Hollywood), Richard Kiley (Man of La Mancha), Simms Wyeth, Mel Gordon. Moving to Los Angeles in 1988, Lisa continued to train even as she was teaching, with Mala Powers (Hollywood, MC Estate Executrix), Jack Colvin (Hollywood) and George Shdanoff (UK, NY, Co-director). In addition to these classes, Lisa has collected over 160 hours of video interviews with many of her teachers and other MC students and colleagues of Michael Chekhov who have helped expand Lisa’s grasp of the essence of the man and his work. Anthony Quinn (early Hollywood), Lloyd Bridges and his wife Dorothy (1946, Hollywood), Phil Brown (1946, Hollywood, Star Wars), Leslie Caron (Hollywood), Ford Rainey(US), Paul Rodgers (UK), Daphne Field (UK, US), Mary Lou Taylor (UK, US), and John Berry (NY, 1941, Hollywood).

 

LISA DALTON AS AN INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE

 

In addition to this extensive exposure to the techniques of Michael Chekhov, Lisa Dalton has been on the organizing board of many Michael Chekhov International Workshops (MCIW) in such places as Berlin, Moscow, and London. She has been able to participate and video tape scholars from Russian, Latvia, Germany, Finland, the UK and the US, presenting their studies of MC, his theatrical genius, his biography, the evolution of his psycho-physical technique and the growth of it’s popularity in the last decade of the 20th Century. In 1998 and 1999, she was able to bring the MCIW to America for the first time, serving as the Artistic Director at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut.

Lisa Dalton is currently president of Lisa Dalton Studios, Inc., a private acting studio and performance ensemble in Fort Worth, TX. The Dalton Gang Ensemble completed a short film shot on location at Dreamworks in Burbank. Nearly one third of the footage in the Now Available DVD “From Russia to Hollywood” is from Lisa’s archives. She also contributed significantly to the new video “Chekhov: The Dartington Years 1935-38 and in August of 2009, contributed footage to Moscow first major biography of Michael Chekhov for major Russian TV. .”

 

IS THIS A CASE OF “THOSE WHO CAN'T DO…TEACH?”

 

Clearly not. Just visit www.imdb.com and enter Lisa Dalton for a partial list of film and TV credits. Visit www.talnet.net/ldalton to view older resumes.

Lisa was in the 2005 Season Finale of ER with Noah Wylie. Recent films include The Sensei (www.thesenseimovie.com) and Midnight Clear. Her work as a professional actress has been quite active. Lisa was seen in national commercials for MICKELSON SCIENCE INSTITUTE, ANNHEUSER BUSCH, Pizza Hut, Procrit, Post Cereal, and Mervyns. Her film work included independent projects- MY NORMAL LIFE, THE CONNEXTION, THE SHADOW BOX and JUDGE IS GOD. On stage, Lisa appeared in the world premiere of “A Room without Corners.” She also directed the stage production of “OF MICE AND MEN, and Moose Mating”.

 

In Spring of 2009 Lisa directed the regional premiere of Walking Across Egypt at the Artisan Center Theatre near Fort Worth TX.

 

LISA DALTON: IN FRONT OF THE AUDIENCE

 

The process of teaching a living art requires application. This is where Lisa Dalton carries Michael Chekhov’s work into the contemporary acting needs of modern technology. Lisa has maintained a career in front of the camera and on the stage throughout these last three decades, applying on a practical basis, all that she has studied and taught. While living in NY, Lisa performed as an impersonator/comedienne/clown at over 150 events per year. In 1976,she was a cofounder of the Bond Street Theater (now in it’s 33rd year) at the La Mama Theater in the East Village. From 1980-1990, she appeared in over 100 films, television shows and commercials as an actress, stuntwoman or comedienne. Her credits include Splash, Ghostbusters, Highlander, World According to Garp, Money Pit, Crocodile Dundee, Saturday Night Live, Guiding Light, As the World Turns, Ford, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, and Cadillac.

On stage, Lisa did national tours of “Dr. Silkini’s Great Ghost Show” and “The Wonderful World of Burlesque.” She performed at Lincoln Center, various Theater Row houses, La Mama, ATA and the St. Clement’s Theater. She has acted in over 50 plays in Washington DC, Boston, Milwaukee, Syracuse, Moscow, England, NY and Los Angeles.

 

She spent 18 years in LA, and has appeared in several television movies and series (HBO”S Fall 2003 Series CARNIVALE, Melrose Place, Life Goes On, Dr. Quinn, FBI) and many commercials such as Staples, Wesson, Coke, Key Bank, Cable One, AT&T, “Got Milk”, Michelob, Polaroid and Blue Cross. She was a recipient of the DramaLogue Award for Outstanding Theater Performance in 1997.

In 2006, Lisa sang at Carnegie Hall under John Rutter's direction with the Unity Choir.

 

In addition to having used the Michael Chekhov technique to execute the varied acting styles of the on-camera and live venues, Lisa used them to win over a dozen awards for producing/directing/editing short films, documentaries, music videos and narrative videos from such places as the American Film Institute, Houston WorldFest, Crystal Awards and Hometown, USA Awards. She has developed their use for Head shots, marketing, networking, auditioning for the actor and directing, writing, producing and editing for the other side of the business.

 

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