The Magic of Breath in Acting

Peter Valentino Actor Training Blog

It’s an important part of all magical transformation, including Acting, and the word is breath. The actor’s greatest enemy is fear, and the enemy of the fear must then be the breath. That makes the breath your best friend. In my acting classes in Los Angeles, I teach the Actor to have an inner calm; this is a neutrality from which the actor can move into any emotion. The actor can be very relaxed and calm, or be extremely active. 

All this comes from having your diaphragm able to be in a homeostatic condition, without any residual nervousness in it. Breath exercises in actor training must be done to smooth the workings of a nervous diaphragm. Actor instruction should deeply emphasize breathing and how it is the vessel for serious acting. 

Stage fright, or really fear in any form, is simply a condition of the breath; a strong intentional breathing routine instills courage, and the knowledge that your body is conscious and prepared. This is something to keep in construct while training either in acting classes in Hollywood or with your friends in the garage. The breath reveals truth, and we must learn to utilize it in our acting in order to embrace Natural and spontaneous performance. Remember Breath always precedes Words; it is internal and immediate.

If you’re interested in furthering your actor training by learning more about the breath and its significance, check out this historic article on Stanislavsky’s emphasis on yoga and how the practice of pranayama breathing strengthens the actor. -> Stanislavsky’s emphasis on Yoga