Donna Eshelman: Seven Keys to Skilled Movement



acting coach
theatre resume

Theatre productions that Donna has worked on are often described as “natural and compelling (Joe Straw #9), “dynamic (LA Times),” and “electric (StageScene LA).” She facilitates the storytelling by coaching the actors to create a sense of time and place through their gestures and movement. She works with actors to find the most realistic physical expression of their emotions. Actors discover nuanced and dynamic physical expressions of their character for such aspects as illness/strength, age (child, elderly, etc.), and vocation (blue collar/white collar) as Donna's coaching draws from her many years of teaching movement to people of many ages and levels of physical ability (from severely injured/ill to professional athletes/performers). During the rehearsal process she teaches lessons to the actors for home practice to help them tune in to their bodies and improve their voices.

Donna is also a choreographer. She has studied several world dance forms but is primarily trained in ballet/modern dance. Her choreography is known for its inventiveness.

Her coaching draws from her kinesiology background as well as training in movement modalities such as the Feldenkrais Method of neuromuscular reeducation and Laban’s effort/shape vocabulary. Private lessons and small group classes are available for actors who wish to continue studying privately or semi-privately.




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"Donna's guidance was instrumental in helping me create a very difficult and complex character; a man whose shame, guilt, and emotional turmoil precede him. Donna helped to filter these emotions into physical actions and kinetic subtleties that created a safe place for me to hold these difficult emotions, play them truthfully, and then let them go afterwards. The work is very powerful. Her knowledge of it, her guidance, is palpable. I ended up winning a Performance of the Year award for my work."
– Tim Cummings, award winning actor,
The Woodsman

"I believe Donna can make ANY production better!"
– Jeremy Lelliott, Director and Actor
NCIS, 7th Heaven, Melrose Place
Founder and Artistic Director of Coeurage Theatre Company

"Donna helped me find a deeper stillness in my body and guided me to a better understanding of economy of movement which has been essential for the development of my work onscreen and onstage."
– Michael Roark, Actor
The Young and the Restless, Finding Carter, Grey's Anatomy

"I have never thought about the physicality of acting like this before!"
– Shaun Taylor-Corbett, actor, singer, writer
Supremacy, Hi-5, Frankie Valli in 2nd National Tour of Jersey Boys

"Donna really has the ability to see where we need to do the movement!"
– Carryl Lynn
Red State, Melinda, and Alice

"My most grounded, instrumentally available work has come as a result of Donna's training; it is no coincidence that in a long theatrical run, my emotions were never more accessible on stage than when performance nights would follow Donna's classes earlier in the day."
– Jordan Wall, Actor
The Glades, Harry's Law

©2011 Donna Eshelman, All Rights Reserved.
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