Freedom to Move: 2014

Dart and the Alexander Technique

May 16-18, 2014 in New York City

The Freedom to Move Conference on Dart and the Alexander Technique will focus on Raymond Dart's contribution to human skill and coordination and its connection to the Alexander Technique.

Alex Murray will share his understanding and speak about his work with the Dart Procedures. Alex, along with his wife Joan, developed a series of exploratory poses and movements relating to the sequence of human developmental movement from infant to adult. Now known as the Dart Procedures, these movements correspond to F. M. Alexander’s understanding of human poise and coordination.

Alex and Joan Murray, directors of the Alexander Technique Center Urbana, have been working with the Alexander Technique since 1955. They have trained and graduated over 100 teachers of the Alexander Technique.

Raymond Dart, best known as an anatomist and anthropologist, also explored physiology and developmental movement, tracing the evolution of the earliest vertebrates to the upright human.

During this conference we will explore the application of the Dart Procedures and Alexander Technique to various disciplines and will show how they are fundamental to all human movement.

Come join us and explore!

Presenters include:
Katherine Mitchell
Judith Muir
Alex Murray
Rebecca Nettl-Fiol
Jess Prichard
Ann Rodiger
Luc Vanier




New York City Center Studios

130 West 56th St.

(between 6th and 7th Ave.)


7:00 - 9:30 pm:  OPENING SESSION

Raymond Arthur Dart: 1893-1988, an Appreciation 

Alex Murray

A thirty minute talk on how my wife and I met Professor Dart, and the friendship began which has led to a transformation in our understanding of the contribution of F.M. Alexander to the potential quality of human life.
Some of the practical procedures which have helped us in our lives and teaching will be demonstrated briefly, in two thirty minute segments. These helped form the basis of our current understanding.
Individual assistance in applying what is demonstrated will be available on Saturday morning and afternoon for those interested.


Pearl Studios

500 8th Avenue

4th floor



9:30 - 10:00 am: SESSION 1

Introduction to the Principles of the Alexander Technique

Alex Murray

10:15 am - 12:00 pm: SESSION 2

The Dart Procedures

Alex Murray presenting the Dart Procedures

Group sessions following presentation

12:00 - 1:00 pm: LUNCH

1:00 - 3:00 pm: SESSION 3

3A.  Small Group Work (1:00-1:45, 2:00-2:45) limited enrollment

Alex Murray

3B.   Dart and Teaching the Alexander Technique (for AT Teachers)

Katherine Mitchell

3C.  Movement, Dart and the Alexander Technique: Primary and Secondary Curves

Rebecca Nettl-Fiol and Luc Vanier

3D. Hands-on Introduction to the Alexander Technique

Ann Rodiger

3:30 - 5:30 pm: SESSION 4

4A.  Movement, Dart and the Alexander Technique: The Double Spiral

Rebeca Nettl-Fiol and Luc Vanier

4B.  Dart and the Actor

Jess Prichard

4C. Diamond-Dart Meridian Sequence, Part I

Judith Muir



Pearl Studios

500 8th Ave.

4th floor

10:00 am - 12:00 pm: SESSION 5

5A.  Dart applied to Ballet Technique

Luc Vanier

5B.  Let’s Tango

Katherine Mitchell

5C.  Dart in Everyday Life and Movement

Ann Rodiger

5D.  Diamond-Dart Meridian Sequence, Part II

Judith Muir

12:00 - 1:30 pm: BRUNCH

1:30 - 2:30 pm: SESSION 6

Panel Discussion: Dart Perspectives


Registration info:

Registration by May 1st: $250

Registration after May 1st: $275

Student (with current ID) registration by May 1st: $180

Student (with current ID) registration after May 1st: $200

Pay-by-session: $45

Student pay-by-session: $30

Full conference registration includes attendance at Friday night events, one workshop in each of the 6 sessions and the Closing Session.


Friday night lecture only: $45

New York City Center Studios

130 West 56th St.

(between 6th and 7th Ave.)


Saturday and Sunday sessions will take place at Pearl Studios, 500 8th Avenue, 4th floor. 



Sessions A, 1, 2 and 3A with Alex Murray

Alex and Joan Murray’s experience of the Alexander Technique began in 1955 with Charles Neil, and continued after his death in 1958, with Walter Carrington. They spent nine years working with Walter Carrington, who was F.M. Alexander’s principal assistant at the time of his death in 1955. They worked with and were friends of many first generation teachers, including: Majorie Barstow, Dilys Carrington, Frank and Helen Jones, Patrick Macdonald, Charles Neil, John Skinner, Peter Scott, Tony Spawforth, Richard and Elizabeth Walker, Lulie Westfelt, Kitty Wielopolska, and Peggy Williams. 

The Murray’s have taught extensively in London, the United States and Europe, in universities and conservatories.  During their early years in London, Joan was a well-known dancer in many major musical productions, including in My Fair Lady and The King and I.  Alex was principal flute in major orchestras, including the Royal Opera and the London Symphony Orchestra.  Alex became Professor of Flute at Michigan State University, 1967 - 1974.  Joan taught the Technique to his students and colleagues in the Music School.  Alex spent three years at the Royal Dutch Conservatory in the Hague, during which time, Joan taught extensively in Holland and London.  They returned to the United States when, in 1977 Alex was appointed Professor of Flute at the University of Illinois, a position he held until his retirement in 2002.  Since then he has devoted himself full-time to the Alexander Technique. Joan has maintained a private teaching practice and run the teacher-training course since moving to Illinois in 1977.

Session 3C: Movement, Dart and the Alexander Technique: Primary and Secondary Curves with Rebecca Nettl-Fiol and Luc Vanier

Session 4A: Movement, Dart and the Alexander Technique: The Double Spiral with Rebecca Nettl-Fiol and Luc Vanier

Rebecca Nettl-Fiol, Professor of Dance at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is a teacher, choreographer, and author, specializing in the Alexander Technique and dance training. A faculty member at Illinois since 1982, she certified as an Alexander teacher with Joan and Alex Murray in 1990. She has been invited National Dance Education Organization and International Association for Dance Medicine and Sciences conferences. Rebecca and Luc’s teaching and research over Medicine and Sciences conferences. Rebecca and Luc’s teaching and research over the past 15 years has resulted in the book, Dance and the Alexander Technique: Exploring the Missing Link (University of Illinois Press 2011). She is also the co-editor of The Body Eclectic: Evolving Practices in Dance Training (U of Illinois Press 2008). Rebecca’s choreography is presented annually at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and was recently selected for performance at the American Dance Guild 2012 performance festival at the Ailey Theatre in New York City, and at the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival at the Ruth Page Center in Chicago. At the University of Illinois, Rebecca has served as the Teaching Academy Fellow for the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and is the recipient of the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2012.

5A.  Dart applied to Ballet Technique with Luc Vanier 

Luc Vanier started weekly lessons in Cleveland with Helen Hobbs in 1994 and certified with Joan and Alex Murray in 2001. He is the training director for Alexander Technique Milwaukee ( Luc is an Associate Professor in the Dance Department at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts. His research on linking the Alexander Technique, developmental movement and Ballet is at the forefront of integrating somatic work into dance curriculum and has been presented at various conferences and workshops throughout the US, Russia, Australia and the Netherlands. His co-authored (with Rebecca Nettl-Fiol) “Dance and the Alexander Technique: Exploring the Missing Link” was published June 2011 by the University of Illinois Press. He is the 2012 recipient of the Center for 21st Century Studies $50,000 Interdisciplinary Challenge Award to research connections between physical therapy and the Alexander Technique. He is the recipient of the 2009 Wisconsin Arts Board Award for Choreography. Originally from Montreal, he studied at L'Ecole Superieur du Quebec under Daniel Seillier. In 1998, he retired from Ohio Ballet having danced a variety of roles such as the Workman in Kurt Jooss’ Big City, the Third Song of Tudor’s Dark Elegies, as well as the leads in Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Paul Taylor’s Aureole among others. He received his MFA at the University of Illinois (top ten dance program in US News).

Session 3B: Dart and Teaching the Alexander Technique (for AT Teachers) with Katherine Mitchell

Session 5B: Let’s Tango with Katherine Mitchell

Katherine Mitchell has maintained a private teaching practice in the Alexander Technique for over twenty years. She has taught AT at the Conservatory for Theatre Arts at Webster University and run a teacher-training course. Katherine has a background in dance and teaches Argentine Tango at Washington University. In December she completed an MFA in Creative Writing. She is interested in interdisciplinary teaching, most recently teaching a workshop on alliteration and movement.

Session 4B: Dart and the Actor with Jess Prichard

The Dart Procedures are an excellent way to build an actor's daily physical practice. They can also be used as a technique for developing a character's physical habits. In this workshop you will learn to create daily physical warmups tailored to specific performance needs or classroom environments. You will also explore character physicalization through the Dart Procedures.

Jess Prichard is a professional actor and Alexander Technique teacher who trained with Joan and Alex Murray. He is a certified Personal Trainer, holds an MFA in acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and is a member of AmSAT, ATME and SAFD. Jess has taught acting at universities throughout the U.S. and internationally. He is currently teaching acting at California State University - Los Angeles. Following Freedom to Move, Jess will be acting with Riverside Shakespeare Festival.

Session 4D and 5C: Diamond-Dart Meridian Sequence, Parts I and II with Judith Muir

Using twelve of Dart’s original procedures, holistic medical pioneer John Diamond, M.D., found that each related to an acupuncture meridian, and placed them in a sequence that correlated to the developmental stages of the child from birth to upright posture. The efficacy of this sequence is further enhanced by saying particular affirmations that Dr. Diamond devised for each meridian.  The result is a powerful healing modality that can be performed in as little as five minutes a day. In this session, you will learn the basic Diamond-Dart Meridian Sequence, the emotional correlations to each meridian, and each meridian’s specific affirmations. While each posture will be looked at in-depth, we will also approach the sequence as whole, performing it as a dance-like meditation.

Judith Muir M.M. M.AmSAT., is a senior Alexander Technique teacher with thirty years of international experience. Originally from the UK where she trained with Walter Carrington, one of the most influential Alexander Technique teachers in the world, she moved to the USA and became a founding member of the American Society of Alexander Teachers (AmSAT), as well as Vice-Chair of the American Center for the Alexander Technique, New York. She is currently Director of an AmSAT approved teacher training course and has helped train students to become certified teachers of the Alexander Technique on three continents. Her past and present students include members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, New York City Opera, flutist Sir James Galway, and actors Greta Scacchi and Chris Noth. Her background as a professional musician gives her an insider’s perspective on many of the issues faced by performers and strongly influences her teaching. Trained at Manhattan School of Music and The Royal Academy of Music, London, she is a distinguished clarinetist who has performed classical and jazz concerts internationally, including Carnegie Hall, St. Martin’s in the Fields, London, and Wigmore Hall in London. She and her husband Peter Muir are Directors of the Institute for Music and Health in the Hudson Valley where they teach the Diamond Method for Music and run many programs for people with disabilities. For twelve years she taught the Alexander Technique at Bard College as Associate Professor of Theatre, having previously taught at the Actors’ Movement Studio in New York City, Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, and the Powerhouse Theatre Apprentice Program, Vassar College.

Session 3D: Hands-On Introduction to the Alexander Technique with Ann Rodiger 

Experience the Alexander Technique first hand with a verbal and tactile introduction to the work.  The workshop will include a traditional chair work and a guided lie down.

Session 5C: Dart in Everyday Life and Movement with Ann Rodiger

Explore how the work you have been doing throughout the weekend fits in with your daily life actions and activities.  We will address several common movements such as walking and picking something up.  The workshop will also include  requests from the participants so if you have something in particular you would like to work on bring it along.  

Ann Rodiger is the Founder and Director of the Balance Arts Center and Balance Arts Alexander Technique Teacher Training Course. She has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1981. Along with her private practice and training course in NYC, she has private practices in Berlin and Antwerp. She is a co-director of the Body-Mind-Voice workshops held for opera singers in Berlin every summer. She has an MA in Dance and has done extensive work with Laban’s theories.