Alexander technique center urbana

 
 

Directors Joan and Alex Murray met Professor Raymond Dart in 1967. He cooperated in and inspired Joan and Alex’s ongoing investigation into human developmental movement as it relates to the Alexander Technique. They developed the Dart Procedures, an innovative process that influences Alexander Technique teaching throughout the world.

The 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. In 2015 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Flute Association. He was on the board of directors when it was formed in 1973. Joan has maintained a private teaching practice and teacher-training course since moving to Illinois in 1977.

Assistant Faculty. Rebecca Nettl-Fiol is a Professor of Dance at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches courses in the areas of technique, composition, kinesiology, somatics, and the Alexander Technique. A certified Alexander Technique teacher since 1990, she is dedicated to imbedding the Alexander Technique principles into her teaching practice. She is particularly interested in looking at developmental movement as a lens for enlivening and illustrating the Alexander Technique principles for dancers. She has introduced a number of courses into the curriculum that incorporate the Technique, and she provides links between the two professional training courses in Urbana and the Department of Dance. Rebecca has presented workshops, lectures and papers at universities, Alexander organizations, national and international conferences. Her publications include “Alexander Technique and Dance Technique: Applications in the Studio” (Journal of Dance Education),and a co-edited book, The Body Electric, Evolving Practices in Dance Training. She and Luc Vanier co-authored Dance and the Alexander Technique, published by University of Illinois Press. She has served on the Board of the American Society for the Alexander Technique.

Dr. Philip Johnston has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1998 when he graduated from the Urbana Center for the Alexander Technique under the direction of Joan and Alexander Murray. He maintains a private a practice in Champaign, Illinois, and continues to teach the Alexander Technique in Europe, most recently for Scottish Dance Theatre and Dance Resource Space in Ireland. In the United States Philip is a lecturer in the Department of Dance at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where his courses include: Alexander Technique, Dance History, Dance Criticism and Tai Ji, He also teaches the Alexander Technique for the Theatre Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, to all graduate and undergraduate acting majors. He has given workshops in the Alexander Technique at colleges and universities across the United States and presented papers at Dance and Theatre conferences. Philip is a contributing writer for the Encyclopedia of Europe. He has written two books, The Lost Tribe in the Mirror published by Lagan Press and Nina Fonaroff: A Life in Dance.

Sally McMahan has a background in the visual arts. She received her MFA from the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign in 1996, and subsequently taught ceramics at the U of I, and at Parkland College. She met Luc Vanier through a shared interest in Mindfulness Meditation, and he introduced her to the Alexander Technique. After working with him for a year, she joined the training course at the Alexander Technique Center Urbana in 2000, and graduated in 2003. That same year she moved to New Jersey, where she taught the Alexander Technique to dance, theater, and music students at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She had a private teaching practice in NJ as well, and taught workshops there, and in New York City. She returned to live in Urbana in 2013, and joined the faculty at ATCU. In addition to assisting Joan and Alex on the training course, Sally also assists her colleagues Becky and Philip in AT classes in the Dance Department at the U of I, and her colleague Stasia Siena in an AT class in the Music Department. Sally also maintains a private teaching practice in Urbana.

 

Biographies


Directors:

Joan Murray
Alex Murray

508 W. Washington
Urbana, IL 61801

  1. (217)367-3172

admurray @illinois.edu