Lori Schiff - Riverside Initiative for the Alexander Technique


betsy polatin teaching


September – June
Tues/Wed 4 – 5:30pm Saturdays  2 – 4pm – 
Riverside Initiative Clinic
Offering free and low cost Alexander work to the community. The clinic ran successfully last spring to enthusiastic community feedback. If you are interested in participating in the clinic please contact us.

Fall 2016

Ongoing  Alexander Technique for Activists
RIAT faculty member Ariel Carson offers low-fee private Alexander Technique lessons for activists in Bushwick and Union Square. Discover sustainable support in your body-mind-spirit to help you stay revitalized and balanced in the face of great demands. Click here for more information, and to reserve a slot.

September 14th – October 26th – Wednesdays – 2-4pm
Join RIAT faculty member Adele Nickel every Wednesday for this group class offered through Movement Research. Alexander Technique looks at the way we carry out our intentions. Often we use a process that is habitual, unconscious, and counterproductive. The technique offers a practice of staying open and alert in the moment, observing our familiar tensions and choosing to move without them. Beginning with the assumption that we are perfectly designed for movement and balance, we engage our mind to undo layers of interference, creating opportunity for change. Classes are $14 and take place at Gibney Dance – 280 Broadway. Click here for more info.

October 1st – 10:30am-2pm – Eva Karczag
The Alexander Technique puts great emphasis on the head-neck relationship, and as Alexander teachers, we will think and say the phrase ‘head forward and up’ many, many times. However, we don’t often sink into the beauty of the head’s structure and landscape, or the images it can evoke. In this workshop, as we meet a sensate and breathing head, we will open space for movement and imaginative meanderings, and observe the ways our perceptions can be expressed within our use.

This will be an experiential workshop, but no dance experience is required.

Fee: $50 for affiliates, $95 for public. Space will be limited given the experiential nature of the workshop. If you would like to reserve your space email Ariel at by Saturday, Sept 24th.

October 14th-16th – Maxon Davis
This Alexander Technique Weekend Intensive will be led by RIAT Affiliate Maxon Davis. Do you ever feel emotionally or creatively blocked?  Does working harder not help? After a performance, does your voice or body hurt? By identifying your particular patterns of tension and mis-use, and then choosing not to engage those habits, you can allow the space for a more integrated body, freer breath, a clearer voice, and more creative freedom.  Acting becomes more truthful, more idiosyncratic, and more personal.  In this intensive, you’ll be  introduced to the Alexander Technique, identify your habits, learn practical techniques for freeing yourself of excess tension while you’re acting, and apply these practices to a monologue of your choosing.  Hands-on instruction will be given by AmSAT certified teachers who also act.

Friday 6-8pm; Sat. 5:30-8:30pm, Sun. 2-6pm. Cost: $225 per person. Location: The Shakespeare Forum, 215 East 99th Street, NY, NY  10029
For further details, payment plans, and/or to register email:

October 23rd – 11am-1pm – Elizabeth Eowyn Nelson, PhD
Awakening the Somatic Imagination in a Wounded World
This presentation introduces participants to the somatic imagination, which is an embodied approach to emotional, physical, and spiritual distress and a set of skills to help practitioners address them. In a larger sense, somatic imagination is a way of being-in-the world and a response to its suffering, which manifests among individuals, families, communities, and in the environment we share. In this presentation, participants learn how the somatic imagination is inspired by, and fits within, three traditions: depth (or psychodynamic) psychology that tends to unconscious processes, somatics, which works with the embodiment of the psychological processes, and phenomenology, which emphasizes lived experience. The presentation offers a case example of the horse-human relationship to demonstrate how an awakened somatic imagination is part of an ethical response to an ailing world. Three questions help focus the presentation: How are individuals distinctively called to care about, witness, and alleviate particular forms of suffering? How is this suffering experienced in the human body? Finally, how might the relief of individual suffering become an ethical communal action to help the fatigued, ill, and wounded world?

Fee: $40 for affiliates, $75 for public. If you would like to reserve your space email Ariel at by Saturday, October 8th.




Winter 2017

January 31st – 6-8pm –
Dr. Rajal Cohen
One of the biggest obstacles to discussing the Alexander Technique in a scientific context is that for most of its existence, most of the central principles of the AT have been untested in relevant scientific fields. However, the last few decades have seen great strides in psychology, biomechanics, and neuroscience that make the gap easier to bridge. In this webinar, Dr. Cohen will discuss scientific advances and concepts that can provide useful insight and language for understanding and talking about the AT, such as: neural plasticity, inhibitory control, choice, attention, mirror neurons, body schema, axial tone, degrees of freedom, motor imagery, and the interconnection of cognitive and motor problems in Parkinson’s disease. She will present relevant data from her own research as well as other important published research findings. Although she will mention studies whose purpose was to show the effectiveness of the AT, the primary focus will be on studies that help us understand HOW the AT works. There will be some time for questions and interaction throughout.

Fee: $20 for RIAT affiliates, $25 for outside guests

If you would like to reserve your space email Ariel at by Tuesday, January 24th.

February 28th – 6-8pm –
Dr. Rajal Cohen
Part II of Dr. Cohen’s workshop placing AT in a Scientific Context.

Fee: $20 for RIAT affiliates, $25 for outside guests

If you would like to reserve your space email Ariel at by Friday, February 24th.

April 8th – 12:30-2pm – Lori Schiff
Teaching the Alexander Technique in Arts Institutions
Lori Schiff will talk with participants about her experiences teaching and developing the work in various arts institutions. Please come with questions and observations from your own experiences. Ms Schiff has worked in performing arts institutions since qualifying as an AT teacher in 1987. Read her full bio here.

Fee: $20 for RIAT affiliates, $40 for outside guests

If you would like to reserve your space email Ariel at by Saturday, April 1st.



Spring 2017

May 23rd – 6-8pm – Dr. Rajal Cohen
Part III of Dr. Cohen’s workshop placing AT in a Scientific Context.
This workshop is intended as a continued series for RIAT trainees and affiliates, however outside guests may be able to join us if there is space.
Email Ariel at for more info.

June 10th – 10:30am-1:30pmJane Kosminsky
Dance and the Alexander Technique
This hands-on workshop will cover the psychology of dancers, how the chair work relates to core concerns of dancers (e.g. alignment, pliés, tondus), and the relationship of walking to dance movement in space. Jane may also cover how our work can be used to translate corrections that a dancer may get in class.

This workshop will be for RIAT trainees and affiliates only. Email to register.

June 24th – RIAT Graduation!
Details tbd


Summer 2017

July 28th-30th – Nanette Walsh and Ariel Carson
Mindfulness in Action

Nanette Walsh and Ariel Carson will be hosted by the Shantigar Foundation this summer at their spectacularly beautiful old farm on a mountainside in Western Mass near Vermont. At Shantigar individuals come to learn from teachers of art and meditation, be nurtured and rejuvenated, and return to the world with a renewed sense of commitment.

Mindufulness in Action will offer practical experiences of AT: to foster freedom in thought and action; to live more fully in the present; to align the personal with the collective in being and becoming; and to cultivate hope for the future.

Action is born of intention. Our thoughts, feelings and intentions play essential roles in the ongoing dynamics of upright support upon which every breath and movement depend. Please join us in this beautiful place for a special weekend!

Where: Shantigar, 63 Davenport Road, Rowe, MA 01367
When: Friday, July 28 – Sunday, July 30
Fee: $522 for weekend, $470 if you register before June 1. Organic meals included. Some onsite lodging available, and free tenting
Register or



Past events include:
Sept 21 – People’s Climate March
Sept 28 – Riverside Initiative Teachers Social
Oct 2 – 30 – A Healthy Dose of Tension and Release: Singing With the Alexander Technique with Emily Whyte
Oct 24 – Riverside Initiative Master the Art of Running Workshop with Malcolm Balk
Nov 17 – Eleanor Taylor presentation on teaching group classes as a new Alexander Technique teacher
Nov 25 – Training course field trip to Meredith Monk and vocal ensemble workshop at BAM.
Dec 1-15  ATyoga Holiday Series with Sheila Bandyopadhyay
Mar 9 – Apr 3 Alexander Technique for Singers and Actors with Eleanor Taylor
Feb 18 – Mar 11 – Gadget Class with Lindsay Newitter
Mar 12 – Presenting the Alexander Technique: Strategies and Technique with Lori Schiff
Mar 16 – Alexander Technique for Members and Allies of the LGBTQ Community with Ariel Carson
April 25th and May 23rd – RIAT Teacher Certification Program Sampler
April 30  The Actor’s Secret with Betsy Polatin
May 21 – Physical Expression on Stage and Screen: Using the Alexander Technique to Create Unforgettable Performances with Bill Connington
May 28 – Building a Practice with a panel of  Ariel Carson, Eleanor Taylor, and Emily Whyte
Oct 2 – Brain Zest with Dr. Nancy Kennedy
Oct 3 – Master the Art of Running with Malcolm Balk
Mar 16
–  Finding Playfulness in Learning with Kathy Miranda
Apr 9 – Master the Art of Running Workshop with Malcolm Balk
Apr 16 – Up Off Your Ankles! with Joan Frost


Check back for more events: faculty, guest teacher and affiliate workshops to be announced soon…

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Contact Riverside Initiative fro the Alexander Technique