All About Alexander Technique: An Interview with Rebekah Chappell

Happy Fall! 

Our bodies change just like the seasons, and amidst a global pandemic, it seems especially important to care for and listen to what our bodies need. One great way to do this is through our upcoming Alexander Technique workshops with the incredible Rebekah Chappell.

We could not be more thrilled to have Rebekah join Dance Waterloo as a Teaching Artist this season. To get you feeling just as hype as us, we did an interview with Rebekah about Alexander Technique. Enjoy, and we’ll see you at the first (social distanced and masked up) workshop on Saturday, November 7, 2020. 

Tell me a little bit about yourself, Rebekah.

My name is Rebekah Chappell and I am a white, cis-gender female. I use she / her pronouns. I am a performer, teaching artist, and dance maker. I hold a MFA in Dance from The University of Iowa. I studied the Alexander Technique at Chesapeake Bay Alexander Studies and completed their 1,200-hour teacher training program over a four year period. 

How did you get involved with Dance Waterloo?

I recently moved to Buda, Texas from Virginia with my husband, Nick. I was super eager to become involved with the Greater Austin community but moving during the pandemic really shifted how, when, and where that would be possible. Dance Waterloo has a wonderful Instagram feed and after engaging with their posts, I reached out about possible ways to get connected. At that time, they were searching for Teaching Artists and I am so excited by their invitation to teach the Alexander Technique.

What is Alexander Technique?

The Alexander Technique is an educational method created by F.M. Alexander at the turn of the twentieth century. He was an Australian actor who began to consistently lose his voice during performances. With doctors unable to locate a medical cause, F.M. Alexander reasoned that there must be something about the way he was using his voice that was causing his predicament. He noticed that a conditioned performance posture seemed to be at the heart of the issue. He observed that he was interfering with his overall coordination, specifically the relationship between the head and the spine. Over many years, he developed a process to become aware of, interrupt, and undo habitual patterns of use that may be detrimental to one’s overall functioning.  

What are the benefits of practicing Alexander Technique?

What I love about the Alexander Technique is the ability to apply it to everything that I do. For example, I may be washing dishes and start to notice tension in my shoulders. As I continue to wash my dishes, I can apply the Alexander Technique process to organize my whole self in a way that is free from unnecessary tension. I came to the Alexander Technique because I was experiencing shin pain that no doctors had the answers to. With time this pain has disappeared. That was not the goal of the Alexander Technique and the educational method is not designed to be therapeutic or medicinal. However, because my pain was directly connected to how I was standing and walking, as I addressed these ways of being, I had a different experience of myself and my pain disappeared. 

Who is Alexander Technique for?

I encourage anyone who is curious about learning to inhabit every day or skilled activities with more mindfulness to come to the workshop series. I will introduce the Alexander Technique process and we will spend time exploring the concepts in relation to activities that are individually meaningful. If you play an instrument, feel free to bring it with you! If you want to explore how you stir the batter while baking, bring a bowl and spoon! If you are struggling through hours on Zoom, bring your computer! I will support you in applying the principles to your life. As a part of the educational method, the Alexander Technique often utilizes a specialized hands-on skill in teaching. As we are in the midst of a global pandemic, we will explore together if or how the use of touch may be appropriate. Our primary way of learning will be through verbal cues and simple movement explorations. 

Do you have any advice for those apprehensive about Alexander Technique?

I am excited to work with folx from all backgrounds during the workshop. I approach this work by honoring the wisdom and intelligence of the body. You are the expert of your embodied experience. While I will certainly provide directions, students’ passions and curiosities will guide the process. This will be a participatory experience. For example, we may explore different ways of directing our attention while walking. There will be no “right” or “wrong” way of participating; there is no posture or movement to perform in a “correct” way. After experimenting with ideas, we will share our observations. There is joy in hearing the diverse noticing of the “same” process. Our experience is deepened by the knowledge each participant brings to the table! In this way, I hope that the workshop will be a space where we can form a community of support. 

What are you most looking forward to in joining Dance Waterloo this season?

I am grateful to Dance Waterloo for organizing this series. Their presence in my life has helped make Greater Austin feel like home! At this moment, connecting with others is so affirming and renewing. I applaud their creative efforts to offer exciting classes this Fall. If you have any questions about the Alexander Technique workshop, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me: or Dance Waterloo. I hope to meet you soon!

Alexander Technique Series Dates: 

November 7, 14, 21 and December 12, 19 from 1:30-3:00pm

This series is limited to 12 participants. Social distancing and masks are required. 

Register here or at

Noelle Billings

Executive Director

Dance Waterloo

2017-2018 Season Audition FAQ’s

How many dancers are you looking for?

We generally cast around five to six dancers. We like to keep it a bit flexible.

How much will dancers be compensated?

We are doing something new this season. Dancers are compensated hourly for rehearsals and performance. Hourly amount is based on a combination of experience and seniority.

What is required in the contract?

Dancers are required to take at least 50% of our technique classes and at least 50% of our community program classes. Dancers are required to attend all rehearsals on time. Dancers are allowed one absence per dance they are casted in. Dancers must be available for all performances.

When are the rehearsals and performances?

We are doing something new this season. Auditions and Company Members will be Announced in August. Technique classes are September-December. Rehearsals are January-May. Our rehearsal calendar will be set around October. The calendar will be based off of company members casted. Performances are May 17-20, 2018.

What will the audition be like?

For starters, you should submit your audition materials (headshot and resume). They are due to by August 26th at 6 PM. That is a firm deadline. We like to thoroughly read through materials beforehand so we can see you actually dance at the audition. We will start with an introduction of Dance Waterloo followed by a warmup, directional pattern, technique, improvisational task, phrase work, and end with a Q & A where you can ask us anything (& we mean anything!)

I do not see the answer to my question. Who can I contact?

Us, duh! Shoot us an email at We’re pretty fast at responses.

Small Organizations, Big Impact

Amplify Austin starts tomorrow, and we couldn’t be more excited! If you are new to Austin or just now hearing about the big day, Amplify Austin is a 24-hour period dedicated to citizens giving back to organizations & charities that make our city a better place. Whether you have attended one of our performances or been to one of our programs, we hope we have made an impact on the way you view and live in this city! Amplifying Dance Waterloo means we can continue to produce unconventional dance performance and programming for the Austin community.

In addition to education, public space, and collaboration, community is also a vital tenet to Dance Waterloo. We believe that the Austin community is brought together through art and as citizens we should continue foster the creative growth of Austin. We also believe in the community supporting small organizations. If you’re also looking for other organizations to check out and support during Amplify Austin, here are our top picks – they are small organizations with big hearts and an even bigger impact on the city.

  1. Something for Nothing Theater

Who they are:

Something for Nothing Theater is a theater company founded in 2012. The company operates on a shoestring budget and produces Shakespeare plays in Austin’s own Ramsey Park.

What they’re about:

The Shakespeare plays Something for Nothing produces are available to members of the Austin community and are family-friendly. The company transforms the plays into creative experiences by using original music and dynamic staging.

Why we love them:

Something for Nothing focuses on improvisation and collaboration. At Dance Waterloo, we value these aspects as essential parts of the creative process and encourage the Austin community to support all forms of collaborative art.


  1. Austin Emerging Arts Leaders

Who they are:

The Austin Emerging Arts Leaders is the local chapter of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Network.

What they’re about:

Austin EAL strives to support and cultivate Austin’s artists who are just getting started in their careers. The organization helps different types of art professionals by providing both networking and knowledge sharing opportunities for members. The Austin EAL supports the Austin early-career art community by focusing on professional development throughout all art professions and disciplines.

Why we love them:

Dance Waterloo aims to educate the Austin community through different types of dance programming. We believe that education is an enlightening experience that is essential for the creative process. Education of early-career art professionals is key for Austin’s artistic community to continue to thrive. Also, our Artistic Director if Vice President of EAL!


  1. Girls Performance and Advocacy

Who they are:

Girls Performance and Advocacy is a performing arts and empowerment program that offers an opportunity for Austin girls to develop creativity by finding their own voice.

What they’re about:

Girl’s Performance and Advocacy strives to teach girls in the Austin community leadership skills, confidence, and assertiveness. The main goal of GPA is to educate each girl about her own value while teaching performers important skills through singing performances.

Why we love them:

Cultivating leadership is an important goal for many artistic disciplines, including dance. At Dance Waterloo, we strive to educate the community and our dancers in leadership, creativity, and self-expression.


Amplifying small organizations goes a really long way. Give back to the city that gives to you and Amplify Austin this week. AMPLIFY DANCE WATERLOO HERE. 

By Jasmine Crowley

Administrative Assistant

Dance Waterloo

4 Things You Need To Know Before Panorama Playground


Dance Waterloo’s upcoming performance will be one of whimsy and play. I had the pleasure of attending one of the final rehearsals before you all get to experience the magic on January 28 and 29. I must tell you, as a person untrained in dance and a curious observer I hadn’t the vaguest idea what I was witnessing. Panorama Playground, the vision brought to life by choreographers Morgan Teel and Rachael Hulse, is a piece performed in collaboration with an exhibition called Hurlyburly, ​on view at 74 Trinity Street, near the Boathouse at the Waller Creek Delta.

To my untrained eye the performance appeared whimsical, challenging, and creative. The type of movement I saw on the hills of Hurlyburly peaked my curiosity about intent, inspiration, and how as an audience member I can absorb everything there is to offer from such an experience. I interviewed the dancers and have shared their answers with you here, so that you too can have the best possible experience with this unique piece.

1. What is Hurlyburly?


Hurlyburly is an installation piece created by Orly Genger, a New York City-based artist and designer, created by hand-knotting hundreds of feet of repurposed lobster rope. But since it also looks like a gallery piece, it can have a confusing effect on viewers. Rachael, upon her first encounter with the installation, was unsure how close is too close when it comes to this massive exhibition. I experienced the same trepidation, initially. But fear not, it was the artist’s intention for Hurlyburly to be interactive and durable art, meant for children and adults alike to play upon if they wish. For choreographers, the texture of the rope, the environment created by the hills, and the topography of the location are what makes the installation interesting as a space for deliberate and choreographed movement. It is not without its own challenges, however. For Paige Edwards, a dancer with DW, ​the biggest challenge with this project has been “the physicality necessary to make the movement look stable yet free at the same time. Rolling hills of crab net is not the easiest on your body while laying on your back, running, or trying to balance.” Experiential learning had to take place quickly once the choreography moved from the studio to the performance location.

2. What can I expect when I get there?

Another unique feature of this performance is the option for each audience member to listen to their own playlist while watching the performance. Modelled after the silent disco, where people dance to music they listen to on wireless headphones, each audience member will be provided a set of multichannel headphones, from which they can choose three different playlists while they watch the show. Or, if you’re not a fan of DJ’ing your own experience, you’re more than welcome to forego the headphones and listen to the music played on the speaker.

3. What are the dancers thinking while they perform?


According to choreographer and executive director Rachael Hulse, she pulls inspiration from the uneven landscape: “when I’m moving through the improvised piece, my body tends to fall different directions based on where I am on each hill. I have to make a choice to either submit to gravity or combat it. Running, sliding, jumping..I am using my body to trace the shapes of what I perceive. I’ll explain it like this: if you were to lay a piece of vellum over Hurlyburly, my goal is to mimic the shapes with my body.” For Paige, her​ inspiration comes from living in Austin and taking in all of the beautiful aspects of the culture, topography, people, art, and architecture. She says “as dancers in the show, we constantly interact together and separately – those moments to me represent the sporadic and sometimes deliberate lengthy or short encounters that happen everyday in Austin. It’s the beautiful quirky randomness that happens everyday here.”

4. What should I hope to get from this performance?

I’ll let Rachael answer this one–“I want the audience to come away with a renewed sense of curiosity; I want them to wonder what the heck is going on, but I want that reaction to transfer to viewing their everyday environments differently. It’s playful, it’s quirky, and it’s a conglomeration of experiences we’ve seen other people have at Hurlyburly. People come to exercise, they come to play–we came up with the name “Panorama Playground” after what we saw from the top of Hurlyburly. If you take a 360 degree twirl at the top you get a view of what Austin really is. We try to capture what we’ve seen both in Hurlyburly and the playground.” We have provided an element for everyone–whether you enjoy music, enjoy the outdoors, watching dance, or just enjoying a hot beverage. This event is family friendly, so don’t feel like you have to stand still; move, talk, sing as you find most comfortable and engaging to you.

So, bring a friend, grab a pair of our headphones, get a drink, relax and prepare for a fun experience at Panorama Playground. We hope you enjoy. You can reserve your headsets in advance here.


Kelsey Hulse

Assistant Blog Editor

Dance Waterloo