Thursday, March 10, 2005

FLUID PLAY: Emilie Conrad and Continuum

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Emilie Conrad
Photo by Cass Phelps

by Nancy Galeota-Wozny

All fluid activities are in resonance. They mutualize and inform each other. The fluid inside this biosphere called Earth and the fluids of our bodies are in constant rapport.
—Emilie Conrad

Diving In

Several years ago I had the good fortune to be given a small stipend for a summer somatic adventure from the good people at the Texas State Arts Council. Finding myself in a bit of a soma-rut, I was looking for a modality that would involve new movement, improvisation, and all-around fun. Something primal, exotic, and essentially internal was on my wish list.
I began my search with Don Johnson’s book Bone, Breath, and Gesture, a collection of writings by somatic pioneers. Skipping past the disciplines I was already familiar with, I ground to a dead halt reading Emilie Conrad’s Life on Land. This chapter read like a soma-novelette unraveling Emilie’s bodily experience. Her words flowed like water. She spoke of those in-between worlds we enter as movers, and the depth of experience available to somatic adventurers. The piece spoke of our watery existence, of waves, undulations, and the life pulse. Life on Land chronicled Emilie’s physical and emotional breakdown. Continuum emerged from this despair. The work emerged as a means for her survival. Her confined life in Brooklyn, her immersion in Afro-Haitian dance, her years as a movement specialist working with UCLA researcher Valerie Hunt, her ongoing probe into spinal cord injury—these are the forces that urged Continuum into existence.

All this watery talk reminded me of what I love about dancing—a certain quality of leaking into space. What leaks better than water? My liquid future was calling me. Within an hour, I had hunted down a workshop with Emilie Conrad at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.

In a room full of equally curious people, I settle into my first week with Emilie Conrad. After a brief lecture on the downside of linear, robotic movement, Emilie launches in to her approaches known as Continuum and Jungle Gym. Jungle Gym is the more fitness-oriented work, while Continuum has more meditative aspects. (Emilie combines both practices in her workshops.) According to Emilie, the movement culture at large has overly invested in form at the expense of flow. The more patterned our movement, the more rigidity becomes the norm. Our game plan for the week will be breaking up density, shedding years of overly patterned movement, revitalizing connective tissue, and discovering new movement.

“Breath is the movement of wind on water—it becomes a beckoning of our origins,” writes Emilie in Life on Land. Our breathing education begins with the “hu” breath, which is used as a kind of ignition to get movement going wherever it’s stuck. Emilie refers to it as a pump. It’s a quick, hot simian-like breath allowing a range of sounds and facial expressions. At some point, “hu” breathing extends throughout the body and movement emerges, and we are encouraged to follow the movement where it leads us. The “O” and “E” sounds are introduced—the “E” for lateral spreading and the “O” for invigorating bone tissue. There is a kind of poetry to Continuum breaths and sounds.

Although breath is, in itself, treated as movement, we also go on to learn specific movement practices that will eventually be put together into a sequence. The sequence of practice lays out the territory of exploration. I am amazed at how little explanation is necessary for each practice. Emilie’s straightforward teaching style has a way of keeping the action going and arousing our curiosity as to where it’s all heading.

Emilie usually demonstrates each practice—this alone is worth the workshop fee. Emilie switches from teacher to depth-mover in an instant. The room settles into an eerie reverence as Emilie starts her exploration. Demonstrations serve as a ballpark of how to begin—there is never any pressure to imitate. Emilie demonstrates a kind of tentacle-like movement of her leg while side-lying. Her toes and face morph and her leg appears boneless. We witness articulations that hardly seem humanly possible. Forgetting I am watching the human form in motion, I am reminded of that William Hurt movie, Altered States, in which too much time in an isolation tank loosens molecular structure. Perhaps that is what I am seeing, the shedding of structure and the emergence of our primordial fluid history. The expanding boundary of the body she has been talking about is smack in front of us. I’ve seen a lot of dance in my day, and I have never been issued an invitation to move as I have from Emilie’s demonstrations. The sensuous climate she evokes beckons us.

Emilie’s instructions contain fairly precise constraints in terms of positioning. Some are extremely physically challenging. Other practices are more open-ended. We explore wave motion lying in an X position on our backs. In a crab position, we play with pelvic wave motion as we invite one limb at a time to leave the floor. I am amazed at how long I can do this without falling apart. There is a juice in the novelty that keeps us all going further than we thought possible. Chairs are enlisted as impromptu apparatus to challenge our balance and get nonhabitual with gravity. Sometime during the week we are introduced to Emilie’s Explore Board, a slanted contraption that allows us to hang and suspend ourselves in unusual ways.
Once we develop a repertoire of movements, sounds, and breaths, Emilie orders them into a sequence. Sequences are repeated in layers, allowing one to go deeper with each repetition. With each layer we shed something of our past patterning, allowing space and time for new information. By the third time through, I hardly feel like the same person. The sequence itself provides just enough structure to balance the specificity of the movements and breathing with the more improvisatory spirit of the work.

The layering of sequences is sometimes referred to as “a dive” and can go on for an hour, for several hours, or even for days on retreats for advanced students. We start with a mini-dive of about 45 minutes, with four practices to explore involving movement, sound, and breath. The first dive flies by, leaving us hungry for a longer duration in which to play. By the end of the week we are moving for two hours or so. It’s our first taste of the sea before us. Having a whole room full of movers amplifies the experience.

The dive is our own dance. During the dive, we rest in “open attention,” which allows us to notice what’s changed and pay attention to any emergent movement. We can stay with any part of the sequence as long as we feel it’s necessary. Spontaneous movement often follows the sequence, as if the sequence exists to get the fluids going, which then play out their own dance.

An eclectic array of music is used as a companion rather than a dictator of tempo. The music creates a bed of sound that heightens the intensity of the dive. I find myself moving in new forms, tempos, qualities that I never touched during my modern-dancer days. I notice a slippery quality to my movement afterward. It’s enormously liberating to let go of the idea of the body as a “thing” to maintain, pump, and fluff. The movement is like good food. I leave Omega feeling nourished and satisfied.

Over the next few years, a Continuum teacher visits Houston and we form a Continuum study group. We get together in each other’s homes, at our offices, and at dance studios to practice and play with sequences we have learned. By last spring, I begin to feel ready to go back to the source. Two of us sign up for a week in June with Emilie at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

I’d forgotten what a striking, charismatic presence Emilie is in person—part rock star, part comedienne of the somatic world. With unruly jet-black hair almost hiding her fiery eyes, her explosive gestures lend a theatricality rare in the somatic world. A trace of a Brooklyn accent comes through in her enthusiastic speech. “You are going to love this,” she says as she lays out the day’s work. Her conversation with the group flies about from anatomy to mythology to the current political climate. She seems too well-versed in too many subjects for one person. No subject seems too big for Emilie—stars, galaxies, the molecular structure of connective tissue. She quotes Jesus in one breath and Stanislavsky in the next.

Her approach this time has a kind of no-nonsense feel to it. “Going to the gym,” she says, “is a rotten idea.” Her work with people with spinal cord injuries enters the conversation at key moments—clearly, she continues to be educated by those who on the surface appear to be “not moving.” There is urgency to her talk—a feeling of “let’s get on with it before they shut us down.”

Emilie introduces her idea of a warm-up known as “the full body drop.” In a breathtaking enactment, Emilie’s movements form a living museum of our ancestral history. The full body drop faintly resembles the old modern dance standard of rolling down and up the spine. In Emilie’s version, there are many departures along the road down and up. She spends some time in a deep squat playing with movements of digging and scratching the ground. Her movements have a raw quality. On the way up the spine, she lingers in a C-shaped curve. The journey to uprightness seems heavy and labored. When she arrives in full standing, her arms float—she appears to be in flight. After the full body drop warm-up, we are ready to begin our work with the latissimus back muscle. Specific breaths and sounds are designed to open up the back.
There is an artfulness in the play between breath, sound, and more expansive movement. The sequence is like an ocean—our job is to dive in and enjoy the water. Pleasure is everywhere. We are not so wedded to our human form in a Continuum experience—the kinesthetic imagination is given full rein, and it’s not unusual for participants to experience gills, tails, and an extra set of feet.

This workshop hones in on fluid as the primary resonating force in the galaxy. The week pours out like honey, and by the last day we have a repertoire of sequences to keep us busy for a good long while. At times I feel as if I am learning from the intelligence of my own fluids. I feel profound changes in my movement, a kind of silky ease and softening of my boundaries. My soul, cells, and psyche feel refreshed. I am privileged to have found a safe container for my wildness.

Naropa attracted a somatically savvy group of movers—most of us feel ready to take the material and run with it. Emilie muses on the obscure state of somatics: “Somatics is in the barn with the cows, chickens, and pigs.” If so, this is one group of happy pigs. Within the group, there is an immense feeling of appreciation for Emilie and her work. The idea of being part of one unbroken fluid whole seems more enticing than ever. Yes, we are on land now but the water within us is a shared resource—one body. During Emilie’s time doing movement experiments with Valerie Hunt, someone asked her how she was able to sustain such long periods of vigorous movement without strain and the usual physiological changes. She replied, “I create a wave and then I ride it.” 1
The week was equally rich and exhausting. We depart feeling connected to each other, Emilie, and—I would venture to say—the planet.

A Conversation with Emilie Conrad

The following conversation took place on June 12, 2003, during Emilie Conrad’s workshop, The Mutability of Form: The Fluid Play of Existence, at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

NGW: In your chapter in Don Johnson’s book Bone, Breath, and Gesture, you state that we are essentially water on land. Clearly the qualities of water—of wave motion and undulation—are key in your work. You said earlier today that if you had to distill Continuum into one idea, it would be the primacy of the fluid system. Can you elaborate?

EC: We’re like fish that swim in the ocean not knowing that the basic wave movements of the ocean and the undulating movements of the fish are inseparable. The inherent movement of the fish is an expression of the ocean; when fish are out of their element, they no longer undulate. We ourselves are engaged in the same way. Human movement at the most fundamental level is undulating with fields of energy that go far beyond the boundaries of a body. We are in a biocommunication with the undulating waves of our bodies/planet/galaxy as an undivided whole.

As far as I can determine, all fluid systems are basically the same. Whether in our bodies as cerebral-spinal fluid, the fluid in our cellular matrix, membranes, synovial fluid, blood—all of it comprises the fluid system and is resonant with the fluids of the planet and galaxy as one organ of intelligence that overrides any time-space differential. Ironically, of all the elements on earth, the fluid system is probably the least explored. My proof is that we are using our oceans as a giant dumping ground, as well as exploding the brains of whales and dolphins by the reckless sonar experiments the U.S. Navy is conducting.

It is really the movement of fluid that is so compelling and mysterious. Over these 37 years of Continuum, I’ve conducted my own experiments and inquiries with this magical substance, and I have made some very valuable discoveries. For one thing, it is the richness of fluid movement that becomes so essential to any healing process. Although illness or dysfunction is multicausal, we would find at its very basis a disruption in resonance. This disruption would be a loss of the interconnectedness of organism/planet/galaxy. We could see it as a kind of dismemberment in which a fundamental resonant limb is in a state of disarray.

Stress is a really good example of loss of resonance. Stress is not usually thought of as a form of paralysis, but on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being quadriplegia, stress can be as high as 5.
Here is a picture of stress from the perspective of the fluid system. Stress, among other things, produces a hormone called cortisol, which overstabilizes the fluid in our connective tissue, making it impossible for it to move through its aqueous cycle. All fluid moves from gel (semi-solid) to sol (aqueous). This movement of fluid, whether in our cellular matrix or in our connective tissue, can be seen as a form of respiration. The alternate cycles of gel-sol represent a kind of inhaling and exhaling through changes in the fluid. Gel would be a cellular inhale, while sol would be a cellular exhale. Gel (to inspire) is the taking on of form, sol (to expire) is the dissolving of form. When fluid becomes bound, it cannot exhale; it creates rigidity, locking down our connective tissue, fixating our muscles, creating an overstabilization or a structural excess that will ultimately erupt in functional disorders. When fluid becomes more aqueous, its capacity to communicate is enormous. When fluid becomes gel (or more solid, more local), its concerns are more within a boundary. The notion of a body being just gel, or local, is a misconception.
Connective tissue serves our organism in many ways, but one of its primary contributions is relationship.

Fluid governs the plasticity and responsiveness of our connective tissue. When fluid cycles are disrupted, there is a loss of a fundamental resonance, meaning that the link has been broken. Again, this is why I refer to it as a dismemberment. To be dismembered is to be severed from. Couple this with disruptions in connective tissue relationship, and you have a profound organismic incoherency. Foundational to any healing process would be to restore organismic cohesion.

Movements that undulate, arc, and spiral are movements that invigorate the fluid system. In a sense you are mimicking the biogenetic movement of fluids, eddying and tiding, which will eventually restore the severance.

NGW: You say, “Movement is something we are, not something we do.” This idea challenges the notion of body as a fixed, solid object. You also talk about the “cultural body” that is imposed upon us. Can you talk about your concept of “body”?

EC: The body has multiple interpenetrating wave motions that consolidate and stabilize as we enter the electromagnetic field of the earth. A newborn receives planetary signals that cue the adjustments and requirements to function with our planet. We see the same phenomena with astronauts, in reverse, as they leave earth’s electromagnetic field and lose the “grounding” that we have become so familiar with. The planet helps to shape our bodies so they can function successfully in this atmosphere. With the same DNA on another planet, the interactions of those cues would produce very different results.

Our bodies represent four billion years of a planetary process. In utero, we enter the domain of the beginnings of all life, as the embryonic journey carries the imprint of the beginning of multicellular life. The embryonic involutions and invaginations reflect a four-billion-year motif of cellular aggregation and the origins of form. We are species-inclusive entities, carrying within us the imprint of many expressions of form, beginning with our oceanic ancestry and eventually our movement on land.

I believe that our bodies are in a phase shift; we are very much in a process of unfolding our own biodynamic lineage. I also think that we have been colonized by the industrial revolution as it has invaded our biosystem by enforcing mechanical and repetitive movement as desirable. We accept these reductive movements not aware of their limitations.

The industrialization of the body has led to the electronicution of the body, which has created a speed that is not in keeping with the tides of a biosystem, causing, in my view, an unbelievable degree of dissociation and stress.

NGW: Your approach to fitness is called Jungle Gym, which doesn’t remotely resemble anything one might see in a gym. A Jungle Gym workout is hardly a linear experience. Can you speak to what gave rise to Jungle Gym?

EC: I wanted to develop a strengthening approach that enhanced the fluid system rather than compromising it. Once again, repetitive movement stagnates the fluid in our connective tissue, making it difficult for muscles to really move since every muscle in our body is wrapped in connective tissue. It’s interesting to note that Ida Rolf did not recommend conventional exercise for that very reason.

Using movements that curve, arc, and spiral are biorelated movements that make our internal fluid more alive. When the fluid is more vibrant, it changes our body density, making it lighter and more receptive. One of the problems with conventional exercise is that by creating increased density in so-called “muscle tone,” we are actually creating more armor, which functions as another form of defense, making ourselves less receptive to change and actually causing us to lose adaptability.

Repetitive or linear movements are not neurologically rich; no predictable movement or habitual situation can ever be an enhancement. Movements that have variety as well as multiple rhythmic changes are like manna from heaven for the brain as well as the body. When you see people at a gym watching TV as they use their StairMaster or treadmill, it’s because they are bored to death.

One of the most profound ways of stimulating our fluid is through changes in gravity. In the Jungle Gym, we use a piece of equipment that I developed called an Explore Board, which can be changed around like an erector set in order to create angles in which to curve and suspend your body in unusual relationships to gravity. What this does, first of all, is get us away from the industrialized approach and bring in more of an overall aesthetic in which our bodies are finding exquisite movements and positions to explore.

The suspension of bodies in different relationships to gravity and, particularly, finding movements that originate from internal watery realms bring to exercise something that looks more like an art form than an assembly line.

What I also enjoy about the Jungle Gym is that by changing density and creating a lighter body that is immediately more articulate, it takes the drudgery out of moving. Everything has a slippery ease, which increases the sensual pleasure and delight of developing a toned, sinewy, ageless body that can move in any direction with spirit, grace, and power.

NGW: You spent several years as the lead dancer in a Haitian dance company. How do your years in Haiti continue to inform you as a mover?

EC: I was 20 years old when I went to Haiti, after having studied Afro-Haitian dance at the Katherine Dunham School in New York and later with Sevilla Fort. I found the Haitian dances deeply compelling, and through a series of interesting events, I arrived in Haiti in 1955; and through another series of fortunate events, I was offered an opportunity to perform the mambo as a trio with two very handsome Haitian young men in a newly built nightclub.

Our trio was well-received and when asked to stay on, I said I was only interested in exploring folklore, and that would be my only reason for staying. As fate would have it, folklore it was, and my time in Haiti went on for five years. There were so many things that happened, and certainly it was the turning point of my life. First of all, to live in a culture that still maintained such strong African roots allowed me to feel in every pore of my body a connection not only to the earth but to the beginning of humans as well. I could feel in the movements we were doing the ancient sun burning through the bush; I could smell the ancient grass and feel the cool of the night in a blackness that was far different than the neon blinking of New York.

Of course, the most important part for me was the serpent Loa Damballah (a Loa is a God essence). Damballah initiated me into the caves of the earth and into the storms of the sky. It was there in Haiti that I was bitten and died, reborn into something else. That something else guides me to this day. It was the immersion in Damballah, the serpent Loa, that eventually led me to my insights regarding the fluid system. Ever since humans walked the earth, the movement of water on land has always been depicted as a snake, or a serpent.

NGW: Breathing and sound are important elements in both Continuum and Jungle Gym practices. Breath is used both to prepare ourselves for movement and to generate movement. Sound is enlisted to break up density and create possibilities for renewed vitality. What brought breath and sound onto the Continuum map?

EC: I hyperventilated all of my life. Even though I was a dancer and gave the illusion of moving, I knew that I was frozen inside. I was breath-impaired, constantly gasping, gulping, and sighing for air, never able to really fill my lungs. I didn’t know at that time that I was imprinted with a state of terror that began with a difficult delivery on my mother’s part and continued to accumulate in the frightening and desperate experiences of my childhood. Finally, when I was 32, I simply could not go on letting my immobilized childhood lock down the momentum of my adult life. I tried to get help, but I felt manipulated by the therapists that I consulted. I felt an enormous schism in our culture in contrast to what I had experienced in Haiti. Finally I had to lie down on my living room rug and discover breathing for myself.

I began to find an internal depth from experimenting with my breath, which led me to experience the constraints and inhibitions that I was maintaining in a completely different way. Externally I was very flexible, but the level of fear that I had internalized for so long was embedded within my system. It’s as if my system was split in half; inside it was frozen and outside it looked like it was moving. The only thing that would melt it down was the movement of breath. Breath is the first music, and so I approach it like music. Over the years, I’ve developed a wide variety of breaths that create an internal dexterity and start to melt constraints. Any place that breath goes will heal.

Sound came into my awareness much later. In the 1970s, I had a realization that sound could dissolve density and refine movement as well. Sound changes a gross movement into a molecular movement, giving it a complexity that the gross movement could never have. I am so completely captivated by the evolution of movement that sound was the logical next phase of discovery.

Refinement and complexity can be seen in the movement of the octopus. From my perspective, the octopus is demonstrating an advance forward to the kind of molecular dexterity we could have at some future time. One of the most important teachings that the octopus demonstrates is an astounding array of responses and the ability to quickly rearrange itself for its survival. Without the use of sound as a source for shifting densities, I don’t know how we could achieve this potential within ourselves.

NGW: As I look over your teaching calendar, I notice you enjoy collaborating with other somatic practitioners, osteopaths, scientists, and others on a similar path. Can you speak about your adventures in the somatic neighborhood?

EC: All of the people I collaborate with are interested in the development and expansion of the somatics field. In my collaborations with people from allied fields, we pool our knowledge; through the love of our work and through love of exploring, we heighten each other’s capabilities.

I think that Continuum makes a great contribution to all the other somatic practices because of our work with the dynamics of the fluid system, which will accelerate any healing process. In the 1970s I began to experiment with people who were paralyzed or who had other neurological impairments for which there were no successful protocols. I had the good fortune to work with Dr. Valerie Hunt for five years at her UCLA laboratory, in a groundbreaking research project demonstrating the “innovation” of new nerve and muscle tissue.

The movement sequences of Continuum are actually quite simple and are easy to teach to clients. I feel that with serious health challenges, clients need to have a practice that they do on a daily basis that will maintain the much needed flux in their system. A daily practice will keep the system open and moving rather than struggling with the return of habitual patterns. Healing is complex, and the tendency to return to the patterned imprint is extremely high. Every client I work with has a process that they do on a daily basis that we alter, change, and refine as new connections and responses become integrated into the system. In working with complex issues, sessions once or twice a week simply will not hold. Any long-term injury has been patterned into the nervous system, and it becomes normal for that person to have that template. The internalized pattern is like a magnet, relentlessly trying to maintain itself.

The disruption of status quo on a daily basis allows the system to stay in a biorelated flux, creating an internal plasticity, like a very young child has. This plasticity is essential to any healing process. “Flux,” which is highly coherent, is not to be confused with “amorphous,” which is incoherent. Flux is similar to the exchanges that go on in embryogenesis, where life sequencing is able to move and develop efficiently and with integrity within the fluid medium.

NGW: Continuum is a small community. Currently there are about 42 teachers worldwide. What are your plans for disseminating your work to the next generation?

EC: I don’t want to control the work. I know it will change when I’m gone because times change—the world keeps moving, developing different values, insights, and meanings.
I personally resist teacher training programs. I need to be close to the people who teach Continuum, since they basically represent me and are a continuation of a very particular vision. I like to select and help develop people who I think are gifted and have the qualities that I look for in a good teacher. This makes my relationship to our teaching community very personal, since we are all devoted to the evolving human.

I think we also need to have a greater experience and understanding of movement from molecular to cellular to the movement of fluids, etc. A person who becomes a movement educator should not just be thinking in terms of muscle, but be fully versed in molecular movement.

NGW: Can you speak to embodiment and the birth process, and how they factor into Continuum?

EC: I am putting together a body of work based on biogenesis and the unfolding of life. When I began to work with spinal cord injury, I discovered through the activation of the fluid system how one could innovate new neural networks. It became clear that whether you are giving birth to a baby or to new probabilities within your own biosystem, it is all part of the larger embryonic field that is in a continuum of unfolding life.

I feel that in our culture, poor attention has been paid to the birthing process and the devastation that can be caused by ignorance and arrogance. A culture grows and is imprinted by how it approaches the birth process. What kind of society do you think we have when we have birth processes that are dissociated and create shock in infants? Half the people on the planet, at least in our culture, are in a state of shock from their birth process alone. We are all born prematurely in order for our head to move through the birth canal. Our in utero gestation continues ex utero, and it is essential that the baby stay within the vibrational field of the mother. When that’s disrupted, for whatever reason, and put in a nursery, the baby goes through despair, having been ripped from its ex-uterine vibrational field. When this particular ex-uterine bonding is carelessly disrupted, the experience is seared into the infant’s nervous system and becomes part of its life theme.

I could go on and on about Cesarean births, forceps deliveries, closing the legs when the baby is moving through the birth canal, incubators, etc. Shock and stress make us less human and less humane. We become increasingly dissociated, less empathic. We are clearly headed toward a world of blade runners, people whose empathic capacity is so compromised they are capable of anything. The incident at Columbine is a good example of what I’m referring to.

Our brain is shaped by experience. As we continue to experience mechanical ways and create a world that represents an industrialization of our consciousness, the price we pay will be the loss of the unfolding gestating life that moves through us and the stars in mysterious wave tides that are still pulsating in our cells.

It appears obvious that our culture is more dedicated to making weapons of mass destruction than to the thriving of human beings. It’s important for us all to see this, particularly those of us in the somatics field, and to take matters into our own hands.

Right now we are the dwellers on the threshold. We still have the capacity to change the scene and reclaim ourselves as organisms that are extensions of a magnificent process that has been going on for four billion years. I think that’s a wonderful thing to want.

1 From Valerie V. Hunt’s book Infinite Mind: Science of the Human Vibrations of Consciousness, Malibu Publishing, 2000,

To contact Emilie or to learn more about Continuum: Continuum Movement, 1629 18th Street, Studio 7, Santa Monica, CA 90404; tel. (310) 453-4402; fax (310) 453-8775;;

To contact Nancy Galeota-Wozny: 13318 Oddom Ct., Cypress, TX 77429; tel. (832) 326-5234;

Fluid Play was orginally published by Contact Quarterly winter/spring 2004 Volume 29 Number 1

and reprinted by Somatics fall/winter 2003-04 Volume XIV Number 3

Nancy Galeota-Wozny is Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner of Somatic Movement Education and a free-lance writer. She has presented on mind/body movement education all over the US and in Canada. She is a 2004 recipient of the Gary Parks Memorial Award for Emerging Dance Critics, a two-time recipient of Artists Project Grants from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County, and a 2001 finalist for the Sommerville Award in Somatic Writing. Her work has appeared in The Houston Chronicle, Dance Magazine, ArtsHouston, Contact Quarterly, Total, Body, Houston Woman, The Houston Press, Somatics, The Feldenkrais Journal, INTOUCH, Houston ArtsView, and other publications. In 2004, she was invited to be a Critic-in-Residence at the American Dance Festival. Currently she edits Houston’s only dance blog, Dancehunter,

Emilie Conrad, founder and director of Continuum Movement, is a visionary whose revolutionary work continues to inspire an international audience of movement educators and therapists. Conrad teaches and is a guest speaker at various universities, healing arts centers, and movement therapy institutions worldwide. She is currently a member of the somatics faculty at Esalen, Omega, and Kripalu Institutes, and Naropa University. Her basic philosophy recognizes the fluid system of our bodies as an expression of an ongoing rapport of organism as environment, communicating its inherent biointelligence through movements that spiral, arc, curve, and undulate.