slowly learning to cocreate with dance

Embodied Arts Series Coming to Toronto this October

Come join us for an exploration and inquiry through movement.

  • Workshop, Saturday, October 8, 10 am -5 pm: “Your Life, Your Story, Your Dance” With Gennie Brukner, Henry Wai, and Vivek Patel. A Day of art making, dance making and life focusing through Authentic Movement, Contact Improvisation Dance, martial arts (Ninjitsu) and visual arts. We’ll ask the big questions: Who am I being in this body, in my relationships, in the world? What’s holding me back? For what am I willing to give my life? How might I move through my life with  presence, attention, and intention? $75-100 for the day the Lower Ossington Theatre, Light vegetarian lunch included.
  • Workshop, Saturday, October 15, 10 am – 4 pm: “Your Creation Story” a day of butoh, dance making, storytelling, creative writing, and visual art  At “What Next” 7-12 Fraser Ave.  $75-100 for the day. With Patricia Kambitsch and Maureen “MomoButoh” Freehill.  Light vegetarian lunch included. Members of the workshop will be invited to rehearsal and performance on October 16. (Making this a two day workshop, and quite a deal!)
  • Performance, Sunday, October 16, 7 pm: “Creation Stories” an intimate performance and gallery show including members of the October 8 class at “What Next” 7-12 Fraser Ave. ($15, or free for attendees of Saturday’s workshop)

For more information contact Patricia Kambitsch at 416.799.6750 

or email  patricia @ playthink  .  com


BUTOH was founded by dancers Hijikata Tatsumi and Kazuo Ohno in the 1960’s. This originally Japanese avant-garde performance art utilized principles from traditional Japanese theater and contemporary dance, poetic imagery, meditation and theatrical improvisation to create a unique art form that now influences artists of all genres worldwide.Momo’s work includes a collection of dance performance films created in honor of her teacher, butoh pioneer, Kazuo Ohno. The films, honoring butoh’s 50 year anniversary explores daily dance as spiritual practice, life and death issues, and playfully experimental public performance.

CONTACT IMPROVISATION dance supports us in being present, fully embodied and physically intelligent through movement exploration and deep listening in contact with another person. Contact Improvisation is a free play between two or more moving bodies. Practices includes following a physical point of contact and supporting and giving weight to a partner. Sometimes quiet and meditative, sometimes wild and athletic, it is a dance open to all bodies and enquiring minds.

AUTHENTIC MOVEMENT is a practice of embodied presence that will help you become deeply connected with yourself through the use of movement and sound in the presence of a witness. You will be invited to close your eyes and open up to your inner landscape of experience; then to move and sound spontaneously (which can include stillness and silence) out of this relatedness to yourself. Authentic movement can be great fun, deeply moving, and powerfully restorative.  It can help you to shake off the bindings of inhibitions and self-consciousness, whether inherited or self-imposed, and free you up to commune with your essential self.


MAUREEN FREEHILL is known for innovative ways of fusing eastern and western practices of somatics and spirituality and viewing performance as a vehicle for personal, cultural and global awakening. She has been a performer and somatic/dramatic art instructor for over 25 years and holds an MFA in Directing/Asian Performance from University of Hawaii, Yoga Teacher Certification and Dance Therapy training at Naropa Institute. She lived, studied and performed for 5 years in Japan with butoh masters Kazuo and Yoshito Ohno. She has also led workshops and performed internationally including events with Katsura Kan, Akira Kasai, Koichi and Hiroko Tamano, musician Kitaro and Noh master Kanze Hideo. Currently she dwells in the Pacific Northwest where she teaches and performs regularly.

HENRY WAI started dancing at the tender age of 44 and has been exploring a world of movement possibility and fun ever since.  He has learned with a variety of Contact Improvisation teachers including Nancy Stark Smith, one of the pioneers of Contact dance.  Henry delights in introducing Contact Improvisation to newcomers and has a particular enthusiasm for teaching people with little or no dance background.

GENNIE BRUKNER  trained for three years at the Authentic Movement Institute in Berkeley, California.  She also trained with Ruth Zaporah in Action Theatre, Emilie Conrad Doud in Continuum Movement, Charlotte Selver in Sensory Awareness and Nina Martin in Ensemble Improvisation.  Her work is always informed by her meditation practice.

PATRICIA KAMBITSCH has been leading interdisciplinary arts workshops and groups for over fifteen years. A visual artist and author, she explores the interplay of painting and writing with other forms including performance art and dance. She is a member of MomoButoh Dance company.

You have the right to practice

…and to practice without thinking.

From Ivan Brunetti’s Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice:

The diligent student can read entire books on this subject if they wish (it never hurts), but the deepest realizations come to us from the daily practice of drawing.  It is the pencil that teaches best, and anyway, the trees of theory can obscure the forest of practice. I would go so far as to say that practice is philosophy, for practice itself encompasses philosophy, and philosophy without practice is shallow indeed.  A lengthy description of a glass of water is no substitute for the experience of drinking a glass of water; so it is with art.

From Erich Fromm:

It is essential… that discipline should not be practiced like a rule imposed on oneself from the outside, but that it becomes an expression of one’s own will; that it is felt as pleasant, and that one slowly accustoms oneself to a kind of behavior which one would eventually miss, if one stopped practicing it.

From Dexter Ico’s description of his workshop for performers and public speakers: Practice Makes Practice:

Most everyone can relate to stage fright, public speaking, and performance anxiety, and everyone knows that the only way to get over it is to go through it…you learn by doing, on stage, and from sharing your observations of each exercise you go through. Minimal time to think, maximum time on experiential exercise.

From Kathi Kizirnis of Practice Yoga:

If it makes you think you’re separate from, “other” or “not like” the rest of the world, it’s not yoga you’re practicing.

From Kazuo Ohno

Not thinking. Only Soul.




slow teaching from the MomoButoh dance company

I found a mentor for one of my slow learning passions through a simple google search.

I was  looking for other people who were, as I was, writing about  dance as a daily spiritual practice. Again, the  oracle of the internets led me to MomoButoh. Maureeen Freehill’s exceptional blog includes a butoh dance performance she creates daily.

Through the Jetsonian technology of Skype we meet face-to-face. Together we dance, share stories, and we talk about life itself.  Maureen suggests books to read, movements to practice, and challenges me to create my own butoh dance performances in public, to film them with my Flip camera, and to post them on Youtube.  And every two weeks or so I am held accountable for the learning goals I’ve set for myself.

I have to admit that the distance and the technology seem to be cold and strange for an intentionally embodied practice.  But it works.  Check out one of our Skype lessons that clever Momo captured last spring on her Flip and posted on her blog.

the dancer, the poet and holy communion

“We weren’t conscious of what we were doing as we devoured each other. On eating our fill, we both ceased to exist, leaving only love in our wake. Did I sacrifice myself as we tore into each other?  He allowed me eat my fill. For my  part, I ate as much as I wanted.  He offered me everything, and I likewise offered him all I had to give.

We can take each other’s life, just as we can allow each other to live. Knowing that we can’t extricate ourselves from the life cycle, we didn’t suffer as a result of following our instincts. We took great pleasure in being devoured.  It was just as though we were frolicking about like children. We found gratification in eating our fill, by devouring each other.

And now, I live in a world where I strum this wooden floor beneath my feet.  I live in a world where there are no boundaries between here and the hereafter.

I recall when I felt trapped and unable to decide what to do, I went to pieces. I was at once victim and perpetrator: I had a hunch that I was going to be attacked, and at the same time it was I who tore myself apart.  Yes, but what happened to me as my mind went to pieces?  Didn’t I turn into a fox?  Isn’t that a fox you’re seeing right over there?  What will become of it?  Will it to survive?  Don’t’ worry.  A fox doesn’t need to learn how to survive.  Let it fend for itself, because it instinctively knows how to cope with danger.”

Kazuo Ohno

“The slogan of hell: eat or be eaten.
The slogan of heaven: eat and be eaten.”
W. H. Auden