After two weeks of intensive creative process, playing in the snow, and late night kitchen parties, E|MERGE 2015 has come to an end. Participants packed up and headed home yesterday, much to our despair. The sharings were phenomenal and it was a joy to see the culmination of two weeks of hard work from our 25 interdisciplinary creators. Immense gratitude for their incredible efforts, thoughtful contributions, and willingness to E|MERGE. Miss you already!
Here are some thoughts from CJ, one of this years participants of the Solo Pool:
“So what exactly are you doing?” ask the people I know and work with in New York, who are curious, maybe even jealous of my upcoming two-week absence.
I struggle to explain.
“It’s an artists’ residency,” I say to those who speak that language (though my tongue tends to trip over all the sibillances).
“I’ll be making a dance.” (This resulted in hilarious repetition of that phrase by a client of mine who could not imagine what on earth it could mean. “Making a dance?”)
“It’s an experiment in collaboration,” I say, technically correct but still vague.
“It’s held every winter at this… retreat center. dance farm. contact improv camp. somatic research institute. mountainside monastery dedicated to the study and worship of the almighty present moment.”
“It’s in Massachusetts.”
Here’s what they latch on to—where any jealousy goes out the window. “Massachusetts? In FEBRUARY?” (By February, New Yorkers are done with winter. Those with the means to get away for two weeks in February, or even one, are going to the Caribbean.)
How can I begin to explain the pleasure of watching snow fall through the windows of the Umbrella Barn? Of snowshoeing up the hillside with a new friend who feels like an old friend? Of stepping naked through the door of the sauna, steaming in the cold, and looking up over the quarry to see the sky filled with stars?
How can I explain the warmth I receive from two weeks in the woods with two dozen brilliant, beautiful people, creating community through rigorous and radical creative practice(s)?
I will do my best to tell you what I’m doing here:
I am delving deeply into my practice, in a place that honors that work, surrounded by people who are doing the same thing.
I am connecting with a diverse and delightful group of astonishingly creative thinkers, all interested in how we can work together better, in mutual support of each others’ work.
I am building the seed of a new project, and this new baby seed is being informed and nourished by the generosity of my new colleagues.
I am learning and stretching alongside two dozen distinct personalities who are learning and stretching alongside me.
I am entering a (temporary) (intentional) (liminal) (sacred) space in hopes that the richness of this experience can fertilize all aspects of my life.
You SHOULD be jealous.
About the Artist:
Photo: Andrea Reese
CJ Holm is a New York-based dancer, choreographer, teacher, improvisor, gardener, tinkerer, coach, and friend. CJ makes work with Krista Jansen as Jansen & Holm, and separately as Creature Theater. CJ's work grows out of a bottomless interest in the expressive potential of the human animal body, through movement, language, sound, gesture, and any permutation of the above. These works have been presented in New York at Judson Memorial Church, Irondale Center, the Center for Performance Research, The Secret Theater, The Silent Barn, FIGMENT Festival, and many more. CJ has received space grants and residencies from BodyArt Center, FARspace, and the Cora Studio, as well as E|MERGE and sister residency CON|VERGE outside Berlin. Come get it: vimeo.com/cjholm