K.J. Holmes

WinLab 2017 | 11 - 15 December, 11am - 5pm | Improvisation, Somatics and the Poetics of Dance

This workshop is experiential research of Body-Mind Centering®, contact improvisation, and structures and scores for dancing. Exploring anatomy and physiology to better understand the mechanics of movement, you will discover, explore, separate, integrate and improvise with physical
systems and patterns to make visible physiological rhythms of support and creativity. Through exposing contradictions in the body and engaging with our imaginations, we will widen choice, create discernment and practice embodiment and composition.

The course, designed for teachers, creators and performers in dance and theatre, will bring forth skills, tools and practical experience of somatic studies and improvisation, to become more tuned to physical centres and subtleties of touch, direction and intention. It will explore how to use these discoveries to tune the physical instrument of body and mind, and as a source for creative practice: the poetics of the human being through dancing, voicing, writing and reading.


K.J. Holmes is an independent dance artist, singer, poet, actor and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York. Her training began as a child with ballet, church choir and musical theater as well as judo and fencing.

This blend of approaches is a basis for her eclectic form of expression and art making. Her dance studies at the New School for Social Research and with Andre Bernard (1979 -81) led her to improvisation and new dance techniques that were being explored at that time.

K.J. has helped to define, first as a student and now as a teacher and performer, many contemporary improvisational practices, collaborating with forerunners Simone Forti, Lisa Nelson and Steve Paxton. She continues to push into new frontiers of dance and theater with her love of research and experience. Her dances have been presented in NYC at the Chocolate Factory Theater, Danspace Project, The Kitchen, P.S. 122, Movement Research at the Judson Church, D.T.W., Dixon Place, University Settlement, Warren Street Performance Loft, The Present Company, The Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, the Joyce Soho and the Vision Jazz Festival, as well as nationally and internationally.

K.J. is a graduate of the 2 year Sanford Meisner acting training at the Esper Studio NYC studying with master teacher Terry Knickerbocker (2009), Satya Yoga, studying with Sondra Loring (2007), and The School for Body-Mind Centering (1999), of which the play between is essential to her current practices. As a sought after teacher of contact/improvisations and somatic approaches to dance, theater and voice, Holmes is adjunct professor at NYU/Experimental Theatre Wing since 2001, The Juilliard School since 2015, and has been teaching through Movement Research since 1986. She has been a recent guest teaching artist at Yale, Princeton, Arizona State University and Roger Williams University.

She has a private practice in Dynamic Alignment and Re-integration offering movement tutoring, coaching and yoga sessions. K.J. travels throughout the world teaching and performing at universities, festivals and venues that range from theaters to site specific locations to living rooms. Her commitment to the collaboration between dance, music and linguistics continues to inform her work, performing alongside many brilliant musicians, vocalists and poets such as trumpeters Dave Douglas and Roy Campbell, Jr., actor Keith Biesack, singer Lisa Sokolov, dancers Karen Nelson, Karinne Keithley Seyers and Jon Kinzel, and poet Julie Carr, and in the work of artists including Anne Bogart, Ann Carlson, Allyson Green, Meg Stuart, Randy Warshaw and Cathy Weis. K.J. most recently danced with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, in The Works of Steve Paxton at Dia:Beacon and in Xavier Le Roy’s Retrospective at PS1:MoMA. She was a founding member of the Veterans Project under the direction of Fay Simpson, and was a 2012-14 Movement Research Artist in Residence where she began developing her new dance theater piece HIC SVNT DRACONES (HSD) which has been performed as chapters in progress at Dixon Place, Center for Performance Research, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Chashama, Triskelion Arts and Heliopolis Gallery, (NYC), The Belfry (NY), University Colorado Boulder, Hollins University, University Washington Bothell, Harvard University, Studio Current and Velocity Dance (Seattle), Skidmore College as part of the BMCA conference (NY); Roger Williams University (RI), and Hana Barn Vashon (WA), Sector 2337 and Mana Contemporary Chicago (IL). HSD will be presented as a full evening length piece in 2018.

K.J. has had the great pleasure of performing in the recent work of Karinne Keithley Syers (Bushwick Starr, Poetry Project), Emily Johnson CATALYST (NYLA 2015); Mark Dendy (Ritual Cyclical, Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2013), Lance Gries (The 50’s Project video; Immanent Field, Danspace Project, 2014; Sonic, Vision Festival NYC, 2015), Melinda Ring (The Landscape, The Kitchen Gallery, 2014), and Donna Uchizono (Short Tahitian Temper, NYLA 2014). She recently was a participant in Figure Space, a re-emergence in the work of and with her mentors, collaborators and friends Lisa Nelson and Steve Paxton at Earthdance and Bennington College (Spring 2016).

K.J. was the co-curator of the MR Fall Festival-
Devotion/Rigor/Sustainability (2011), the Improvisation is Hard Festival (2004), the Studies Project (1983-85), Measuring K - 3 evenings of solos and duets plus 24 hour marathon improvisation (Culture Project, 2004).

K.J. was a panelist in Studies Project:Overlapping Circles (Improvisation, Contact Improvisation, Performance, Practice, Human Collaboration through Movement Research and the New Museum (2013) and in Conversation without Walls- Choreography under the Influence at Danspace Project (2011).

She has read/performed her poetry at The Stone, Dixon Place and the Knitting Factory and has been published in Contact Quarterly, Movement Research Performance Journal, Dance Spirit, Dance Magazine, on line in I, Theatrics, and co-curated an evening of Dance and Poetry at Harvard University. She was a panelist September 2015 on Afterlives: The Persistence of Performance, hosted by MoMA and FIAF, as part of the Crossing the Line Festival, and was a co-organizer of Fact in Question: A symposium, on ensemble improvisational practices at NYU January 2016. Her piece c o n s t e l l a t i o n was performed last October in a tribute to trumpeter Roy Campbell, Jr. at Roulette, Brooklyn NY.

In 2017, K.J. was cast in artists Matthew Barney and Cristiane Bouger’s new films, and is assisting Simone Forti in teaching her Dance Constructions to be performed as part of MOMA’s recent acquisition of her work. She also began a new solo Here This Wreckage Salvage Untitled Sea, quoting her past works within a current frame of personal and socio-geo-political references as well as continuing to develop her duet LIP with drummer Jeremy Carlstedt.