Awakening the Elemental Self

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The Elemental Nature of the Body: Somatic Movement Summit V

July 19th to 24th, 2020, Omega Institute
Rhinebeck, NY

Choosing a path of opening in the face of global crisis and personal adversity begins a journey inward to connect with the most primordial movements of nature and with the elemental self to reveal our inherent biological capacity for innovation.

Through the somatic awareness practice of Continuum, this restorative retreat investigates the vital chemistry of all life. Embodying the qualities of earth, air, fire, and water awakens the body’s fluid capacity for healing, insight, and creative engagement.

Register here:

Connect Deeply with All That Matters

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A note from Elaine:

Good news! Registration for the July 19-24, 2020 Somatic Movement Summit V is now live on The Omega Institute’s website.

This restorative 5-day retreat, an opportunity for self-care and Continuum community, is back by popular request.

The workshop theme, The Elemental Nature of the Body, is described and illustrated in the video above and the artwork from the Watermark Arts somatically-informed creators below.

Please join me and an extraordinary faculty in the verdant Hudson Valley of New York this summer.

I look forward to connecting with you,


PS – Omega has helpful people at 833-871-8178 / 844-340-5852 to guide you in the registration process; also feel free to contact me,

Read the newsletter here.

“Trusting the unknown”: Ellen Cohen on Continuum & Creativity

ElaineContinuum & Creativity Interview Series

Through the practice of Continuum, improvisational dancer Ellen Cohen learned to trust in the unknown. From the Watermark Arts Continuum & Creativity series.

“I had learned in my dance training with Erick Hawkins that moving the way our bodies naturally function is not only safer, but could be beautiful. In Continuum, however, my body was the choreographer as well as the dancer! This intrinsic artistry is what inspires me to this day.” – Ellen Cohen  Read More

Human, Being by Beth Pettengill Riley

ElaineFeatured Artists

Skin trembling day after day,
Heart fumbling out a new rhythm,
Unsettled by the news
Sorrow seeping into bones,
Crevices deep with ancient holding and fear
Being swirled up in this moment of uncertainty

Red-shouldered hawk arrives again for winter refuge,
Bigger this year, more majestic,

Impossible to ignore,
Swooping through canyons outside the living room window.
His cries pierce the morning sky:
A warning?

“Live closer to what is natural:
the rhythm of light and dark;
the drawing in and down of winter”
A call to quiet rest.

View poem

Threads of Grace by Niki Berg

ElaineFeatured Artists

A Photography Project about Women, Words and Ancestors

“Threads of Grace” is a continuation of my interest in women and their ancestors and how words can impact the visual expression.

These portraits are of women from a variety of backgrounds, who have chosen one word that represents and connects them to the past.

This connection serves as a transmission from their ancestors to today.

I see this work as a kind of energetic threads—a quilt of global humanity in which generations are woven together by Threads of Grace.

View Gallery

Life sustaining life with somatic art and community now

ElaineNews, Newsletters

A note from Elaine

You and I are self-generating, like the earth itself.  As part of nature, we are constantly renewing ourselves with nourishment from the elemental forces that make up all life.

This process is called autopoiesis and the practice of Continuum leads us into highly attuned awareness of its generative undercurrents. Breath, sensation and inner impulses of movement are primal, primary expressions of autopoietic life.

At this critical juncture in our highly industrialized, tech-dominated and climate-challenged world, we invite you to consider this question with us…

What happens when we apply the wisdom of our autopoietic selves to environmental problems, group dynamics, family life, and how one moves in the world as an activist/advocate, artist or teacher?

This inquiry is the passionate heart beating at the core of Watermark Arts and the theme for our retreat at Omega 2020. Join our Continuum communitas in July to listen deeply for five days to the forces of renewal within you, so hungry to reveal solutions for restoring a way of being in which you and all nature thrives.

This month, our somatically informed artists share their sensuous, vibrant world visions with you. ChiaroScuro, filmed by Prue Jeffries on the limestone landscape of Matera, Italy, is an elemental setting that resonates with my soul. The earth wombs, caves that were once sea beds, cradled Claudia Catani, Naomi Walker and me. Niki Berg’s new gallery Threads of Grace weaves generations of embodied experience into “a quilt of global humanity.” Beth Pettengill Riley’s poem Human, Being is a timely testament to embracing our role in the earth’s continual rebirth.

In this season of the heart, I offer you what I love most in the world.

Read the newsletter here.


ElaineWatermark Arts Videos, Materadancescapes, News, Watermark Arts in Italy

Conceived and produced by Elaine Colandrea, Artistic Director, Watermark Arts

Filmed and edited by Prue Jeffries, Creative Director, Watermark Arts

Performed by Claudia Catani, Elaine Colandrea & Naomi Walker

Music: Stella Maris by Moby courtesy of

Filmed with permission in San Falcione, Parco Murgia Timone, Matera, Italia

Special thanks to Maria Teresa Barbaro & Paolo Montagna, Director CEA Matera

San Falcione

Rock churches excavated in the 9th and 10th centuries generally conformed to a Byzantine model, having a rectangular or square chamber with plain walls and behind these two arched presbyteries supported by a central pillar. The rock church of San Canione, better known as San Falcione, is no exception. Attributed to the earliest Italo-Greek monastic communities which settled in the area around the 9th century, it’s one of Matera’s oldest rock churches. Located in a small ravine, it’s easily recognised thanks to the perimeter wall built in the 19th century by the noble Gattini family, who used the cave complex as an enclosure for sheep and goats. Inside the church, where the floor is now lower than its original level, there’s a fresco of Saint Nicholas on the central pillar and one of a bishop saint on the right-hand wall. Still on the right, in the altar recess, there was once an extraordinary fresco of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple: Joseph, Mary and the Child were clearly visible, along with Saint Simeon and the prophetess Anna who blessed Jesus with one hand while the other held a missive with words ‘This Child created heaven and earth’ in Greek. Many small cavities excavated around the church are the remains of a medieval apiary.

Welcoming Rori Smith to the Watermark Arts Creative Team

ElaineFeatured Artists

Rori Smith, Watermark Arts Editor

Rori Smith is a dancer, somatic movement educator, and researcher based in midcoast Maine. Rori began to study Continuum with Ellen Cohen in 2014 and is currently mentored by Elaine Colandrea. Rori’s writing Beneath the Cultural Body: Sensory Experience in Continuum Practice was shared at the 2017 Somatic Movement Immersion at Omega Institute and she had the pleasure of performing Elaine Colandrea’s choreography at the 2019 Somatic Movement Summit. Rori continues to perform and write on the themes of embodied memory, interdependence and resilience inspired by nature, culture, and Continuum.

Water ~ Source of Creation, Source of Solutions

ElaineWater Blessing Project, News, Newsletters

Watermark Arts dedicates 2020 to honoring water

With fires raging, there is a need for new solutions to environmental, societal and personal problems. Now is the time to call upon the healing power and generative wisdom of water.

The Water Blessing Project is an invocation to water and to self-inquiry in service to the whole of existence.

We invite Water Blessings to be collectively shared around the world through performance and individual movement meditation practice.

Read the newsletter here.  Learn more about the Water Blessing Project here.