Joy – a Vital Nutrient


A note from Elaine

May you move artfully into 2020!

Bringing forward creative expressions and new questions that arise from embodied, fluid, somatic exploration is our pleasure and purpose at Watermark Arts.

This final newsletter of 2019 features art films capturing what is deeply meaningful to me and at the heart of all Watermark Arts activities: the melding of art, nature, and collaborative creation. We debut Joy on Broadway, filmed in a NYC park on a 29 degree December day.

Whether you watched a video, came to a performance, contributed to our galleries, perused A Moving Inquiry, played with the Moving Art Cards, immersed yourself in our Journal, or attended the Somatic Movement Summit at Omega, we are grateful for your engagement with our endeavor to make the world a more harmonious place through somatic practice, inquiry and the arts.

As the decade comes to a close, we wish you quiet repose as well as unbridled joy,

Elaine, with the Watermark Arts Creative Team

Read the newsletter here.

A Year of Creativity and Health

AdminNewsletters, Watermark Arts Journal

This newsletter brings you the 2019 Watermark Arts Journal, 56 pages of words and images culminating our yearlong exploration of Continuum & the Creativity of Health.

The Journal offers an in-depth conversation between Bonnie Gintis, D.O., and Elisabeth Osgood-Campbell, accented with transformative, somatically-informed images from Watermark’s galleries.

We invite you to dive with these eloquent guides to the center of the interconnection of creativity and health, to emerge with a fresh perspective on the very nature of health, revealed in specific ways that Continuum practice contributes to the healing process.

Beautifully designed by Prue Jeffries, this issue of the Journal is also translated into Italian by Annalisa Dondi and Simona Arbizzani, as well as into French by Naomi Walker.

Appropriately, the 2019 Journal is home to our complete Creativity of Health video series, including the newest interview with human rights psychotherapist Amber Elizabeth Gray.

Holding all the best for your well-being,

Elaine Colandrea  Priscilla Auchincloss    Prue Jeffries          Sandra Capellaro
Artistic Director     Associate Director       Creative Director   Galleries Administrator

PS – The Moving Art Cards make great holiday gifts. Order early so the decks can be shipped to you. You will be supporting the Watermark Arts workshop scholarship fund, too. Thank you!

Read the newsletter here.

Amber Elizabeth Gray on Continuum & the Creativity of Health

ElaineWatermark Arts Videos, Continuum & the Creativity of Health Series

From Darfur, Kosovo and Haiti to her clinic in New Mexico, human rights psychotherapist Amber Elizabeth Gray blends dance therapy and Continuum in her recovery work with refugees. “Every human being deserves the right to inhabit his or her body in the way they choose.”

Continuum & The Creativity of Health interview with Amber Elizabeth Gray (video transcript):

Continuum supports me in my work as a human rights psychotherapist and a dance movement therapist working in human rights contexts. Dance therapy nourishes me in so many ways but also there was a certain demand. So where those demands were Continuum was the nourishment. Over the years, they’ve come slowly together. There was a point where I remember I [said], I’m going to just start sneaking a little Continuum into dance therapy.

I remember particularly it was with one client who is a survivor from Iraq who had lived in the same town as Saddam Hussein and had lived her whole life with the fear that anybody in your family could disappear, because that’s what happened. And therapy and dance therapy and lots of good really solid attempts to work with her – she really wanted to find her body again, she’d developed a lot of weight – and I just really tried something different. I just had this feeling, and she said, “sure, try anything, I’m tired of suffering,” and we did some lunar breaths.

I brought in a yoga mat in for that session and we did some lunar breaths. She just opened up her eyes and looked at me, and she said, “this is what a body is supposed to feel like?! I’m home. I just found my body.” And from that moment on, I started to layer Continuum into dance therapy and layered dance therapy into Continuum and they’ve merged together.

Ever since I’ve started teaching Continuum, quite honestly, I don’t feel as burned out.

Every time I came out of Rwanda, or Kosovo, or some of the places I was working, I was fine and I was really sick. I had a really bad cough, my back went out, etc. So there would be some aspect of my health, my wholeness, my wellness that would be affected. And when I went to Darfur, which is probably one of the most dangerous places I’ve ever been, there’s a certain magic, the landscape has this really deep tawny rose colored sand, that’s like silk. Camels, the way that they move,  white robes. So there’s all this beauty and then there’s all this not beauty  there’s the war.

Every night I would lay in bed, and I had to sleep under one of those big thick mosquito nets because there were spiders there, and I did the lunars. And it was the first time that I had a really conscious practice, like it was like kind of like a lullaby or a prayer you’d do for a little kid. I would just get into bed and I would do the lunars until I drifted off. And I would do the lunars with the landscape when I was walking around. I remember I went home from that trip and my husband looking at me and he said, “there’s usually some suffering that comes home with you. I’ve never seen you so light. And so uplifted.” I said, “well, it was different this time.”

I realized it was the way the lunars connected with the beauty of that place, they were the perfect breath to go with the sound of the wind at night, and the little hut, the cool that is coming through, the shape and colors of the sand, the hills, the movement of the camels.  And ever since I’ve started teaching Continuum, quite honestly, I don’t feel as burned out. I don’t feel as stretched out.

I always say everyone has the right to embody their body […] and that’s really the spirit of this work. So the creativity of health is also acknowledging that we can be empowered to move ourselves from when we’re in the more alien places, to the places that have more wholeness.

Dancing with Trees, Breathing with Life


A note from Elaine

Here in the Hudson Valley, the leaves have fallen. The trees stand revealed as their trunks, branches, and ever more finely dividing stems. In the branching forms viewed through my window, I realize I am seeing the structures within my own lungs, only on a larger scale. Branching is a universal pattern, expressing an elemental movement toward greater exchange, closer intercommunication – the ability to generously give and widely receive.

This newsletter brings you two new “branches” from our ever-growing video collection. First, we give you Tree Tryst, danced last July at Omega Institute, partnering Continuum movers with a grove of pine trees. Next, as part of our series on the Creativity of Health, author and Continuum teacher Ashima Kahrs speaks of how Continuum gave her the ability to go beyond the limits of what she thought was possible in recovering from a stroke that had occurred decades ago. This is a living example of how increasing intercommunication informs the healing process and optimizes health.

I am also delighted to announce the Omega 2020 faculty for what will be our fifth Somatic Movement Summit: The Elemental Nature of the Body, July 19-24, 2020.  My collaboration with these 12 amazing teachers sets in motion a collective teaching design which offers a lively planning process, enhancing the experience for all workshop participants.

In the spirit of exchange and communication,


Read the newsletter here.

Tree Tryst

ElaineWatermark Arts Videos

Tree Tryst, danced last July at Omega Institute, during The Somatic Movement Summit, Creativity of Health, partnering Continuum movers with a grove of pine trees.

Bea Ehsram, Nicole Faustini, Melanie Gambino, Lauren Grady, Lila Greene, Meredith Johnson, Elisabeth Osgood-Campbell,Rori Smith, Kori Tolbert

Choreography by Elaine Colandrea
Film and Video by Prue Jeffries
Original Music by Morena Boschetto

Ancestral Table

ElaineWatermark Arts Videos, News


A spontaneous Continuum collaboration that emerged from an afternoon walk in the calanchi of Parco Abbazia di Monteveglio, Italy -responding to the earth below and the air around us.

Continuum Movers: Elaine Colandrea, Mirco Dondi, Prue Jeffries

Filming: Prue Jeffries, Mirco Dondi, Elaine Colandrea

Video Creaton: Prue Jeffries

Music: Il palazzo interiore ( “The inner palace”) by Morena Boschetto

Poem: “Anatomy” by Noelle Adamo

Produced by Elaine Colandrea for Watermark Arts

Save the date for Omega 2020

ElaineComing workshops, Coming Events, News

Register on the Omega website here.

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.

Meeting our intrinsic selves through movement, breath and sound leads to a sense of wholeness, refreshment, nourishment and belonging with the natural world. From this inner space of knowing, we can access the empowerment, creativity and courage that lead to manifesting meaningful contributions in the world.

Movement sessions, periods of silence, and opportunities for artful expression, personal reflection, and community exchange combine to offer a fresh model of alive, sensory presence pertinent to educators, health care practitioners, artists, activists and all who wish to learn skills for life-force growth.

Elaine Colandrea with Megan Bathory-Peeler, Cory Blake, Ellen Cohen, Suzanne Wright Crain, Melanie Gambino, Bonnie Gintis, Rebecca Lawson, Elisabeth Osgood-Campbell, Linda Rabin, Kori Tolbert, Lauren Wadsworth, and Sharon Weil.

Continuing education credits available for bodyworkers. Child care program available.

Register on the Omega website here.

Val Leoffler on Continuum & the Creativity of Health

AdminWatermark Arts Videos, Continuum & the Creativity of Health Series

Continuum teacher and bodyworker Val Leoffler discusses a creative approach to healing in her work with clients, as well as in her own recovery from a brain tumor. (6.08 min)


Continuum & The Creativity of Health interview with Val Leoffler (video transcript):

There’s a way in which Continuum, as it keeps that practice of being able to drop down in, provides a kind of nourishment that is the essence of healing. Being able to come home to my breath, my sound, my movement, I will be able to continue to fall back into a practice. You know, having been ill or having a severe injury can be a very isolating process. That’s why fundamentally for me this work is about being able to come not just into that pause, but in the moment of being able to feel into how I can build a relationship with myself, with my own self-touch with the touch of my environment. How I am in relationship with props that I might use, with my own internal dialogue, or in the act of being witnessed.

I want to say something about complexity. You know, I had my own healing journey, nine years ago when I was so grateful from having had a brain tumor and brain surgery and the result was losing the use of my leg and not having full sensation. To be able to fall back into my teaching practice and my own practice with Continuum was everything! And it was a deeply creative act because I’m dealing with the unknown and dealing with the uncertainty of the unknown.

When I got out of the hospital and was starting my recovery I was giving myself lots of attention about just restoring breath. It had nothing to do, as we would say in regular physical therapy, with the injury site which was hip down to foot, but had to do with knowing that for the recovery of surgery [I had to] really open up; I remembered my breath and remembered my lateral lines and my diaphragm – all to help with the sense of overwhelm that can happen in any situation.

I never approached myself as a problem that needed to be solved. This wasn’t something that had to be fixed. This was more the openness to it – like I’m not attached to what happens here, but I’m going to listen and really love that […]

And then I have an ongoing continuing practice of working with different breaths and different sounds. I remember specifically because I couldn’t stand, of working with having my foot against the wall, and being able to feel into it. I couldn’t keep my foot up with the wall first, but being able to at least press it against where I was laying down and be able to get that sense of some contact there, and feeling into it. Which is how I work a lot if I’m working with somebody on kind of a problem of having again a relationship. [We work on] being able to play into that and go into that.

Whenever I’m traveling and in a new town or a city that has a lot of walls or buildings, and I have to maybe be inside a lot during the day, I’m always trying to find out where the greenbelt is, if there’s a little tree that I could go find or a water way or a park or something like that, just to be able to be in nature, to remind me of my own nature. And I realized that what I’m doing in my Continuum practice is that I’m finding that greenbelt inside myself. And being able to feel where life is continually yearning to regenerate and bubble forth.

You know, we come from a culture where a person [is] a problem. That’s one thing that I didn’t do, I never approached myself as a problem that needed to be solved. This wasn’t something that had to be fixed. This was more the openness to – like I’m not attached to what happens here, but I’m going to listen and really love that, and that’s just the baseline, that has to be said.

I’m appreciating a lot the Japanese culture’s art of kintsugi where they work when a bowl has cracked, to be able to restore the crack in the bowl not by making it invisible and just gluing it together but by putting gold in the crack. And when that happens, that becomes a piece of art. And so there is the beauty in that healing and the beauty in that value of the complexification that has happened in what we might say a person that has been wounded or a person that has been working through something that it’s now at value because it has deepened, its layers have deepened.