Vital Signs Residency Format
This is an experiment in having community support while you focus on a creative project you love! Each morning there will be a community practice that warms up your body, your creativity, your sense of possibility and you get to work (individually or in collaboration) in the afternoons. There will be opportunities for feedback on your project! Explore the balance between community and personal manifestation. Some of the practices will include exploring sexual energy and its capacity to ignite our creativity and healing as social change makers.
Weekend Attendance: You are invited to join in on this residency experiment. While we have to give registration priority to those signing up for the whole residency, we have some openings for people to attend one or two weekends. The participants and guides of the week prior to your weekend will welcome you and will craft experiences for you to explore the vital signs process.
Vital Signs Guides
Barbara Ann Michaels
Zahava Griss is a kinky, gender transcendent, dancer, bodyworker, and embodied leadership trainer. They have been dancing for 30 years and love the way dance deepens presence, creativity, and community. They have certifications in Urban Tantra, Esalen Bodywork, Deep Bodywork, Yoga for Birth, Pilates, and Health Coaching. They studied the sexual and spiritual arts of Sufi whirling, Sexual Shamanism, BDSM, bioenergetics, and transformational group dynamics. They perform and teach at national conferences on healing racism, Dark Odyssey, Touch & Play, Black Entertainment Television, New York University, Hunter College, the International Inspiring Women’s Summit, the Kennedy Center, the NY Midwifery conference, prenatal yoga teacher training, and the Deepak Chopra Center. Learn more at www.EmbodyMoreLove.com.
Abbi Jaffe is an embodiment activist and teacher, bodyworker, social worker and community builder. Abbi inspires others to follow their own body’s curiosity and impulses, embrace grief and celebration, unleash their radiant resilience, and to be exquisite. Abbi has been leading people on expeditions in the wilderness and within themselves since 2000 and is asked to teach throughout New England. Abbi operates the beautiful Dharma Door retreat in Underhill, VT and co-owns The Everything Space in Montpelier VT, which create somatic education opportunities as an integral part of social and environmental justice. Her favorite things to share these days are the somatics of digestion, natural fitness / primal practice, contemplative dance practice, and her trauma informed curriculum for yoga teachers at Middlebury College. Learn more about Abbi here: http://www.dharmadoor.com/abbi-jaffe.html. As a Vital Signs Guide, Abbi is interested to explore her ideas of what is possible within a community that is exploring its edges as well as getting outside every day to play, run, and sing with the trees in winter. As a Vital Signs guide, Abbi is honored to empower others in the projects they have brought while supporting the group to continually deepen in presence, compassion, possibility, and integration with a connection to activism.
Includes room, board, tuition (*US dollars). Meals are prepared by the group, with guidance from an incredible local restaurateur, Suzanne Podhaizer.
Whole vital week (first week or second week, Sunday @ 5pm – Sunday @ 3pm ) = $650
Vital weekend only (Friday @ 5pm – Sunday @ 3pm) = $200
Register, More info and Questions:
Vital Signs Values
The Vital Signs Guides value collaborative exploration, edgy inquiry, embodied activism, conscious communication, intimacy practices, radical self-care, playful disruption, community living, and addressing oppression with the search for equality and freedom. We look forward to sharing these with you!
What does ‘Edgy’ mean to us? Edgy is an alive place of exploring one’s edges. An edge may be where your comfort zone and desire to know more meet. At Vital Signs we welcome Edgy Inquiry. What are your edges?
Is your edge being in a community that expresses physical touch? As all of the guides are seeped in the practice of contact improvisation, there will be an undercurrent of touch in the community. With touch, comes all of the alive places in ourselves that are comfortable or uncomfortable with touch. Guides are skilled at teaching about consensual touch. Is your edge being more sensual with the world in general or to have more intimacy with nature and others? All of the guides have a practice of and comfort with sensuality. Is your edge exploring the potency of sexual energy, with or without sex?. Guides are skilled at navigating this terrain with a group. It is expected that people will have different comfort levels, and so there will be multiple activities offered when appropriate. The guides are there to check in with and work with you to support your personal edges and/or your desire to not engage your edges at a particular moment. It is our vision that there is potency in having people exploring their own personal edges, wherever their edge may be, within community, and that being in that environment can spark creativity for all of us.
How will the guides support participants? The guides, in collaboration with the participants desires, will offer one or more/simultaneous activities every morning, and most evenings. We have activities that we think will help get your creative juices flowing and/or support you to arrive more grounded in yourself each day. Activities might include embodied practices of clarifying your intentions, energy skills and self care, rituals, authentic movement, partner practices, a response process for feedback on projects, a nourishing food ritual, clowning, meditation, and embodied dialogue. We will also work with the participants that are attending to have them offer activities when the right mix of timing, skill set and desire to teach present themselves.
How much am I required to attend the activities versus working on my own project? Except for a few community meetings, you can opt in or out of activities and craft your own flow of engagement and integration with the support of the guides.
What if I am not interested in exploring a group activity that is being offered? Every day there will be opportunities to join in multiple activities either led by the guides or curated from the participants. If a guide is offering something that doesn’t interest you, the other guide might also be leading something else, and you could curate your own workshop or ask for what you would need for support. The guides are here to help facilitate your process.
How do the two weeks relate to one another? What if I can only come to one week? Each week stands alone in being a complete offering and also build upon each other. The guides for week two understand that some participants will have been there the first week and others will be arriving fresh for only the second week. Abbi and Solomon welcome the energy of the new people and the new week and will support the organic process of integrating the community.
Do I have to be a dancer or enjoy dancing to attend? This residency is open to a diverse range of folks, and it is being facilitated by guides seeped in the practice of contact improvisation dance and on land that has held many different embodied practices. Contact improv is a an awareness practice that invites the participant to notice their body and their relationship to gravity in each moment. Just walking or standing could be considered dance. You do not have to be a dancer though you may indeed be in a community that dances in each moment and enjoys movement and moving.
What is Embodiment Activism? During the second week, potentially the first week as well, we will explore embodiment activism and will create an action for the streets of Northampton.
Visit http://www.theeverythingspace.com/embodiment-activism.html for more ideas and information.
What does it mean to be a trauma informed residency? Humans are highly resilient and at times experience trauma. While your guides are not therapists, they understand the nature of trauma and will be monitoring the group at all times to create as safe a space as possible. The guides will also work with you to choose activities and projects that are right for you at any particular moment. Trauma informed space is not trigger free space. Trauma informed means understanding that triggers can come out of nowhere and might be important tools for growth. Trauma informed means having compassionate guides who care for your wellbeing and practice empathy and kindness without judgement. Trauma informed means that everyone is welcome to show up how they need to at any particular moment. If the residency is not the right place to be for you for any reason, trauma informed means supporting you to make a different choice of activity or location.