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Steve is an excellent teacher: gentle, clear, sensitive, and with the ability to reach a diverse group. He’s a master of fluidity and has the gift of making participants feel safe as they take creative risks, in part because he takes great personal pleasure in stimulating their creativity. Above all, he is heartful and has the rare ability to not intrude himself into others’ creative process through a need for self-recognition.

--Jack Zimmerman, former
President, Ojai Foundation, Ca.


Steve is a deeply engaged, informed individual who has insight sufficient to encourage each individual’s own development. Again and again, I came away from the process motivated to continue my own course of study, my own commitments. What excites my interest in his work is how it derives from deep roots; an expression of his ongoing study of self. His great ability to communicate as teacher, artist, and human being comes into clear focus within his discipline.

-David Appelbaum, Former Editor, Parabola – Journal of Myth and Tradition


Just wanted to say a big "Thanks" again for the two creative sessions I had with you. They were the highlight of this year's Shambhala Institute experience for me.

-Mark Hollingsworth


Thank you for being so deeply committed to sharing true humanness with everyone you meet. It is an invaluable gift.

-Toni Gunziger, CEO SuperComputing Co., Zurich


Original performance, developed through improvisation, has been the foundation of my 35 years as a performer, director, and teacher. I studied improvisation with Barbara Dilley, one of the early members of Merce Cunningham’s company. At the same time, I studied writing and poetics with Allen Ginsberg, Diane DiPrima, Ted Berrigan and a host of New York and California writers gathered at The Naropa Institute.While performing improvised work, I met Meredith Monk and became a member of her company for 12 years, performing and teaching in the U.S. and Europe. At the same time I joined Ping Chong’s Fiji Company, also performing and teaching in Europe and the U.S. From 1977 on, I’ve created my own work, using physical theater as a base for introducing text, film, and characters. Collaborations include musicians Jerry Granelli, Steve Gorn, and Jay Clayton; actors/dancers Lanny Harrison, Arawana Hayashi, Brenda Bufalino, Wendell Beavers.

In theater and storytelling workshops, I begin with sound and movement exercises aimed at accessing each person’s storehouse of imagination. Movement and sound call up memory in surprising, often provocative ways, that cannot be “thought out.” The exercises allow images, feelings, and their expression to arise in the context of mind-body relationship. From that place, we can more fully enter the world of embodied memory and expression, and begin to tell our stories.

I’ve been a student of meditation for the past 40 years, mainly in the Tibetan Buddhist and Shambhala traditions. As a member of the Shambhala community and the formative Naropa University community, my practice has included formal training in the Vajrayana path of Tibetan tradition, in the Shambhala teachings and practices associated with it, and in the traditional arts and contemplative arts practices, particularly contemplative movement, T’ai Chi, theater and writing. I’ve been trained as a meditation instructor, as a director of Shambhala Training, and as a contemplative arts practice director. In teaching arts based courses and workshops since 1973, I’ve incorporated a contemplative approach, often including sitting and walking meditation practice and drawing on my studies in T’ai Chi and 'dharma art' principles on perception and mindfulness-awareness. Through the forms of improvisation and 'deep play' I’ve been able to present techniques that draw people closer to their creative strengths and awaken their healthy resistances.

All of my adult life I’ve been engaged in teaching and much of it engaged in performance. In addition to years on the faculty at the State University of New Paltz, Naropa University, Amsterdam Theater school, Dance Therapy Institute of Switzerland, and Remshied Akademie of Germany, I’ve been an artist-in residence in public schools in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Working with teachers and children, I’ve observed the growth in self-confidence that both groups experience through physical theater improvisation, and how the work creates a level playing ground for students of diverse backgrounds and intelligences. This supports my deep interest in contemplative education and engagement with peers whose interest and training parallels this experience.