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Steve Clorfeine

writer, director, teacher, performer

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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.

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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
2007 -09 See Trainings  
2000-06 Faculty, Dance Therapy Institute, Switzerland  
  Trainer, creative process workshops, Super-Computing Co., Zurich, Switzerland (ongoing)  
  Trainer, theater workshops for teachers and students in art high schools, Cologne, Germany (ongoing)  
  Created and performed “While I Was Dancing,” NYS  
  Faculty, Creative Process, Shambhala Institute Authentic Leadership Conferences, Halifax, Canada  
  Trainer, Creative Process, Unicon Mgmt. & Consultants and Really Good Consultants, Singapore  
  Guest artist, American Center, New Delhi, India; Aarahon/Gurukul Theater, Nepal  
  Co-founder, Sky Lake Lodge, Shambhala contemplative center, Rosendale, NY  
  Director, International Shambhala Arts Council  
  Publication of “In The Valley of the Gods,” Station Hill Press, non-fiction  
  Publication of “Kathmandu Journal” and “Annapurna” 2 CD set (with musician Steve Gorn)     
  Publication of “Field Road Sky” collection of poems, Codhill Press  
1996-99 Consultant, Touchstone Center workshops on Imaginative Understanding  
  Consultant, Mid-Hudson Teachers Center, New Paltz  
  Created and performed “Part Of My History”; “Tales From The Road” (with musician Steve Gorn); co-created the ensemble performance “Places Between Heaven and Earth”  
  Performed in Samuel Beckett’s duet, “Act Without Words, Part II”  
  Silver Bay Writers’ Association, Writer-in-Residence  
  Featured reader in bookstores and libraries in NYS  
  Featured performer in Jenn Ben-Yakov’s “Metropolitan (Life) Insurance,”  Westbeth, NYC  
  Publication of “Beginning Again,” collection of poems, The Advocate Press  
  Book and video reviews for Parabola, Journal of Myth and Tradition  
  3 month Buddhist Seminary meditation retreat in Bedford Springs, Pa.  
1992-95 Theater residency work for Utah Arts Council  
  Los Angeles, Ca. Public Library, artist-in-residence  
  Tours of “Sense and Nonsense,” NY, Conn., Colorado, Oregon, California  
  Faculty, Amsterdam Theaterschool (S.N.D.O.), Holland  
  Co-Director Naropa Institute Study Abroad Program, Nepal  
  Grants from NYS Council on the Arts; grants from Poets and Writers (ongoing)  
  Created and performed “Current Memories,” NYC, NYS, Colorado, California  
  Adjunct faculty, State University of NY, New Paltz, Philosophy Dept. (courses on Creative Process)  
  Featured performer in Dan Conroy’s “Quack,” Colorado  
1987-91 Created “Disappeared” and “Sense and Nonsense” (w/Lanny Harrison) for Warren St. Performance Loft  
  “Sense and Nonsense” residency in Berlin, Germany and Amsterdam, Holland; tours in Holland, Germany, Colorado, NYC, and throughout NY State  
  Acting Director Theater Dept., Naropa Institute, (1989-’91)  
  Director Summer Program Dance and Theater, Naropa Institute (1991-’94)  
  Began artist-in-residence work in NYC and NYS public schools (ongoing); Nat’l Endowment for the Humanities Artists’ and Scholars residencies, Westchester, NY high schools  
  Guest faculty, Laura Simms’ Storytelling Residency;
Guest Faculty, Ojai Foundation, Ca.
  Began theater teaching tours in Europe (ongoing)  
  Began teaching Shambhala Training programs (ongoing)  
  Workshops at Omega Institute; NY Open Center  
1982-86 Created “From The Dreamworld of Men” for Riverside Dance Festival, NYC;  created “Port of Entry” for Creative Time/Art on the Beach, NYC  
  Received NY Foundation for the Arts Fellowship  
  Conceived and directed Naropa East, an arts affiliate, NYC  
  Art director & performer in Meredith Monk’s film “Ellis Island"  
  “Rainer and the Knife” with Ping Chong at The Kitchen  
  Movement coach for Jean-Claude Van Itallie's “Tibetan Book of the Dead,” LaMama, NYC  
  Re-constructed costumes and performances for “Quarry” at BAM, NYC, Kennedy Center, Washington DC and Walker Arts Center, Mpls.  
  OBIE award for “Quarry” company  
  Artistic Director, Blue Serge Productions, a theater non-profit organization (ongoing)  
  Began studies with Ada Brown Mather in classical theater  
1979-81 First solo performances, “Blue Serge Suite,”  St.Mark’s Church, NYC; Naropa Summer Institute; Warren St. Performance Loft  
  Toured “Fear and Loathing in Gotham” with Ping Chong/Fiji Co. in World Theatre Festival, France & Italy;  at Guggenheim Museum & Dance Theater Workshop, NYC; WPA Washington, D.C.; Walker Arts Center, Mpls; Moming Arts Center, Chicago  
  Month long meditation retreat at Karme-Choling, Vermont  
  Completed Shambhala Training 2 year program  
1976-78 Spring semester teaching at Naropa Institute year round program and Summer Institute  
  Created ensemble performance, “The Song of the Morrow”  
  Toured with Meredith Monk in “Chacon,” Holland and France  
  Began teaching at Movement Research, NYC  
  Continued performing with Barbara Dilley (through 1984)  
  Guest artist with The Illusion Theater Company of Minneapolis; 3 month residency and central and western U.S. tour  
  Faculty, Naropa Summer Institute  
  Began teaching theater workshops, NYC and New Paltz, NY (ongoing)  
1975-76 Joined Meredith Monk’s company, The House; performed in “QUARRY” at LaMama Annex, NYC; toured “QUARRY” at Biennale Festival, Italy  
  Continued performing with Barbara Dilley  
  Began teaching improvisation at The Naropa Summer Institute  
1974-75 Inaugural performance at The Kitchen, NYC & Mandala Festival, Boston as a member of Barbara Dilley and Dancers  
  Began studies in T’ai Chi Ch’uan and in ballet and modern dance  
1973-74 Director of Experimental Studies Dept. at the State University of NY/New Paltz. Produced The Ethnic Music and Dance Program, with 7 courses/semester; a bi-annual festival and performances.  

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© Steve Clorfeine 2023