K.J. Holmes is an independent dance artist, singer, poet, actor and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York. Her training began as a child with ballet and musical theater as well as judo and fencing. This blend of approaches is a basis for her consistent expression and art making. Her dance studies at the New School for Social Research and with Andre Bernard (1979 -81) led her to improvisation and new dance techniques that were being explored at that time. K.J. has helped to define, first as a student and now as a teacher and performer, many contemporary improvisational and somatic practices, collaborating with forerunners Simone Forti, Lisa Nelson and Image Lab, and Steve Paxton. She continues to push into new frontiers of dance and theater with her love of research and experience. Her dance/theater pieces have been presented in NYC at the Chocolate Factory Theater, Danspace Project, The Kitchen, P.S. 122, Movement Research at the Judson Church, D.T.W., Dixon Place, University Settlement, Warren Street Performance Loft, The Present Company, The Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, the Joyce Soho and the Vision Jazz Festival, as well as nationally and internationally.
K.J. attended the certificate program of The School for Body-Mind Centering with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (1995-1999); is a graduate of Satya Yoga, studying with yogi Sondra Loring (2007), the 2 year Sanford Meisner acting training at the Esper Studio NYC studying with master teacher Terry Knickerbocker (2009), and has an Ayurvedic certification training under the mentorship of Dr. Naina Marballi. The play between these studies is essential to her current practices.
As a sought after teacher of contact/improvisations and somatic approaches to dance, theater and voice, Holmes is adjunct faculty at NYU/ Experimental Theatre Wing since 2001, has been teaching through Movement Research since 1986, and currently with the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought. K.J. has been a guest teaching performing artist at many academic institutions including Sarah Lawrence University, the Juilliard School, Bennington, Yale, Princeton and Roger Williams University. She has a private practice in Dynamic Alignment and Re-integration offering movement tutoring and coaching, and yoga/ayurvedic sessions.
K.J. travels throughout the world teaching and performing at universities, festivals and venues that range from theaters to site specific locations to living rooms. Her commitment to the collaboration between dance and other arts continues to inform her work, performing alongside many brilliant musicians, vocalists and poets such as trumpeters Roy Campbell, Jr., Baikida Carroll and Dave Douglas; singer Lisa Sokolov; dancers Karen Nelson, Karinne Keithley Syers and Jon Kinzel; poet Julie Carr, and in the work of artists including Ann Bogart, Ann Carlson, Allyson Green, Meg Stuart, Randy Warshaw and Cathy Weis.
K.J. has more recently danced with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, in The Works of Steve Paxton at Dia:Beacon and in Xavier Le Roy’s Retrospective at PS1:MoMA, as well as in the works of Mark Dendy (Ritual Cyclical, Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2013),Donna Uchizono (Short Tahitian Temper, NYLA 2013), Lance Gries (The 50’s Project video; Immanent Field, Danspace Project, 2014), Melinda Ring (The Landscape, The Kitchen Gallery, 2014), Emily Johnson CATALYST (NYLA 2015), and William Parker, bassist (Trail of Tears, Roulette, 2019). She was a founding member of the Veterans Project under the direction of Fay Simpson, and was a 2012-14 Movement Research Artist in Residence where she began developing her dance theater piece HIC SVNT DRACONES (HSD).
In 2017, K.J. was cast in artist/filmmaker Matthew Barney’s film Redoubt, videos The Quest for Joy by Cristiane Bouger, The Casting Call Project by Jenna Ciralli Galli, Bitch’s new music video It’s a New Year.
K.J. was the co-curator of the MR Fall Festival -Devotion/Rigor/Sustainability (2011), the Improvisation is Hard Festival (2004), the Studies Project (1983-85), Measuring K – 3 evenings of solos and duets plus 24 hour marathon improvisation (Culture Project, 2004). K.J. was a panelist in Studies Project:Overlapping Circles (Improvisation, Contact Improvisation, Performance, Practice, Human Collaboration through Movement Research and the New Museum (2013) and in Conversation without Walls- Choreography under the Influence at Danspace Project (2011). She has read/performed her poetry at The Stone, Dixon Place and the Knitting Factory and has been published in Contact Quarterly, Movement Research Performance Journal, Dance Spirit, Dance Magazine, on line in I, Theatrics, and co-curated an evening of Dance and Poetry at Harvard University.
Throughout 2018, K.J. devised a solo dance installation entitled Here This Wreckage Salvage (Never) Untitled Sea, quoting images from several of her past works, that has been performed at Sundays on Broadways (NYC), El Sabado Theatre (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Salon Blanco/National Museum of Fine Arts (Santiago, Chile) and Counterpath (Denver, Colorado). She continues to collaborate with drummer Jeremy Carlstedt performing their duet L.I.P. at jazz festivals and dance venues throughout the northeast.
Prior to the pandemic, K.J. was leading monthly public happenings at the MoMA (NYC), Art as Physical Practice and worked closely with dancer Simone Forti to re-create her Dance Constructions there as well as hold public practices in Forti’s improvisation scores.
September 2021, K.J. choreographed and performed in Catasterism in 3 Movements, directed by artist/filmmaker Matthew Barney, as part of Art Basel at the Schaulager. These performances returned her to the role of Electroplater/Alchemist she portrayed in Barney’s film Redoubt, and has spurred her on to not only returning to her work as it was pre-pandemic, but to approach it with depth, heart and gratitude.
K.J. brings this approach to re-entering the creating of her piece 900 Bees are Humming she began in 2019 that was paused during the pandemic. 900 Bees are Humming is an in depth research and performance project exploring interiors of humans and their relationship to landscape, wilderness, minds and environment. K.J. is committed to creating this work as an attempt to find solace, artistic expression and sustainable life practices regarding climate change and the challenging political world. She believes her teaching is not separate from her art making, and brings all her practices together in an alchemy of experiential life and living.