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It seems I’ve found a solution to a long-standing personal dilemma. I’ve long been a student of international culture, music, ecological & green construction / architecture, sculpture, and finally expressive dance and movement. It seems that, after about a year conducting a deliberate and focused search for a place to engage these multifarious interests and avocations, I have found a place in which to live and work on all of it, giving my work expression and paying forward the profound learnings I have undertaken.
Together with my collaborator in life, conscious movement and dance, Nadine, we conducted several relocation forays, and come up with what follows.
Our criteria and impetus in finding a place:
Space to teach and produce dance work and yoga.
Home office space (My day job is as an IT professional for a somatic educator and a few other clients, thus needing a home office),
A location for hosting some part of future dance and yoga retreats.
Potential for off-grid or eco-construction (passive/active solar, greywater recycling, etc)
Natural setting. (meaning IN nature, not an urban environment)
Affordable (we’re committed non-tech creatives, meaning we have, by Bay Area standards, modest incomes)
We had a lot of nice-to-have’s in our list, but these were the main criteria that a place would have to have to make it a worthwhile commitment, that would justify the move and the expense.
We had been searching for a while in the Southwest, Eastern California, (my original home turf), Southern Italy, and contemplated the Southeast (where we were going to go next).
At the end of the summer, we took a trip to Taos, New Mexico to see the homes made by a company called Earthship Biotecture, as I had been interested in these amazing eco-homes for years, and found several for sale in the Taos subdivision called Greater World, where approximately 80 such homes have been built since the early 1990’s. There, we found our place.
The way these home have been designed, they function without conventional heating or cooling systems, no power or gas lines from the utility companies, and they collect water into a cistern from rain and snowfall on the roof, thus, no wells. Water used in the home is recycled three times, first as washing and cooking water, then as greywater, for irrigating indoor planters and flushing toilets, and then outside irrigation. They stay warm in winter and cool in summer by means of massive amounts of rammed earth as thermal storage on the north side of the structure. Sloped, south-facing windows permit passive solar heating and night time cooling. Quite amazing.
The house we have been qualified for and the seller accepted our offer on, has an excellent juxtaposition in the community, in a cul-de-sac, right on the boundary of neighboring BLM land, and has a large, flat, walled yard space on which we forsee dance and movement work happening during yoga and dance workshops and retreats we have planned. It’s also about a 10-minute drive from a world-class 2,000 square foot dance studio, which we’re cleared to rent as part of our offerings.
Because this home/studio was available now, we couldn’t see any reason to wait. Our current housing situation is changing in ways that we aren’t happy with, and it feels like time to go to a different place to further our goals. Earthlab 33 fits our criteria.
It’s a big move and a big commitment. We believe what is going on in our own lives and in the world brought this change into view for us, and beckons us forward.
Because this building is situated in the largest development of this sort in the world, we envision also sharing the fundamental properties of this community with friends and guests who come to visit from all over the world. It’s my and Nadine’s prerogative to commit to climate change remediation and preparedness by demonstrating that we can live with a small footprint, in a conservation-minded way, in a house that uses the sun and the wind and rain to provide for basic needs, while also using the place for healing and creative work.
We hope that you will help us achieve this goal by donating to the cause, and we hope to see you in Taos!
A message from Nadine:
I’ve worked for years on how to create an environment of learning and healing through dance and expressive movement. From studying dance therapy in college, to continued creation in dance over the past 20 years, I’ve been devoted to dance as a vehicle for expression and growth in awareness. My life mission is to create a safe space where we can come together, to work in a creative and mindful way towards health and healing. The healing and calming environment of Taos seems a beautiful fit for this offering. I would like to see this move grow eventually into a full school for creative healing so this is just one step in that direction.
Thank you all for your great support along this journey so far.
MovementLab’s Mission Statement
1. Creative expression
2. Connection (spiritual awakening)
3. Health and Healing
MovementLab offers education and exploration in the creative arts (primarily dance/movement, yoga, meditation, drawing, writing, and sustainable architecture) in the effort of supporting a mindful artistic approach to daily interaction with self, others and environment. The EarthLab environment offers communion with nature, quiet introspection, and interaction with sustainable eco-living. Accessible to all bodies, the Lab facilitators offer guidance to promote health and healing through somatic education, intuitive listening, play, and meditation in motion and stillness. Community service supports the Lab participants and space through cooking, cleaning and possibly construction, as well as offering services to the larger community and environment that encompass EarthLab’s safe container. Each Lab culminates in a performance and community movement event to share our work and to expand the communal interest in a life of creative expression.