Interview with Karyn Gartner, Open Floor Teacher and Working Member

Reviewed By: OFI

My Review:

Recently we interviewed Karyn Gartner, Open Floor Teacher and Working Member. Karyn has spearheaded the Explore and Share section of the Open Floor Website. She also serves on the Curriculum Circle.

Recommended by:

Open Floor International

Author: Karyn Gartner

Language availability: English


What is the track that gets me moving every time?

I wouldn’t say I have a favorite track as I can move to anything when I chose to drop-in. I did grow up in the world of Rock & Roll and Broadway soundtracks, an odd combination I know, so I am historically attuned to that. However, after all the years of moving and hearing music from teachers from all over the world, I have learned to love it all.

The book I wish I’d written

I wish I had written my own book.  One that through my stories, may help someone not feel alone, to see you need not be stunted by your negative life experiences and that you can rise above them through healing paths and support.

The video/film I love watching

I love the movie Bell, Book and Candle.  I could watch it over and over and have. I see many of my interests or maybe the beginning of my influences – the supernatural – cats – cool pants – being barefoot – writers – wackiness – clubs and the belief in happy endings.  From the Open Floor Explore and Share I am really interested in watching The Dance of Reality – A Psychomagical Autobiography by Alejandro Jodorowsky – hopefully this summer I will find the time!

The teacher I keep learning with

There is not one, as I try to learn from everyone I meet. I have been very connected to Andrea Juhan at this point in my life as I’ve been working with her and so of course her thoughts and ideas are up front for me now. But I consider Kathy Altman, Claire Alexander, Christine Havens, and Margaret Wagner good friends and therefore learn from them often. Lori Saltzman too when I actually get time with her. Also, being the Secretary for the Curriculum Circle, I am continually learning from the wonderful members of that circle.

Although Gabrielle Roth is no longer with us, I am continually learning from the teachings I received from her, a major teacher in my life and someone I was privileged to call a friend.  I have been blessed to have and had so many great teachers touch my life.

The focus/theme of my next class/group/workshop

In January of this year, I started a class on the first Thursday of the month. The first two months were on the 4×4 and the Movement Cycle. The following months I will go through the 10 Movement Resources.  The following Thursdays, I bring in the theme of the first of the month class as we move through the Meditation Cycle.


My top recommendation(s) from the Open Floor Library – Explore and Share

This is a difficult  question for someone who likes to read and finds it pretty hard not to like any book. As the Operation Lead of the Resource Library Circle, I know that there are so many books that are still to be added that are amazing and informative for our teachers and anyone interested in embodiment. Since I haven’t read everything in the Library, it would be unfair to put one above the other.  So, instead I’ll put it this way, I have read and enjoyed –

Bird by Bird by Annie Lamont –

In an Unspoken Voice – Peter Levine –

Maps to Ecstasy – Gabrielle Roth – Coming to the Open Floor Library soon!

The Artists Way – Julia Cameron –

The Tao of Leadership – John Heiden –

When Past Is Present – David Richo –


The Core Movement Resource I use the most off the dance floor (at the moment).

I think the one I’m using the most right now is Pause, giving myself a chance to catch up with myself after some stressful years. The one that has helped me the most through those stressful years, however, was Center.

One way my Open Floor Movement Practice has impacted my relationships

Well, finding my own center has helped me to not be taken over by family dramas and to be clearer in my intimate relationships, especially when to go towards and when to go away. It has also helped me to be a better teacher in how I show up, hold the space, articulate my instructions, and handle emotions on the dance floor. I’m still working on how to understand and handle projection, how to maneuver the different types of relationships I have with students and really stepping into the leadership role.

My advice to someone who’s going to their first Open Floor class, what I wish someone had told me…

Be open to the teachings, even if you don’t quite understand it at first.  Over time, they will settle in and they will change your life.

I dance the way I…..

am moved whether that is physically, emotionally, cognitively or relationally.  And that dance may be internal or external.

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