Jon Kedi Art

about me

I am a practitioner and teacher of movement and relational somatics. I have practiced a wide variety of formal styles of movement throughout my life, but I am most drawn to partnered movement arts based around spontaneous, non-competitive interaction. I have been teaching, organizing events, and leading groups for over twenty years.

My love of movement began as a child playing sports. I enjoyed informal, peer-coordinated play far more than the structured competitions organized by (and seemingly for) adults. In college, I engaged in a highly competitive team sport that emphasized the mind-body connection. This taught me many lessons that have served me throughout my movement career, including how to train diligently and overcome perceived limitations.

During this experimental period, I was also introduced to the world of house dance at underground raves, where I began learning how to express myself physically outside of the context of rules and objectives. A growing interest in Eastern spirituality brought me into the Japanese martial arts aikido and iaido, which became my primary practices for the next decade. My aikido teachers supported me through some powerful healing work, but eventually the structure of art proved to be too dogmatic and inflexible, and my own research about how to most effectively use the body led me in other directions.

On a personal recommendation, I sought out a Chinese teacher of taijiquan who turned out to be already doing much of what I was trying to do with aikido but at a far higher level than I had imagined possible. I trained with him for many years when he was in the US. I also discovered a small group practicing an authentic, traditional style of Brazilian capoeira. Capoeira blurs the line between dance and martial art. Several aspects of the art, including playing musical instruments and leading songs in a language I didn’t even speak, pushed me outside of my comfort zone. It opened me up to the possibility of a more artistically expressive way of moving, not alone as in house dance, but together with another person.

While I continued my training in these martial arts after leaving the aikido world, my primary movement practice shifted to an entirely different kind of movement art that would reshape my body and my life. While I was exploring stretching techniques to open the physical and energetic channels in the body, I encountered a very powerful system of yogic asana. I went to India to study it at the source, but after four trips there, a decade of daily practice, and many years of teaching in the US and internationally, I once again found myself constrained by the limitations of a rigid structure that had once supported my development but had begun to restrict it.

It was time to move on. I sought out entirely new avenues of movement. I took classes in multiple forms of social dance, eventually making my way into the lesser-known, and less structured, styles that most resonated with me. I learned to rock climb, which required different ways of thinking about body position, weight, and balance. And I went deeper into acroyoga, which I had first been introduced to in India years earlier.

At the same time, I wandered into a cluster of loosely connected communities that embrace and honor the erotic energies typically excluded from traditional movement practices. There I met people practicing the Japanese art of tying people with rope, often called shibari (“tying” in Japanese). I learned the standard ties, but I did them in unique ways that were influenced by my previous movement practices. As with martial arts and yoga previously, people soon began asking me to teach.

Together with some colleagues, I launched the first group in Chicago offering ongoing, structured education in tying. Our group pioneered several concepts almost unheard of in that community at the time but now widely copied in rope education and elsewhere, including establishing standards of professional conduct for instructors and event organizers and creating policies and procedures for receiving reports of and responding to incidents within the community. We also were one of the only groups in North America teaching a style of tying emphasizing interpersonal connection and communication through rope.

When this group collectively chose to disband during the pandemic, I used the break from teaching and organizing as an opportunity to focus on internal work and the cultivation of new somatic practices. While movement offers amazing potential for healing, the wounds resulting from the legacies of societal and generational trauma we all share are too deep to be held by any single formal movement practice. My current approach to practicing and teaching movement and somatics acknowledges this and foregrounds healing at the both the individual and community levels. I teach a limited number of classes and workshops each year in select contexts, including social dance (blues and/or fusion), rope, and interdisciplinary movement and connection. I also offer consulting and coaching for educators, organizers, and other space holders on how to foster healthier and more inclusive communities and events.

For more information on my teaching and coaching work, please contact me via email at jon @ kediart.com or on Instagram @jonkediart