Between Dreams

September 1st – 7th | Hillsboro, WV

Joyful Change and Colorful Connection with Jef Johnson at the beautiful site of Gesundheit Institute in Hillsboro, West Virginia. After the success of Fields of Play earlier this year, Jef Johnson is very excited to return to Gesundheit! Institute with a new group residency experience. Register Now

The Experience

“Between Dreams is a celebration of the liminal space between the dreams of our deepest imagination and those we aspire to experience in our everyday lives. As seasons change, we experience a renewed sense of desire for positive growth. Embracing change with joyfulness and discovering new vibrant, colorful connections is key to resurrecting the lost sense of wonder and possibility we once held so dearly in our heart and imagination. 

Together, we are reminded of the powerful potential of our collective experiences and shared joy to infect the world with laughter and healing energy. When we focus our hearts and play toward this collective goal, we also experience a deep sense of healing from the anxiety which can result from the sense of not knowing what may come of changes in our lives.” — Jef Johnson 

Before the Fall 

September represents transition and renewal. As the natural landscape prepares for its turn to autumn, we shall also take inspiration from the trees, the ground, the sky, and the life that surrounds us. 

Together We Understand Ourselves 

We are at our best when we recognize ourselves in our shared and collective experience. 

Building Comfort and Care 

In the continued spirit of G esundheit! Institute and Jef Johnson‘s own pedagogical praxis, the wider focus is on the crafting and development of the practice of caring and comfort based connection. 

Borrowing from decades of experience as clown, performer, care based communicator and workshop facilitator, Jef Johnson will guide participants through a series of games, workshop exercises, group dynamics, personal conversation and physical challenges inspired and designed to unlock deep seeded creative impulses, expand playfulness, and help relax the trap of overthinking and self judgment. 

Key to this work is uncovering the space of comfort and care, where the shared human experience reveals our sincere and heartfelt connections to one another. In this space, where

our dreams become realities, we deeply understand the joy of our silliest impulses and most ridiculous imaginings. 

The Big Play 

Learning to let go and have fun is the key to enjoyment not only in clowning but in life. Come—join us and rediscover the magic you remember when playing was everything. It is always possible to find playful enjoyment in every aspect of daily life, even the most tragic and difficult of circumstances present the opportunity to play. We welcome you to come play with us. 



Who is offering this?

Facilitators and presenters include:  

Jef Johnson

Performer, Director, Humanitarian and Pedagogue, Jef Johnson is considered a leader in the field of performance practice and contemporary clown. His research and practice are based in empathy, naive experience, creative consciousness, “the emerging game,” patterned behavior and social identity. A principal artist (2005-2009) in the company of Slava’s Snowshow, (Off 

Broadway, Broadway and International Tours). Jef has also worked with Cirque du Soleil as clown animator, special artistic consultant and workshop director. Founding director of Jef Johnson’s Clown Lab in New York City, master faculty member at Nouveau Clown Institute in Barcelona, Spain. He has also served as member of the organizing faculty of Évora International Clown School, Évora, Portugal, Director of Faculty for l’Auguste Rendez-Vous and Auguste Studio, Montreal, and he is a contributor to Über den Clown, along with Dimitri, Popov, Leo Bassi, Gardi Hutter, Pierre Byland. His pedagogy is featured in Pedagogía Teatral y Expresión de la Intimidad, by Irlanda Paredes Hernandez. Jef has conducted over 500 master classes and workshops worldwide. His work has been commissioned by many universities and companies, including: Cirque du Soleil, Slava’s Snowshow, Camp Broadway, The Texas Renaissance Festival, National College of Art and Design (Ireland) Scuola di Teatro Dimitri (Switzerland), Atelier Teatro Fisico Philip Radice (Italy), American Circus (Chile), KICS International School in Khartoum (Sudan), International Theater Festival for Youth (Egypt), University of Salford (England), International Clown School at Pim Theater (Portugal). In USA: University of Arkansas, University of Houston, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Wesleyan University, New York University, CUNY, SUNY, and in Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART), Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM), TEC Monterrey, Universidad de Quintana Roo (UQROO), Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro (UAQ), Universidad de Guadalajara (UDG), among others. His workshops have been supported by grants from the embassies of the USA and Spain, and many national and state departments of cultural interests. His works include: SENTIDO, OPEN SPACE, AZAR, SOGNO AL SILENZIO DEL PIANO, SOGNO A LUME DI CANDELA, SÓTÃO, MANANTIAL, WHITE NOISE, O-RÀN-GÉ, ANDA Y ONDA (with Diana Gadish Bonas), SENCILLO, PINCHE SHOW.

More info about Jef’s work


Who is invited?

You are! No prior background is required, just concern for the welfare of others and willingness to try things out. Recommended for: Humanitarian Clowns, Clown Performers, Actors, Dancers, Artists, Educators, Writers, Photographers, Healers, The Curious and everyone who seeks to better understand the healing force of connection and compassion. 


LANGUAGES: English, with the possibility of Spanish translation. 



General Information

Enrollment & Price |

Early-Bird (Ends Aug 1) // $950 (one-time payment/early registration) 

Standard // $1100 

  • $500 non-refundable deposit due by August 15th, 2024 
  • $600 balance due by August 24th, 2024 

Patron // $1500+ Pay what you wish. 

  • Support programming at the Gesundheit Institute by paying extra. You name your price, starting at $1500. 

Includes | 

  • Transportation from and to the local airport (LWB) 
  • Accommodation/Lodging 
  • 3 Meals each day 
  • Scheduled Workshop Sessions and other activities. 
  • 5 days of combined in-studio and outdoors workshop 
  • free time each day for personal choice activities 

Early Bird Price | $950. Price increases to $1100 after August 1st. This covers tuition, room, board and transportation pick up & return. Scholarships are not available. Be Prepared to pay your $200 deposit to confirm your participation

Where? | The program takes place on the Gesundheit Institute’s 320 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with mountain trails, waterfalls, extensive gardens, and a lake. Gesundheit’s project-in-progress is a  unique model of holistic health care that will serve as an inspiration for us to coax each other to dream big—in our personal lives, in our community involvement, and in our contributions to global peace and justice

Facilities | Gesundheit lays on a pristine tract of farm and mountain land in rural West Virginia. The dacha, with its onion domes and Russian architecture, serves as a residence and meeting place, and has won awards for its unique design. PHOTO 5

Meeting Spaces | Gesundheit Institute offers many unique meeting spaces and classrooms. There are quiet spaces for meditation or study and large rooms to house workshops and classes. Gesundheit hosts events focused on education—at the site of the future hospital and elsewhere.

Accommodations | Accommodation are in dormitory-style group settings. There are laundry machines at Gesundheit that you can use. We offer very slow WIFI (cannot download, cannot use skype, sorry!). Clean sheets and towels are provided.

Travel | Please meet us in West Virginia and arrive by the early evening of September 1st. You can plan to leave Gesundheit on Sunday, September 7th. We will only be providing breakfast on September 7th.

Gesundheit staff will shuttle people to and from the train station in White Sulphur Springs and the airport in Lewisburg on Sunday, September 1st and Sunday, September 7th only.


How Do I Apply?

2024 REGISTRATION is OPEN! Space for this course is limited. We register participants on a first come first serve basis and Gesundheit! courses are known to fill up quickly. If you would like to participate as a clown, here’s how:

Registration consists of 2 parts.

  1. Registration form: Please take a moment to fill out the registration form and make your payment by Credit Card or Bank Transfer. We are only accepting 20 participants and we suggest you submit your application as soon as possible to guarantee your spot. Be prepared to pay at least your $200 deposit to confirm your participation.
  2. Please Send your Final Payment by Match 1st to confirm your participation to workshops in April. Scholarships are not available.

Questions ?

Please Contact: Matthew Fielder at


Patch Adams MD & Gesundheit Institute, P.O. Box 307, Urbana, IL 61803

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