CI events, Fall 2014

It’s an exciting time to be a contact improvisation dancer in Northeastern North America. Lots and lots of workshops, classes, jams, and new initiatives are going on. Here’s a tour of some (but I’m sure not all) of them. As always, I’m focused on New York City, but those of you in other places nearby may find this helpful as well.

  1. Monday mornings, New York City: Tim O’Donnell continues teaching his Monday morning drop-in classes at 100 Grand Dance, starting September 8. In my opinion, Tim is one of the best of the younger generation of CI teachers, and we’re lucky to have him in New York. See my Contact Improvisation in New York City page for more details.
  2. Monday evenings, New York City: Jesse Johnson is teaching two multi-week CI workshop series at 25 First Avenue, 2nd floor. I think Jesse is a particularly good teacher for those new to contact improvisation — she’s tremendously patient, supportive, charismatic, and thoughtful. Her first workshop series titled, “Let It Roll” runs September 15, 22, and 27; her second workshop series titled “Falling to Fly” runs five Mondays, October 20 to November 17. More info on Jesse’s blog.
  3. Wednesdays in September, New York City: I’m assisting Elise Knudson in facilitating a four-week lab titled “soloing in duets and trios::a lab in maintaining multiple awarenesses.” It goes from 7pm to 10pm starting September 3 at 100 Grand Dance (2nd floor, buzzer B), and is $20 for the four weeks. It should be a good group, I think, and worth exploring.
  4. Thursday, September 18 to Sunday, September 21, Earthdance: Kirstie Simson workshop.
  5. Friday, October 10 to Sunday, October 12, Boston: Fall Jam in Boston, with Chris Aiken teaching.
  6. Wednesday, October 15 to Sunday, October 19, West Virginia: East Coast Jam.
  7. Thursday, October 23 to Sunday, October 26, Earthdance: The Earthdance Falling Leaves Jam, hosted by Alicia Grayson and Jeff Bliss. New this year, Earthdance is offering a Diversity Scholarship to the jam.
  8. Monday, November 3 to Friday, November 7, Montreal: Montreal’s annual CI festival, which offers five days of classes immediately preceding…
  9. Saturday, November 8 to Sunday, November 9, Montreal: The Montreal annual jam. Happily, this year it’s been moved up from the end of November/beginning of December, removing conflicts with U.S. Thanksgiving and hopefully making things a little warmer as well. One of my favorite jams — good space, fun, physically active dancers, in a city that seems very wondrously exotic to us Americans. Yes, it’s a little shorter than many jams at only two days. Is it worth it to come just for some 16 hours of dancing? Yes it is.

And that takes us through early November. Whew, not bad! There are some additional rumors on workshops in November that haven’t been confirmed, but I’ll post when I know more.

Lab recap (3/4): NYC CI Lab, Wed., 2014/07/23, at 100 Grand Dance, New York, NY

This is a recap and summary of conclusions from the third of four sessions of the July 2014 dance lab at 100 Grand Dance, which I am facilitating this month.

What we did

We investigated two topics: (1) ways of intercepting handstands (beyond what we did last week) and (2) offering and accepting (or rejecting) increases in speed. We also briefly explored ways of increasing speed in more open dancing, in duos and trios. Read More »

Lab recap (2/4): NYC CI Lab, Wed., 2014/07/16, at 100 Grand Dance, New York, NY

This is a recap and summary of conclusions from the second of four sessions of the July 2014 dance lab at 100 Grand Dance, which I am facilitating this month.

What we did

Our focus was on investigating what we might learn by doing various movements faster and slower. I prepared a warm-up, followed by investigation on two topics: jumping on to someone in table and speeding up rolling point. Read More »

Lab recap (1/4): NYC CI Lab, Wed., 2014/07/09, at 100 Grand Dance, New York, NY

This is a recap and summary of conclusions from the first of four sessions of the July 2014 dance lab at 100 Grand Dance, which I am facilitating this month.

What we did

July NYC CI lab: Velocity [starting W, 7/9]

This July, I’ll be facilitating the New York City Wednesday night dance lab at Bill Young’s Studio (100 Grand St.). July’s lab will focus on contact improvisation and VELOCITY on four Wednesday nights from July 9 to July 30, from 7pm to 9:30pm. You’re invited to attend.

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Here are the details: Read More »

Can you give me some guidelines/suggestions for playing music at jams?

Music can be an incredibly powerful force in a contact improvisation jam. At worst it can be distracting, or even dangerous. Music can affect your relationship to your partner and detract from physical awarenesses that keep you alert and safe. On the other hand, music can have incredible power to affect and shape a jam, sometimes leading to particularly unified or transcendent experiences.

I’ve been playing music for contact jams for a long time, since about 2003. Months ago, Paul Spielman in Boston asked me to write up my thoughts on the subject. It has been much harder than I thought. Read More »

June 2014: what’s going on

A quick list of special contact improvisation events coming up in New York and surrounding areas in June:

Looking ahead, Spring 2014

If you live in the Northeastern part of the United States, there’s a flood of contact improvisation events coming up New York and other areas in the next few months. Here’s a list to help you sort through it all. In chronological order, with apologies for the New York City bias: Read More »

Contact improvisation New Year’s wishes

I have some wishes for contact improvisation for 2014:

  1. That this is a year where CI as a group thinks more about “In” and “Out.” I’d like to see the CI community do some extra reflection this year about how we include and exclude people from CI — from dances, from social interactions, from community, from being accepted. Inclusivity and open-mindedness are arguably part of contact improvisation’s founding philosophies and culture. I think we have a special obligation to be sensitive to these issues and to be rigorously self-critical of our roles around them. Yes, part of this means occasionally dancing with people you might not ordinarily dance with. Read More »

Unicorns, or why this picture moves me

I find this picture, recently posted to the Contact Quarterly Newsletter, surprisingly moving. The reason, I think, is that it’s like seeing a unicorn.

Glass half-full: I never see two people of color doing contact together! Glass half-empty: I never see two people of color doing contact together.

It is┬árare, and beautiful, and mythical. It is something that you never thought you would actually see. Read More »