Characteristics of a Jam Crush

Collaboratively created by certain members of the July 4th Earthdance Jam on July 5th, 2014, edited by Amy W. and Richard

A rarely-acknowledged but all-too-common phenomenon in the contact improvisation community is the Jam Crush. In the kitchen one night at the Earthdance July 4th Jam, a group of dedicated contact dancers dutifully assigned themselves the task of analyzing, weighing, sifting, and listing the characteristics of a Jam Crush. The results were at times humiliating, but utterly fascinating as well.

What is a Jam Crush? In brief, a Jam Crush occurs when you find yourself smitten by someone you have met at a multi-day contact improvisation jam. There is no single, reliable cure for a Jam Crush — but they are unlikely to cause you great harm, and are a normal and lovely, if occasionally pitiable, part of our contact improvisation community.

How do you know if you have a Jam Crush?

  1. You are acting goofy

  2. You are focusing on … this person, this Crush. And yet it’s unacknowledged by either of you.

  3. You inquire discreetly about their age or relationship status

  4. You suspect others may also have same Crush

  5. You worry your Crush doesn’t feel the same about you

  6. There may some inappropriateness to the Crush (e.g. too young, unavailable)

  7. You try to talk yourself out of this Crush

  8. You find yourself tracking your Crush through the dance space

  9. You’re tongue-tied around your Crush

  10. You involuntarily stare at them on the dance floor and then worry that they have noticed (and then look away)

  11. You eavesdrop on your Crush’s conversations and likewise, listen for their name in others’ conversations

  12. There is never an empty spot next to your Crush at meals

  13. Every time you try to talk to your Crush, someone else is hugging them

  14. You position yourself advantageously with respect to your Crush (on the dance floor and otherwise)

  15. You sit closer than you should but leave an awkward amount of space between you

  16. You want to sign up for a 1-on-1 but decide against it (too obvious)

  17. You go to a class you might not normally go to because your Crush is going

  18. You feel hopelessness after they leave the jam

  19. You ask “Are you going to dance camp?”

  20. You volunteer for extra chores or do a good deed in their presence

  21. When you receive anonymous touch you hope it’s your Crush

  22. You brush your teeth more than twice a day

  23. You look for opportunities to give them bodywork (and you don’t care if it’s unreciprocated)

  24. You tell yourself it’s impractical (e.g. distance, employment status, number of children, number of exes in the community, dietary status, height, is about to go to India)

  25. Dances with them are terrible due to any number of things (e.g. preoccupation, inferiority complex, erection, tremor, sweating)

  26. You struggle not to misinterpret moans and moments

  27. You attempt to establish your dance prowess in front of them (possibly by soloing extravagantly)

  28. You imagine coming to future jams with your mutual children in tow

  29. You will sustain uncomfortable body sensations just to be near them (full bladder, back hurting)

  30. Crush has a glow

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