I don’t actually recommend that beginners read these writings. I think they will be at best confusing, and at worst, unnecessarily influence or constrain a beginner’s sense of the form. I mean, it’s not like they’ll kill a beginner — they’re just sort of a waste of time for someone without more experience. Better to spend your time rolling around on the floor, maybe doing some crescent rolls. But for the intermediate or advanced dancer, these are useful reference points from well-established teachers1 and facilitators presenting different, important views on contact improvisation.
- Conversation with Alito Alessi, Ray Chung, K.J. Holmes, Daniel Lepkoff, Karen Nelson, Steve Paxton, Scott Smith, and Nancy Stark Smith by Kristin Horrigan, Reflections at the 25th Anniversary of the Breitenbush Jam
- Karl Frost,2 Fundamentals of Contact Improvisation
- Keith Hennessy, The Experiment Called Contact Improvisation
- Martin Keogh, 101 Ways to Say No to Contact Improvisation: Boundaries and Trust3
- Daniel Lepkoff, Contact Improvisation: A Question?
- Steve Paxton, The Small Dance, The Stand
- Kathleen Rea, “That lady”: The story of what happened when a woman put up a boundary in the contact improv world
- Nancy Stark Smith, Harvest: One History of Contact Improvisation
- Carolyn Stuart, 7 Options for what to ‘DO’ with your touch at the point/s of contact
- But see note below regarding Karl Frost
- While I think Karl’s writing here is very cogent and valuable, he is a well-established teacher, and I’ve personally learned a lot from being taught by him, I caution those who want to study with him to first investigate his history with female students and attitudes towards women, both of which I find problematic. See, e.g., “Twenty Years of Coming to Terms: Shifting from Disempowerment to Activism and Systemic Thinking“; Karl Frost Transparency Process and Accountability.
- And then you should probably read Michelle Beaulieux’s response/critique, “Starting by Believing Maria: Responding to Sexual Violence in Safer Brave Contact Improvisation Spaces,” as Martin’s essay is now somewhat dated.