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:

  1. Monday nights, April 14 – May 19: Jesse Johnson six-week workshop, New York City, “Dancing with Gravity.” Jesse Johnson returns to teaching CI classes after about a two-year absence. This is great news for two reasons. First, Jesse is a patient and skilled CI teacher, and is particularly good with folks new to CI or who lack dance training. Second, her class is progressive, which is hard to find in New York with our tendency towards drop-in classes. Very recommended for beginners and near-beginners, particularly those who have been trouble finding a way into New York City CI. More information on the Artist Ashram Web site.
  2. Saturday, April 26 – Sunday, April 27: Moti Zemelman two-day workshop, Boston (Cambridge, Mass.), “Hacking Contact Improv.” Three-session workshop, with Saturday evening live music jam. Open to beginners “as long as you have at least some basic experience.”
  3. Saturday, May 10 – Sunday, May 11: Catherine Lessard two-day workshop, New York City, “Foundation for CI.” Two-session workshop. Catherine Lessard of Montreal rarely teaches in New York City or nearby, so this is a rare opportunity. 11am to 3pm both days, $60 – $100 sliding scale, at the Red Bean Studios in Manhattan. Contact edwin.adkins AT Google Mail (gmail) for more information.
  4. Saturday, May 10: Brando afternoon workshop, Philadelphia, “The Sweet Ride of Momentum.” Advanced workshop in contact improvisation.
  5. Sunday, May 11: Community Underscore with Nancy Stark Smith, New York City. Nancy Stark Smith visits New York with Mike Vargas, and facilitates an Underscore. $25. This is part of a whole weekend around the Underscore as part of a CI performance project called Glimpse 2, with “performance installations” and a “lecture/performance/experience.”
  6. Saturday, May 17 – Monday, May 19: The 2014 Ontario Regional Contact Jam, Toronto. Big three-day jam in Toronto, Canada. The big news this year is that it’s being held at the National Ballet School, in (I am told) two huge, gorgeous studios that are wheelchair accessible. Other interesting aspects include an all-levels lab taught by Peggy Baker, the artist-in-residence at the National Ballet School, and an authentic movement session.
  7. Sunday, May 18: Neige Christenson and Phillip Shinnick afternoon workshop, New York City, “Falling Up and Floating Down: finding delicious suspension in dynamic trios.” I took a version of this class two years ago, and highly recommend it. Neige and Phil had very clear and interesting ideas and exercises. And students got a little sense of how to dance like Neige and Phil, which is worth aspiring to.
  8. Friday, May 23 – Sunday, May 25: weekend jam in Boston (Cambridge, Mass.), “23rd Annual May Jam.” Lots of jamming, and Tim O’Donnell returns to teach a full-day workshop. Keep an eye on the Contact Improv Boston Web site for more information.

Looking ahead to summer, North America is oddly quiet for a while when it comes to contact-improvisation-specific events. The two big summer jams in the U.S. are around July 4: the West Coast Contact Improvisation Jam just before July 4, and the Earthdance July 4 Jam on either side of the July 4 holiday. But I don’t know of much else. Perhaps more things will crop up in June as we get closer?

However, there are a number of big events where contact improvisation is done, if not the focus. There are the big “Dance Camp” events, in Northern California, Ontario, and New England, which I think all have some contact improvisation, among other things, and Burning Man, which has a contact improvisation camp.

Meanwhile, the European CI festival circuit gets into full swing by the summer.

Update: For June, I neglected to mention the Annual Burlington VT International Contact Jam, happening this year June 13-15, 2014.

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