Contact improvisation in NYC

Regular Jams and Classes in New York City

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This page collects in one place information on all the ongoing New York City contact improvisation jams and classes, especially for out-of-town visitors who may only have a few days in town. My hope is that it is accurate, reliable, and recent — your first and only reference when you wonder, “is there a jam tonight in New York”?

Without further ado… more miscellaneous commentary after the listings. This page was last updated on Tuesday, April 16, 2019:

Monday mornings: Class at 100 Grand Dance (Bill Young’s Studio), 100 Grand Street (between Mercer Street & Greene Street), 2nd floor (Buzz “Bill Young Dance”),  Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 10am – 12 noon. $12. Buzz “Bill Young Dance / 2nd Floor” to get in. Info can also be found on the 100 Grand Dance Web site. Drop-in class, often small class of dedicated practitioners, usually starts out gently out of consideration for Monday morning lethargy. Tim O’Donnell teaches through April.

I no longer track the Monday night Open Movement jam, both because I’ve found it too difficult to track their schedule and because I’m uncertain about the amount of contact improvisation still done there. But I believe you can get more information about Open Movement NYC on their Facebook group page.

Entrance to 100 Grand Dance

Entrance to 100 Grand Dance

Tuesday evenings: Pre-jam class at 100 Grand Dance (Bill Young’s Studio), 100 Grand Street (between Mercer Street & Greene Street), 2nd floor (Buzz “Bill Young Dance”), Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 6pm-7pm. $5. Buzz “Bill Young Dance / 2nd Floor” to get in. Pre-jam class appropriate for beginners, taught by Michelle Arieh. $5 for the class, $10 for the whole evening including jam (see below). Please arrive at 5:50pm so that the class can start on time. Lilianna Kane guest-teaches on Tuesday, April 16.

Tuesday evenings: Jam at 100 Grand Dance (Bill Young’s Studio), 100 Grand Street (between Mercer Street & Greene Street), 2nd floor (Buzz “Bill Young Dance”), Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 7pm – 10pm. $5. Buzz “Bill Young Dance / 2nd Floor” to get in. Cozy, intimate jam with committed dancers. Usually these days Charlie Mosey is the primary facilitator. Formerly on Wednesday nights, this jam moved permanently to Tuesday nights starting April 2013. This replaced the Tuesday night “lab” or “working group.” The first hour is no longer a little slow; these days dancing starts early and goes until the end. Photography or video recording of the jam is not allowed. If it’s your first time, it’s worth checking out the Welcome Document; copies also available at the jam.

Wednesday evenings: Drop-in class at Eden’s Expressway, 537 Broadway (between Prince Street & Spring Street), 4th Floor, Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 6:30pm – 8:30pm. $14 (discounts if you buy multiple classes in advance). Buzz 4 and the green arrow to get in. Elise Knudson teaches in April and May. Offered through Movement Research — more info on the Movement Research classes page.

Thursday evenings: “Contact Improvisation – The Basics” drop-in class at Gibney Dance Center (280 Broadway branch), 53 Chambers St., Manhattan, New York City, 6pm – 8pm. The entrance is NOT at 280 Broadway as listed everywhere, but at 53 Chambers Street, around the corner to the southeast. (This is the former Dance New Amsterdam location.) $14 (discounts if you buy multiple classes in advance). Offered through Movement Research — more info on the Movement Research classes page. You can use a Gibney class card, but then it will end up costing more. Carly Czach teaches April 18; Sarah Konner teaches April 25.

Friday evenings (as of March 15): Jam in Brooklyn (Park Slope), new as of January 2019! at Aikido of Park Slope, 630 Sackett St., Brooklyn, New York City, 7:45pm to 10:45pm (note location and time change from BAX). $5-$20 sliding scale donation. Guided warm-up from 7:45pm to 8:15pm, open jamming from 8:15pm to 10:30pm. Huge, beautiful space with padded floors. No jam, Friday, April 19, due to Passover/Easter holiday.

Saturday afternoons: Jam at Eden’s Expressway, 537 Broadway (between Prince Street & Spring Street), 4th Floor, Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 1:30pm – 4:30pm. $5. Buzz 4 and the green button to get in. Silent (no music) jam, currently the biggest jam in NYC. More dancerly dancers (as opposed to pure contact dancers) show up at this one. Also lots of out-of-towners from around the world. I sometimes find the space a little small, but it’s worth it to stop by this jam if you’re in town, especially since you never know who will show up. Don’t be too intimidated by the crowds of tourist shoppers on Broadway and the relatively unmarked entrance — the entrance really is there, just to the left of the Guess store. Emily Moore or Charlie Mosey usually facilitates this jam. First hour is often slow, but that means there’s lots of space! — which is much scarcer by 2:30pm. Photography, video recording, or audio recording of the jam in any way is not allowed. If it’s your first time, it’s worth checking out the Welcome Document; copies also available at the jam.

First Sunday evenings: People of color contact improvisation jams at MNDFUL Studio, 239 E. 60th Street, Manhattan, NYC, 6:30pm – 9pm. Free. Andrew Suseno facilitates affinity contact improvisation jams, only for people of color. Upcoming jams on May 6, June 2, July 7, August 4, and September 1. You can read more about the jams on the Parcon Resilience Web site.

Second Sunday afternoons: Underscore NYC at Eden’s Expressway, 537 Broadway (between Prince Street & Spring Street), 4th Floor, Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 2pm – 5:45pm. $10 suggested donation. Underscore practice second Sunday of the month. The Underscore is hard to explain if you haven’t done it… it’s basically a somewhat structured group contact improvisation experience. Participants should plan to arrive on time and stay until the end. It’s a good idea to join the Facebook group “Underscore NYC” if you’re interested in this. People who have not attended an Underscore “talk-though” before should attend one, which generally start at 2pm in the space. Underscore itself starts at 3pm and goes until 5:45pm; this is a change starting 2018. Upcoming Underscores on May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11. More information about the monthly underscore on the Underscore NYC Facebook page and the Movement Research Underscore page.

Last Sunday afternoons (starting March 31): Jam at World Martial Arts Center, 540 Atlantic Ave, 3rd floor, Brooklyn, NYC, 2pm – 4pm. Free, $5+ suggested donation. Fundamentals instruction for the first 30-45 minutes. New jam starting up in Brooklyn in a wheelchair-accessible hapkido dojang (mats!), facilitated by Tania Velásquez and Camilla Davis. Check out Tania’s Web site for more details, but note this tip: “Be mindful this is a martial arts space where the tradition of bowing to honor the space is appreciated. This is typically done when entering/leaving the dojang and before stepping on/off the mat.” Upcoming jam dates are confirmed for April 28, June 30, July 28, and August 25. No jam in May (Memorial Day Weekend).

More about this page

This page does NOT contain short-term workshops, multi-session progressive classes/courses, or other non-recurring events. If you would like to inform others of those events, please post a comment. Events must be related to contact improvisation, and I’ll remove expired events. I’ve exercised my own judgment as to what is a contact improvisation jam or class; I have not included barefoot boogies, ecstatic dances, or similar events where people may or may not do contact improvisation.

While you are free to distribute the information above, please do not copy the descriptions (or anything else on this page) without permission and attribution. They constitute my views and original work.

I started this page because although New York City has one of the biggest and most active contact improvisation scenes in the world, few people in New York (let alone visitors) seemed to know about everything that was going on. You had to do research and digging to find out about events, and if you have the goal that I do, that contact improvisation should be accessible to everyone, this seemed like a problem. If you find this page helpful, please spread the word and tell others about it.

On accessibility in a different sense: for those who may have various physical disabilities, I’ve added a section on the physical Accessibility of the various venues in NYC. If you have suggestions on how to improve this section, I would love to hear them.

Accessibility

Unfortunately, many of our New York City contact venues are not very accessible. This is something to work on.

Aikido of Park Slope, Brooklyn: fair. About a four- to five-inch step at the entrance to get in, and a similar four- to five-inch step up to get onto the dance space. Space is on ground floor, so no elevators necessary. Bathrooms are not huge, but not too tiny, but don’t have handrails—I’ll post some pictures when I get a chance. Changing rooms are down a step once going through the dance space, although the bathroom is before the dance space and could be used to change in as well.

Bill Young’s Studio (100 Grand Dance): poor. Bill Young’s Studio is up a step and up two flights of stairs through some fairly heavy doors, none of which are automatic. However, after the first step and two doors, there is an elevator. We’ve been able to get a wheelchair in and out of the space with some teamwork. Very small single-occupancy bathroom with no handrails, and is up a step. No changing room separate from the bathroom.

Eden’s Expressway: poor. Eden’s Expressway is on a fourth-floor walk-up. Ground floor entrance is up a step behind some narrow manual doors. There is very small service elevator directly inside the front door that can be sent down and called up from the fourth floor, and opens into a small space used for changing inside Eden’s Expressway. The elevator doors on the fourth floor open at a right angle to those on the ground floor, and there’s not much room to maneuver; it can work with some patience for smaller wheelchairs, and with LOTS of patience for larger wheelchairs. Very small single-occupancy bathroom with no handrails. No changing room separate from the bathroom.

Gibney Dance Center (280 Broadway branch, entrance at 53 Chambers): Very good. Newly renovated (as of 2014), elevators, big modern all-gender bathrooms.

World Martial Arts Center, Brooklyn: Very good. No step in front of the building, elevators to the third floor dojang, no steps in the dojang or to get on to the mats. Large locker room / bathroom / changing areas with no steps to enter them, male and female — I don’t believe there’s a all-gender bathroom or single-occupancy bathroom. I believe bathroom stalls have handrails.

E-mail Lists, Facebook groups, etc.

  • The Facebook group “Contact Improv NYC” is one of the main hubs for the New York City contact improvisation community.
  • Many but not all NY notices go to the “contactnyc” Yahoo group. This is a great Yahoo group to sign up for no matter where you live — it gets announcements from around the world of all kinds of contact events. And it’s the main e-mail group for the NYC contact community.
  • The monthly Underscore practice has a Facebook page, “Underscore NYC“.
  • The Monday night Open Movement Jam has a Facebook page.

For convenience

I’ve made several redirects to this page for easy-to-remember shorthand:

  • contactimprovblog.com/ny
  • contactimprovblog.com/nyc
  • contactimprovblog.com/nyci

76 comments for “Contact improvisation in NYC

  1. Shana Deane
    2017/03/18 at 02:29

    fyi: tried to email – and said it’s having a temporary problem. trying to find out if parcon is happening this sunday, 3/19/2017. thanks!

  2. richard
    2017/03/18 at 10:04

    No parcon this Sunday. I’ll try to make sure the e-mail is fixed.

  3. gina garoogian
    2017/03/27 at 13:46

    Just wondering how to confirm these jams are happening next week. I will be visiting for a few weeks and would like to check out your local jams. Thanks! Also how could I get the phone #s to call and verify my self. Thanks!

  4. richard
    2017/03/27 at 14:15

    So I understand your concern given the typical haphazard nature of CI jams. But really, this page is meant to address that concern. Note the “updated” date at the top of the page. That’s manually updated, not automatic. I’ve updated the page manually based on the latest information.

    But if you want more assurance about any of the events listed: (1) most if not all of the classes have links to the organization that hosts the classes, which you can e-mail or call, (2) for the jams, you can post to the Facebook group Contact Improv NYC for assurance from the community that it’s happening, or (3) you can post to the Yahoo group contactnyc. Links to those groups are at the bottom of the page.

    All jams are scheduled to proceed on Tuesdays and Saturday for the near future. We rarely cancel, even on holidays. Classes are a little bit more unpredictable, but again, you can follow up with the specific organizations.

  5. Shana Deane
    2017/05/14 at 22:32

    hi dear,
    is the parcon info not on this blog anymore?

  6. richard
    2017/05/14 at 23:57

    Sadly not. Open parcon classes or practices haven’t been at a regular enough time/date for me to list them on this blog. If they become regularly-scheduled again in the future, I’ll put them back.

  7. Nikki young
    2017/08/30 at 20:13

    Hello :)

    My name is Nikki, and I’m from England, in a Dance graduate and will in New York next week!

    I was hoping to come to the Tuesday jam, as it sounds amazing

    Are they open just to turn up and join in, or is there anything I should do before hand?

    Thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you

  8. richard
    2017/08/31 at 00:55

    Hi Nikki, you just show up anytime between 7pm and 10pm. If you’ve never done contact improvisation before, it may be a good idea to try a class first, but it’s not necessary. Make sure to bring comfortable, loose clothing that you don’t mind getting sweaty and rolling around in. And it’s a good idea to bring water, since there isn’t a water fountain in the space (though you can fill water bottles in the bathroom sink).

  9. Anna
    2017/11/05 at 10:40

    Thank you for your work! I´m from Munich, Germany and it is really cool to find those informations so easily!

  10. Bea
    2017/12/12 at 02:45

    Do you know if the Saturday jam is happening on December 23?
    Thanks, Bea

  11. richard
    2017/12/12 at 03:21

    The Saturday jam is almost certainly happening on December 23 — the Tuesday and Saturday jams pretty much never cancel. But I’ll try to get confirmation in the next week or two.

  12. Ana Wieder-Blank
    2018/03/28 at 06:08

    What do you know about the new Monday jam in Brooklyn?

  13. richard
    2018/03/28 at 16:50

    Pretty much what’s up above. You can find more information on the Brooklyn Studios for Dance Web site as well. What else would you like to know?

  14. Steve
    2018/08/11 at 10:46

    Richard: Which of the facilities, if any, have air conditioning? How bad is the heat on hot summer Saturday afternoons?

  15. Fran
    2018/08/20 at 08:57

    Hi I’m from chile and I will be visiting my sister in ny by February. I am a dance student but I’m scare to not be able to take the contact clases or jams because of the language. Is there some jam or clase made for people who dobt speak lot of English? Or is it an inconvenient ? Thx

  16. richard
    2018/09/02 at 21:29

    Sadly, none of the facilities have air conditioning. Heat on a hot summer Saturday is… HOT. There are fans, however, and we keep dancing. :)

  17. richard
    2018/09/02 at 21:33

    Hi Fran, there are no classes that I know of for people who don’t speak English. However, there are many people in our community who speak Spanish and are happy to help people who are new. I recommend you join the Facebook group “Contact Improv NYC” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/contactimprovnyc/) and post your question in Spanish. Someone may be able to help you find your way to the jam and give you some advice on how to take classes. Someone may even be interested in teaching a class in Spanish.

  18. 2018/09/10 at 23:47

    We are two Spanish girls. We’ll go to the contact class and Jam tomorrow. We need to know if we can pay by credit card. Well, we don’t have cash. Thank.

  19. richard
    2018/09/11 at 11:25

    Hi Miren. We don’t have a way to take credit cards — cash only, I’m afraid. If you don’t have cash today, you can probably pay back in the future — please ask the facilitator/instructor. Feel free to come regardless!

  20. Nakia Henry
    2018/11/18 at 13:38

    Are these jams still happening? I’m trying to plan something for 12/18/18.

  21. Nakia Henry
    2018/11/18 at 13:40

    Just asked about 12/18. Forgot to mention that I’ve never done contact improv but I’m not new to dance, just haven’t been to class in a very long time and my partner is athletic (basketball) but not a dancer. I’m thinking of taking class for an anniversary gift.

  22. April
    2018/11/30 at 02:01

    Richard…a little confused about the Saturday afternoon jam. Your note states, “This jam continues without interruption through Saturday, November 24.” I figure this was either meant to assure us that the jam was actually happening over the holiday weekend OR to inform us that the last date of the jam is 11/24. So, is the jam still happening? I don’t see any evidence of it on Eden’s Expressway’s (MR) page.
    Thanks!!

  23. richard
    2018/11/30 at 02:29

    Hi April. Yes, they’re still happening. They’re not a Movement Research-sponsored event — we rent out the Eden’s Expressway space. They pretty much always happen, even including all major holidays.

    And sorry for the confusion — I’ve updated the page.

  24. richard
    2018/12/14 at 17:05

    Hi Nakia. Tuesday jams are still happening, but the pre-jam class is on hiatus at the moment — last I heard it may be coming back in January or February. If you’ve never done CI, you’re certainly welcome to drop by and participate to your comfort, but there are also intro/beginners classes available, primarily the Thursday night offering.

    If you’re hearing some caution in my writing, it’s because there’s a range of folks whom I’ve seen over the years plunge into CI, and for small communities that don’t have newcomers often, that’s not such a big deal — there’s lots of folks who can look out for you and hold your hand through the process. In New York City, that’s harder, simply because of the amount of turnover week to week — we often don’t know who is new at the jam any particular week vs. whom we just don’t know personally — although the community is working to address the issue. So, for instance, if someone’s sole background in dance is jazz dance classes, they might be confronted by the lack of music, lack of structure, and amount of physical contact. And then on the other hand, some people take to it like fish to water.

    Bottom line, it could be utterly wonderful to pleasant-but-not-your-thing to a little confronting. I just wanted you to be aware of that before attending.

  25. Agustina
    2019/02/03 at 13:27

    Hi! Can i just show up for a class? What are the requirements and how do i book one? Thank you !

  26. richard
    2019/02/03 at 16:31

    Hi Agustina,

    For all the classes listed on my blog, you can essentially just show up. I recommend getting there 5-10 minutes early to get changed and be ready to start on time. The Wednesday night class requires a little bit of sign-in, and the Thursday night class requires a little bit more — I think you have to sign a release and stuff — so plan accordingly. But none of them require pre-registration.

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