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. Here’s what I know about as of Thursday, August 25, 2016:

Monday mornings: Class at 100 Grand Dance (Bill Young’s Studio), 100 Grand Street (between Mercer Street & Greene Street), 2nd floor (Buzzer B),  Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 10am – 12 noon. $12. Buzz B to get in. Info can also be found on the 100 Grand Dance Web site. Bradley Ellis teaches the rest of August.

Monday evenings: Parcon practice, various locations, NYC, 6pm – 8pm. Free. “Parcon” is the melding of parkour, contact improvisation, and social reflection/justice that was founded in New York City in 2015. Weekly practices are collaboratively-organized and rotate through various locations, typically in Manhattan. E-mail “dean” (at) parconhub.com for information, including directions to practice locations. Practices will continue on Monday on August 29, then will switch to Sunday afternoons 3pm – 6pm starting September 4.

Entrance to 100 Grand Dance

Entrance to 100 Grand Dance

Tuesday evenings: Jam at 100 Grand Dance (Bill Young’s Studio), 100 Grand Street (between Mercer Street & Greene Street), 2nd floor (Buzzer B), Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 7pm – 10pm. $5. Buzz B to get in. Cozy, intimate jam with committed dancers — currently one of my favorites. Usually these days I open the jam and Tamar Kipnis closes. Formerly on Wednesday nights, this jam moved permanently to Tuesday nights starting April 2013. This replaced the Tuesday night “lab” or “working group.” As with the Saturday jam, usually the first hour is a little slow, with people stretching and easing into the jam, but things pick up around 8pm.

Wednesday evenings: Class at Eden’s Expressway, 537 Broadway (between Prince Street & Spring Street), 4th Floor, Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 6:30pm – 8:30pm (note time change). $14 (discounts if you buy multiple classes in advance). Buzz 4 and the green arrow to get in. Local teachers including Tim O’Donnell, K.J. Holmes, and Charlie Mosey, usually rotating on a monthly basis. Offered through Movement Research — more info on the Movement Research classes page. I recommend that you show up around 10 minutes early to do registration, payment, and get yourself settled in. No classes in August, but they will resume in September 7 with Sarah Konner teaching. Sarah teaches through October.

Thursday evenings: “Contact Improvisation – The Basics” 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. You can use a Gibney class card, but ends up costing more. Bradley Teal Ellis teaches in August and September. Elise Knudson teaches in October. More info on the Movement Research Web site.

Friday evenings: NYC CI Practica in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow (south side), 5:30pm to sundown (between 7:30pm and 8:30pm). Free. This is a place to “practice” contact improvisation in a structured but self-directed way: to work on things that might not come up in a class or that might feel awkward to work on in a jam. The practica takes place at the “Mark Messer” spot (around 40°46’16.4″N, 73°58’33.1″W), on the south side of the Sheep Meadow near the tree line. If the Sheep Meadow is closed due to rain or other reason, meet east of the Sheep Meadow near the volleyball courts. Running weekly from Friday, July 1, 2016, through August for now. I’ll facilitate on Friday, August 26; look for me in a red T-shirt. Send an e-mail to “practica” (at) contactimprovblog.com for more directions and details.

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 Saturday afternoon and the relatively unmarked entrance — the entrance really is there, just to the left of the Guess store. Buzz 4 and the green arrow to be let in. 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.

Second Sunday afternoons: Underscore NYC at Eden’s Expressway, 537 Broadway (between Prince Street & Spring Street), 4th Floor, Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 2:30pm – 5:30pm. $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. 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. Upcoming Underscores on September 11, October 9, November 13, December 11, and January 8. Monthly Underscore times changed from 5pm to 2:30pm starting in September 2015. More information on the Underscore NYC Facebook page and the Movement Research classes page.

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.

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.

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, but I’m told that it “does its job” for those in wheelchairs.

E-mail Lists, Facebook groups, etc.

  • 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.
  • There’s a new Facebook group started by Jesse Johnson as a NYC umbrella group, “Contact Improv NYC.”
  • The Monday night Open Movement Jam has a Facebook page.
  • The bi-monthly Underscore practice has a Facebook page, “Underscore NYC“.

For convenience

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

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

44 comments for “Contact improvisation in NYC

  1. Erin
    2011/08/09 at 13:53

    My sister and I are dancers looking to get some basic contact skills. We are working on a show requiring us to use contact together to make up a dance in a short time. Could we come to the lab to get help or would it be too advanced? We have some basic partnering experience. What else do you suggest? Thanks so much! E

  2. richard
    2011/08/09 at 14:41

    Hi Erin. It depends what you want to get out of it. The lab is probably not too advanced for you to participate. Although I know someone new to contact who was once overwhelmed, it was her first time doing it ever, and she had little modern dance experience. I think generally the lab is welcoming and totally accepting of different skill levels, and I know that Edwin is interested in getting “new blood” attending.

    But the larger issue is, what is it that you’re looking to learn? In my experience, the lab tends to be fairly open-ended explorations, which may or may not be what you want/need. If there are specific physical skills you would like to learn, you may need instruction as opposed to suggestions and invitations to experiment for yourself. But if what you want is to explore different compositional or movement options, then maybe it’s exactly what you want.

    I’ll e-mail separately with Edwin’s (who runs the lab) e-mail address, and you can get it touch with him directly about it.

    Another possibility is going to Kayoko’s class on Friday. Her classes tend to be small, and she might be able to really cater to what you need to work on — at least my friend had an experience like that. I’ll send you her e-mail as well.

    Feel free to e-mail me or comment here as well.

  3. Erin
    2011/08/09 at 18:30

    Thanks. We re going to check it out tonight. :)

  4. Leo
    2011/08/15 at 19:48

    Thank for this blog Richard. I was just looking for some CI activity in NY during this week. Then collecting info on various sites trying to understand if they where right and in a while discovering your website clouds part! :-)
    A CI visitor from italy

  5. richard
    2011/08/15 at 19:54

    Thanks! Obviously, that was exactly my intent! I’m happy to know that this page is useful. Please pass it on to other visitors.

  6. Paige
    2012/02/06 at 11:17

    THANK YOU SO MUCH RICHARD!! this is such a wonderful resource and will really help me navigate the dancing world in this big apple. Hope to meet you on the floor soon…

  7. Nicole
    2012/02/06 at 15:19

    Richard, thank you for centralizing this sometimes elusive information. Kudos!

  8. 2012/02/20 at 10:16

    Thank you for all your encouragement this weekend, Richard. You made a big dent in my life!!!

    Pat

  9. richard
    2012/02/28 at 06:03

    No problem, Pat. I’m happy to help.

  10. Nabi
    2012/04/08 at 21:11

    thanks Richard for your comprehensive guide to CI in the CIty!

  11. Lucie
    2012/08/31 at 19:10

    Hello Richard,

    I am french and I just arrive in New York.
    \Can you say me if this saturday and sunday there is something like a jam or a workshop?

    Thank you

    Lucie

  12. richard
    2012/09/01 at 00:13

    Allo Lucie. Bienvenue!

    The regular Saturday jam is listed above. It’s 1330 to 1730, at Eden’s Expressway, at 537 Broadway, on the 4th Floor. I think you need to press some keys when you get to the front door to get in — I think you press “4” then a green arrow.

    I am not completely sure the jam is taking place, but usually the jam is never cancelled. I think it is worth it to go. If it is happening, there will probably be lots of different people there from around the country, since this is a U.S. holiday weekend.

    Have fun. Let me know if you have another questions.

  13. 2012/10/16 at 22:54

    Richard!

    Where would you look/who would you contact for current info on CI in the SF Bay Area?

    Thanks,
    Mark

  14. richard
    2012/10/16 at 23:03

    You mean other than contactimprov.net? Ah, very good question. This site (http://nono.artsomatic.org/jams/) is a little new, but seems to be fairly accurate, tracking CI events in the Bay Area similarly to how I do in NYC. For Tuesday nights, I’d double-check on the CounterPULSE Web site. And if you really want to be sure, subscribe to the SF Yahoo group and send an e-mail.

  15. 2012/11/01 at 20:12

    Hi,

    Is it possible to find another place for the jam saturday afternoon…maybe it is not possible in eden express, but the paradise is everywhere, specially after this hurricane…Maybe a place in Brooklyn?
    I took a bottle of red wine from France, and I would like to propose a little french moment after the jam, cheese, bred and wine…It is my last saturday in NY before another come back -maybe-. See you soon. Lucie

  16. 2012/11/08 at 23:28

    Hi Richard,
    I just moved to New York. I love dancing, but my skills are not profesional, which action would you recommend to me, please? Is there also possibility to come up just to watch and admire?

    Thank you,
    Radka

  17. richard
    2012/11/08 at 23:33

    Hi Radka. Have you done any contact improvisation before? Are you interested in more contact improvisation, or just dancing?

    If you just want to dance, I’d recommend showing up to the Monday Open Movement Jam, which is less contact improvisation and more just people moving around. There’s also music there often, which can be helpful for people who aren’t used to dancing in silence.

    If you’re interested in doing more contact improvisation, I’d also recommend checking out the Sunday classes this month, taught by Shakti Smith. I haven’t taken class from Shakti yet, but I know her to be thoughtful and thorough. She doesn’t come from a trained dance background, and so I think may be more understanding of newer dancers than some of the NY contact teachers.

    Does that answer your question?

  18. 2012/11/09 at 11:55

    Yes it does. I wil check it out next week.
    Thank you a lot Richard!!
    Radka

  19. Mwanzaa
    2012/11/29 at 15:12

    What’s the word on bringing casual visitors to contact jams? I have a friend who is visiting this weekend who is interested in contact but might not be interested in joining in on his first time really seeing contact. I imagine that people wouldn’t balk at his presence on the sidelines at the Saturday jam, but I can also imagine that some might be confused or put off by an non-participating body in the space. What’s the protocol for casual observers of contact? Thanks.

  20. richard
    2012/11/29 at 15:36

    Great question. I think at most jams I’ve been to, dancers are pretty familiar with this phenomenon of friends who come and “just want to see.” I don’t think there’s any reason to think that people will be confused or offended.

    On the other hand, I’d have some advice for your friend. First: even if you’re coming just to watch, just come dressed to dance. Just in case. I’ve seen many, *many* situations where someone who came just to watch ended up not only getting pulled on to the dance floor, but having a fairly transformative life experience. Second: be prepared to be asked to dance, or led on to the dance floor. Possibly less so at the NYC Saturday jam, where participants are a bit less curious about newcomers. But if you really want just to watch, be prepared to say no clearly but politely. Third: if you are pulled on to the dance floor, you are responsible for yourself! Rarely does someone get hurt in this situation, but totally new people can occasionally get lost in the exhilaration of the experience and not realize that they’re doing movements that are quite risky, and lack the skill to protect themselves. Go slow, take it easy, resist being picked up, and don’t do anything you don’t feel physically comfortable with. There’s plenty of time for risk later. You can always ask for the dance to be different, or for the dance to stop. Actually, it’s your obligation to do so if necessary.

    Finally, if not asked to dance, often newcomers get so intimidated or confused by the jam space that they sort of get paralyzed, sitting around in one place self-consciously and looking around. There’s lots I could say about this, but for now, I’ll just give this advice: just get up and walk around the space every now and then. Try not to step on or over anyone, but otherwise, it can’t hurt. Something surprising may happen to you by the time you sit back down again. (Or not.)

  21. Lucy
    2014/08/03 at 13:30

    Hi,
    Thanks for posting this it’s really helpful. I have three questions, at the contact jam on tuesdays, is it a mix of improv and contact or soley just contact? At the open movement jams on mondays, how open, would you say, are the people to contact? Lastly, how do the groups tend to respond to minors?

  22. richard
    2014/08/06 at 00:07

    Hi Lucy,

    Tuesday is pretty much just contact improvisation. It’s not a rigid form of contact improvisation — e.g., no one is going to scold you for dropping the point (except for maybe me!) — but it’s definitely a contact improvisation jam, and any other type of improvisation occurs with contact as a basis or a reference/departure point.

    On Mondays these days, it really varies. I think people generally are open to some contact improvisation, but there aren’t often hard-core contact dancers there. I don’t think anyone will object if you start doing contact with them, but they may not have the physical skills or knowledge to really respond in kind.

    I think both groups would be fine with minors. Are you talking about bringing along a child, or about being a teen who wants to dance?

  23. Cristian Navarro
    2014/09/01 at 22:03

    Is there a contact Jam tomorrow tuesday from 7:00 to 10:00 PM in 100 grand street?
    Thanks for your time!

    Cristian Navarro

  24. richard
    2014/09/01 at 23:04

    Yes. It is happening. As always, attendance is a bit light in the first hour, but picks up a lot around 8pm.

  25. Cristian Navarro
    2014/09/02 at 09:36

    Okey , thank You Richard! I will be there ;)

  26. richard
    2014/09/02 at 09:46

    I probably won’t make it today due to other conflicts. But I think plenty of others should be. Have fun!

  27. Ali M-O
    2014/12/01 at 15:38

    hi there,

    i am visiting nyc from the bay area for the holidays. i’d really like to make it to a jam or a class, but i know regularly scheduled classes/jams can get dicey around that time. i’ll be in nyc from december 29th thru january 1st (thats a monday thru a thursday). do you have any inklings on what will definitely be/not be happening?

    best, ali

  28. richard
    2014/12/01 at 23:28

    Hi Ali. These things tend to be decided towards the last minute, but I’ll be updating my blog as we get closer. Watch this space!

    However, my best guess as of now is that there will be a Monday morning class and Tuesday night jam during that time, but nothing else.

    If you’re interested in Monday night Open Movement, you might subscribe to the Open Movement NYC Facebook page (linked to from this page), and then post a question as to the Open Movement schedule through the holidays.

    Welcome to NYC!

  29. richard
    2014/12/13 at 01:50

    Definitely Tuesday night jam. No word on Monday night jam yet.

  30. [the extra] Charlie
    2015/03/03 at 09:57

    [an update from Bill Young]

    Good News for Jam Tonight!! [2015 March 3 only]

    100 Grand Contact Jam can start the usual time at 7-10pm !

    Location Change: 115 Wooster Street (Randy Warshaw Studio)
    So we are staring 2 Blocks West and 2 Blocks North then/from our regular time and place.

    Hi all,

    The upcoming Tuesday CI Jam (March 3rd) has changed location and time:
    Location Change: 115 Wooster Street (Randy Warshaw Studio)
    So we are staring 2 Blocks West and 2 Blocks North then/from our regular time and place.

    We will be back at Bill’s at our usual time next week. Please help spread the word, and thank you for your cooperation.

    Please reply directly to me with questions.

    best,
    c

  31. Esra
    2015/06/19 at 19:07

    We came to Sheep’s Meadow on Friday, June 19th and couldn’t find you or anyone jamming. Are the Friday sesssions still on?

  32. richard
    2015/06/19 at 23:32

    Yes, definitely still on. I was there from 6pm, although a lot of people had trouble finding me for some reason. I was the only one for about a hour, so I took a nap – you might have missed me lying in the grass. People started accumulating at 7 today and we didn’t get dancing until 7:30, for whatever reason.

    Sorry to have missed you, but if the e-mail attached to this comment is valid, I can follow up with you in person and make sure you have my phone number and email. Hopefully we can coordinate better in the future.

    And maybe I’ll get a big sign.

  33. shana
    2015/06/22 at 01:37

    hi richard,
    we recently met at bill young’s last tuesday night.. i was new.
    and i thanked you for this page.
    just fyi: jesse johnson’s monday night class is $15, not $20. i’m guessing you’d like to update that above.
    very grateful for this page!
    hope to see you on friday night when i can make it.

  34. 2015/09/21 at 13:25

    Hi Richard. Thank you for diligently working on this site. It is so useful when I come into the city. FYI, Vivek and Nancy Stark Smith suggested that I start my own blog. Feel free to have a look at it.

    http://josephsengco.com/

    Cheers!
    Joseph

  35. 2015/11/26 at 23:41

    Hello, I really love watching these contact improvs on youtube. I would really love to give it a try. I have no prior experience in this art. I however am a teacher, personal trainer and martial artist. I have not background in dance whatsoever. Would I be welcome at a class on Saturdays?

    Mike

  36. steve
    2015/12/29 at 16:41

    Does anyone know if the CI jam is on tonight (Tuesday, December 29, 2015)?

  37. Szu-ying
    2016/01/03 at 10:36

    Hi Richard,

    Thank you for the clear information!
    I’m traveling in NY now and it helps me a lot!

    I found from 100 Grand Dance website (https://100grandsoho.wordpress.com/about/) that they’ll have class with Tim tomorrow (1/4) morning. Do you know that will it really happen tomorrow? (Because it also states that there’s Jam tomorrow, but I know from your website that the Jam will resume at 1/11 actually.)
    And will the Tuesday Jam happen on 1/5?
    Is there anything different from what they post on the website? (Such as time, location….etc.)

    Many thanks for the help!!

    Best,
    Szu-ying

  38. richard
    2016/01/04 at 01:51

    Sorry to have missed this question. The jam did happen on 12/29, as listed on my blog. You really can trust it! Though I suppose I could have been more explicit about it. Generally, the Tuesday and Saturday jams don’t cancel in NYC, like, ever. Classes are a bit less predictable.

  39. richard
    2016/01/04 at 01:52

    My understanding is that the Monday, 1/4 class is on, and will be taught by Carly Czach, although I’m not 100% sure.

    The Monday, 1/4 evening jam is not happening.

    The Tuesday, 1/5 evening jam is DEFINITELY happening.

    Otherwise, the information that is on this page should match what is on the 100 Grand Web site, and should be accurate. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  40. richard
    2016/01/04 at 01:59

    Hi Mike, sorry for the delayed response to this question.

    Saturday is a “jam,” not a class — an opportunity to practice CI, without any specific class structure. I’d actually recommend that you start with a class — perhaps one of the Thursday night “Basics” classes at Gibney downtown. That having been said, you can feel free to drop by on Saturdays anyway if you want to get a feel for how it works.

    Phew… it sounds like you need some basic orientation to contact improvisation. And I’m not sure if there are any good resources on the Web at the moment. Let me see if I can write something.

  41. jacob schop
    2016/01/24 at 06:21

    I am 60 y old
    I have done contact improvisation at the last 5 Y

    I am coming NY for 1 M in the coming MAR

    Do U have some movement lessons/class to offer me.
    I am not Professional
    I am a business man and feldenkrais teacher
    Thanks
    Kobi

  42. richard
    2016/02/04 at 17:25

    Hi Kobi,

    Are you looking for private (one-on-one) lessons from me? Or do you want to know about what classes will be offered in March in New York? If you’re looking for lessons, I can contact you individually. If you want to know about what classes are offered, simply look at this page. It has all of the information on ongoing (regularly scheduled) classes. For other (one-time) classes, consult my post on CI events or the Contact NYC Facebook group.

  43. 2016/05/28 at 18:51

    Hi all,

    I like to join you on Monday morning. Will the class take place? And would it be possible for somebody to lend me kneepads?

    Thanks and see you soon!

    Marlene

  44. richard
    2016/05/28 at 20:37

    Hi Marlene. I don’t run the class on Mondays, but as far as I know it’s taking place. I don’t use kneepads myself, but you might be able to pick up a pair at a martial arts supply store. You also might try posting on the Facebook group Contact Improv NYC. https://facebook.com/groups/1576255105950232

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