Contact improvisation in NYC

Regular Jams and Classes in New York City


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 Tuesday, September 29, 2015:

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. Tim O’Donnell teaches in October.

Monday evenings: Open Movement 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. $8 suggested donation. Buzz B to get in. This is billed as an open music and dance jam, but historically there has often been contact improvisation. Recently, however, the amount of contact improvisation has been low or unpredictable. There is both an Open Movement Web site and an Open Movement NYC Facebook page that contains updates and some community postings. Note: live music is now no longer allowed due to neighbor complaints, though “indoor” singing is still permitted.

Monday evenings: Jesse Johnson’s “Dancing with Gravity” drop-in classes at the Bhakti Center, 25 1st Ave, 2nd Floor, Manhattan (East Village), NYC, 7:30pm – 9:30pm. $15. Jesse is a long-time dancer and teacher who tends to operate outside the usual post-modern dance/Movement Research orbit. Her students, refreshingly, tend to come from a range of ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. These drop-in classes are a change from her former 4- to 6-week series. Check the Facebook page for the latest.

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. Music is provided by what people bring on their MP3 players/mobile devices. The first hour is usually a little slow; don’t worry if not many people show up until 8pm. Formerly on Wednesday nights, this jam moved permanently to Tuesday nights starting April 2013. This replaced the Tuesday night “lab” or “working group.”

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. Elise Knudson teaches Wednesday, September 30. Paul Singh teaches in October.

Thursday evenings: New series by Movement Research at Gibney Dance Center (280 Broadway branch) entitled, “Contact Improvisation – The Basics.” The class is in the 280 Broadway building  — but the entrance is NOT at 280 Broadway, but at 53 Chambers Street, around the corner to the southeast. (Gibney does a very poor job of advertising this fact.) This the old Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) space. So that’s at Gibney Dance Center Lower Manhattan, 53 Chambers St., Manhattan, New York City, 6pm – 8pm. The price isn’t entirely clear: $14 according to Movement Research, but Gibney classes are usually $17 — unclear if you can use your Gibney class card. Bradley Teal Ellis teaches in October.

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 (in terms of numbers — not necessarily space!). Lots of 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. Charlie Mosey runs this as well. Photography, video recording, or audio recording of the jam in any way is not allowed.

Second Sunday afternoons: Underscore NYC at Eden’s Expressway (see above) from 2:30pm – 5:30pm. $10. Underscore practice second Sunday of the month (since September 2014). The Underscore is hard to explain if you haven’t done it… it’s basically a slightly more 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 get one before attending, which generally have started a half-hour before the Underscore in the space. However, if you’re looking for a talk-through, check the Facebook group and post a message  to figure out if and when it’s happening. The next Underscore is Sunday, October 11. 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.


Unfortunately, none of our New York City contact venues are 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 (and perhaps another step) there is an elevator. With some coordination with the organizers you can have the elevator car sent down and called up from the second floor.

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.

For convenience

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


34 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!!!


  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


  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


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


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

    You mean other than Ah, very good question. This site ( 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


    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,

  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!!

  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

    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.


  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.


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