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. This page was last updated on Friday, January 17, 2020:
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. Chisa Hidaka teaches January 20 and January 27. Tim O’Donnell usually teaches, but there are often substitute teachers that are not publicly announced.
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.
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, usually 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. Michelle is out of town this month; Lucy Mahler teaches through January.
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 and newbies. Usually these days Michelle Arieh opens and Charlie Mosey closes the jam. 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 and Safety and Boundaries Guidelines, which govern the Tuesday and Saturday jams; 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. Carly Czach teaches starting Wednesday, January 8, 2020; Bradley Teal Ellis teaches in February. 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. Elise Knudson teaches starting Thursday, January 9, 2020; Chisa Hidaka teaches in February.
Friday evenings (as of March 2019): Jam in Brooklyn (Park Slope) 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. A collective of local folks rotate facilitation. Guided warm-up from 7:45pm to 8:15pm, open jamming from 8:15pm to 10:30pm. Huge, beautiful space with padded floors, great for practicing more physically risky moves or just having more space to dance.
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 without Western dance training) 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. Fourth-floor studio means three flights of stairs to walk up — prepare yourself. (There is an elevator, but I believe it requires a key to operate.) 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 and Safety and Boundaries Guidelines; Welcome Document copies also available at the jam.
Second and fourth 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 previously attended an Underscore “talk-though” should go to this, which starts at 2pm in the space. Underscore itself starts at 3pm and goes until 5:45pm; this is a change starting 2018. Upcoming Underscores onJanuary 26, February 9, and February 23. More information about the monthly underscore on the Underscore NYC Facebook page and the Movement Research Underscore page.
Last Sunday afternoons: Jam at World Martial Arts Center, 540 Atlantic Ave, 3rd floor, Brooklyn (downtown Brooklyn / Park Slope), NYC, 2pm – 4pm. Free, $5+ suggested donation. Fundamentals instruction for the first 30-45 minutes. Jam in Brooklyn in a large wheelchair-accessible hapkido dojang (mats!), facilitated by Tania Velásquez and Camilla Davis, new as of March 2019. Super-chill vibe, lots of room. Check out Tania’s Web site for more details, but three notes: (1) “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.” (2) “Se habla español (both facilitators are native speakers)” and (3) there is a cat who is often in the space, for those with allergies. Upcoming jam on Sunday, January 26, 2020. Will be moving to Third Sundays starting February 2020, with upcoming jams on February 16, March 22, April 19, May 24, and beyond.
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.
If you find that the information on this page doesn’t match your experience, or if you find crucial details are missing (e.g., “this always starts late,” “teacher cancels class without notice,” “no one shows up to this one,” “there was music when I didn’t expect it” / “there wasn’t music when I expected it”) feel free to let me know. I’ll let the facilitator know, and if it’s a frequent issue, I’ll update the listing here and/or remove it.
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. Bathroom stalls have handrails. Men’s room doesn’t look like there’s been a person with a wheelchair in it for a while — some passageways have some obstructions that may be too tight to pass through with a chair.
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. Recommend you get on this. Questions like “is there really a jam tonight?” are best directed there if for some reason you’re unsure about the content of this page.
- 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, though somewhat underused these days.
- The monthly Underscore practice has a Facebook page, “Underscore NYC“.
- The Monday night Open Movement Jam has a Facebook page.
I’ve made several redirects to this page for easy-to-remember shorthand: