Regular Jams and Classes in New York City
So it is more than a year since CI has returned to New York City, and we are positively booming! I think this is perhaps the most contact improvisation that we’ve ever had in New York City, and I feel lucky to be living here. We now have at least two jams and two classes per week on the regular, and often more than that on many weeks.
I still have some complaints. The two chief ones are related to information being still ridiculously hard to find. For one, organizers aren’t using the CI Global Calendar, which means that the best-organized calendar for CI events that took years to develop has only a fraction of the NYC events. Instead (my second complaint), much of the NYC community has been steadily moving away from Facebook to an ever-more-chaotic WhatsApp group, whose sign-up link is ever-changing, which means that access is built on knowing someone who is part of the WhatsApp group, and who also knows how to add someone to it. For no other apparent reason than, a bunch of people started using WhatsApp during the pandemic, and then network effects. Sigh.
Is this the price for 4-6 opportunities to dance per week? Maybe?
Masking policies are mostly done, while vaccination policies are ambiguous. No places require masking that I know of, save for perhaps the Brooklyn jam’s “raise hands” policy, which I’m not totally sure is still going on. Vaccination I think is required in principle in some places, but I’m not sure if folks are still checking. I’ll try to gather some more information for next time I update this. Regardless, I’m afraid I can’t guarantee 100% accuracy here, though please let me know if your experience is different and I can update.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 31, 2023:
General sources of information:
- The Facebook group Contact Improv NYC gets some but not all of the current information on the NYC CI scene. Still worth joining for the moment.
- The WhatsApp group chat CI Dancing NYC contains all kinds of information on regular events and one-time classes and workshops, especially for a younger crowd. The invite link keeps changing, but usually if you ask around at a jam, someone can help you join. For the moment the invite link is in the Google doc (see below). Worth joining if you want to keep your ear very close to the ground, and if you don’t mind some fairly high volume.
- Funda Gul has started a Google doc which I think is being updated regularly, possibly more frequently than this one. It also might potentially have the most current link to the WhatsApp group.
- There’s a separate Queer Jam WhatsApp group that you might need to ask around extra-hard to be added to. If you’re interested in attending a queer jam in NYC, track down Paris Cullen or ask in the WhatsApp group chat.
- A few folks who are organizing things who have Web sites:
Tuesday evenings: Virtual jam online, 8pm-9pm ET. I realize that it’s a bit strange to list a virtual jam here, but it’s been going for two years during Covid, with barely a week off, and still going. Cecilia Fontanesi and Funda Gul from the NYC community have done this hard work of maintaining this. Anyone around the world can join. I think posting the Zoom link here sometimes leads to crashers, so maybe best to check out the Contact Improv NYC Facebook group to find it? It’s still getting posted there. And/or the Google doc.
Tuesday evenings: drop-in “CI Basics” classes at 100 Grand Dance (Bill Young’s Studio), 100 Grand Street (between Mercer Street & Greene Street), 2nd floor (Buzz “Bill Young 2F”), Manhattan (SoHo), NYC. 6:30pm – 8:30pm. Basics class. $20 cash or Venmo at the door. I believe proof of vaccination is still required, although I’m not sure—best to be prepared just in case. Masks optional. Andrew Suseno is teaching in May. See Elise’s Web site for the latest.
About two Tuesday evenings per month: Jam at Open Arts Studio in DUMBO (Brooklyn, NYC), 6:30pm – 9:30pm. Doors lock after 7:15pm, RSVP required. Usually has live musicians. I believe no vaccination or masking requirements, although please correct me if I’m wrong. Semi-underground—see Web site for details. RSVP on the site or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. (Yes, I realize that e-mail address looks fishy—that’s not a mistake.)
Wednesday evenings: Jam at 100 Grand Dance (Bill Young’s Studio), 100 Grand Street (between Mercer Street & Greene Street), 2nd floor (Buzz “Bill Young 2F”), Manhattan (SoHo), NYC. 6pm warm-up/class led by rotating teachers, 7pm to 9pm jam. I think vaccinations still required (though I’m unsure), masks optional. Class $15, Jam $5-$15 sliding scale, class + jam $20-$40 sliding scale. Occasionally a live musician, and people sometimes play music on the boombox. Elise Knudson is mostly facilitating this. See Elise’s Web site if you want to double-check.
Thursday evenings: drop-in “intermediate” classes at 115 Wooster St (Randy Warshaw Studio), 115 Wooster St. #2F, Manhattan (SoHo), NYC. 7pm – 9pm. $20 cash or Venmo at the door. Juan David Vivero Murillo teaches June 1. No vaccination or masking information available. See Elise’s Web site for the latest.
Saturday afternoons: Jam at Eden’s Expressway, 537 Broadway (between Prince Street & Spring Street), 4th Floor, Manhattan (SoHo), NYC, 2pm – 5pm. Suggested donation $5-$10 cash or Venmo, no one turned away for lack of funds. Buzz 4 and the button below the green arrow/bell to get in. (Recently this sequence causes the intercom to display “FRANCES ALENIKOF” instead of “Eden’s Expressway” as it used to, but it still seems to be buzzing the studio correctly. :) ) Pre-registration is no longer required, and doors no longer close—drop-in anytime is fine. Masking is now optional. Fourth-floor walk-up—be ready to walk up lots of stairs (although there is an elevator option—see “Accessibility” below). Charlie Mosey is mainly facilitating this.
Sunday evenings: Jam at Aikido of Park Slope, 630 Sackett St., Brooklyn (Park Slope), NYC, 5pm – 8pm. $15 cash or Venmo, no one turned away for lack of funds. Jam in Brooklyn in a large aikido dojo (mats!), although recently this has sometimes been a themed lab. Note—these jams are now suspended for the summer except for monthly BIPOC jams. Will be pre-empted third Sunday of the month by BIPOC-only jams (which are free to attendees, if you identify as BIPOC), on May 21, June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17, October 15, November 19, and December 17. Information on this is mostly found on WhatsApp, although you can find a little on the Facebook group and Brooklyn Jam Web site.
Every now and then:
- Queer jams take place on occasion—roughly 1x month?—at Chez Bushwick at 304 Boerum in Brooklyn, usually on a Friday night. These are posted to the CI Dancing NYC WhatsApp group or the Queer Jam WhatsApp group.
- Underscores appear to be happening on a more-or-less monthly basis. Follow the Underscore NYC Facebook group for the latest. These have not quite become predictable, but they’re often on the third Sunday of the month.
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 have a section below 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, 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. 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 sometimes 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 (although some people change in the elevator bay).
I’ve made several redirects to this page for easy-to-remember shorthand: