Regular Jams and Classes in New York City
Contact improvisation has been back for about six months in New York City, after a two-year-ish hiatus due to COVID-19. We have some new organizers and some new teachers, and… well, it’s actually pretty exciting and positive. The community is not what it was, but that’s not entirely bad.
Things are still shifting, including around entrance policies due to Covid, but shifting less than they used to be. We are having a robust set of jams and classes, with a lot of new faces and new energy. Organizers still haven’t started to use the CI Global Calendar, and the community has somewhat comically fractured between a Facebook group and a WhatsApp group, with most but not all posts going to both places, and many but not most subscribed to both. But well, what can you do?
I’m afraid I can’t guarantee that the below is accurate or up-to-date, but it should provide a starting point for further investigation.
This page was last updated on Tuesday, December 27, 2022:
General sources of information:
- The Facebook group Contact Improv NYC gets some but not all of the current information on the NYC CI scene. Worth joining.
- The WhatsApp groupchat 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 jam, someone can help you join. Worth joining if you want to keep your ear very close to the ground, and if you don’t mind some relatively high volume. Also someone different writing every month or so, “Can you tell me what all the jams are in New York City?” or “Does anyone know about any jams in [random foreign city]?”
- 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. Zoom link here.
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 “(some proceeds after studio rent will go towards a future BIPOC workshop)”. Proof of vaccination required, masks optional. Richard Kim (that’s me) is teaching in December; Juliane Cariño is teaching in January. There will be a class Tuesday, December 27.
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. Vaccinations required, 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 Eventbrite invite for details and latest (registration is not required). There will be a jam on Wednesday, December 28.
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, 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. Vaccination and masking still required. 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. The entrance policies have changed and may continue to change, but seem to be holding steady in their current form. Note that this is the only masks-required jam in NYC at the moment. More information on the Eventbrite, although note that registration is not required. This jam will continues without interruption, including Saturday, December 31.
Sunday evenings: Jam at Aikido of Park Slope, 630 Sackett St., Brooklyn (Park Slope), NYC, 5pm – 8pm. $15, no one turned away for lack of funds. Jam in Brooklyn in a large aikido dojo (mats!). Facilitated by Anna Vomacka, Chris Cahoon, and Liliana Kane. Vaccination or negative rapid test required. Masking policy is a bit complicated… you want to bring a mask regardless, but masks are only required if at least one person requests it through an almost-anonymous vote (everyone closes their eyes except for the facilitator). Mostly closed container, with doors locked at 5:30pm—first-time attendees should attend the opening circle, late arrivals only permitted if you’ve attended before by (1) notifying organizers in advance and (2) re-reading agreements and witnessing before joining in dancing. Will be pre-empted third Sunday of the month by BIPOC-only jams (which are free to attendees, if you identify as BIPOC). More information on Facebook group, Web site. No jam on Sunday, January 1.
Every now and then:
- Underscores appear to be happening on a more-or-less monthly basis after a late summer hiatus. Follow the Underscore NYC Facebook group for the latest. I’ll add these to the listings above if they become more regular (I think they will soon).
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: