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 Monday, May 25, 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 June.
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. There will be no Open Movement on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25. Open Movement will resume the following Monday (June 1).
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. $20. 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. This class will occur on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.
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, Charlie Mosey, and Margaret Paek, 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. Margaret Paek teaches in May; Bradley Ellis teaches in June.
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 Ellis teaches on May 28. Charlie Mosey teaches in June.
Friday evenings: Summer series run by me, in Central Park’s Sheep’s Meadow (south side), which I’m calling a “CI Practica”, 6pm to sundown (between 7:30pm and 8:30pm). Free. This is a place to “practice” contact improvisation: to work on things that might not come up in a class or that might feel awkward to work on in a jam. This is at the “Mark Messer” spot, on the south side of the Sheep’s Meadow along the tree line. Look for me in a bright red T-shirt. Running through early August for now.
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.
Sunday evenings: Basics classes at Shambhala East, 1000 Dean Street, Suite 311, Brooklyn (Prospect Heights/Crown Heights), NYC, 5pm to 7pm. $11. Press *01234 on the front door to get in. Resuming April 12, Brooklyn drop-in classes run by Sarah Konner and Prema Kelley. The outside and interior of the building are VERY weird — a new-ish concrete thing on a somewhat desolate block — so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t look like your typical jam/dance space. But the studio itself is nice and yoga-y. You can double-check class schedule and directions on the Shambhala Web site.
Second Sunday evenings: Underscore NYC at Eden’s Expressway (see above) from 5pm – 8pm. $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 at 4:30pm 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, June 14. 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.
- 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 and an Open Movement Web site.
- The bi-monthly Underscore practice has a Facebook page, “Underscore NYC“.
I’ve made several redirects to this page for easy-to-remember shorthand: