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 Wednesday, April 25, 2018:
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. Tim O’Donnell teaches in April.
Monday evenings (through June 4): Jam at Brooklyn Studios for Dance, 210 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn (Clinton Hill), NYC, 6pm – 9pm. $5 – $15 sliding scale. This is a new Brooklyn jam run by Ilona Bito, starting up on March 5, 2018, and running through June 4, 2018. “Guided practice” 6pm to 6:45pm, open jamming 6:45pm to 8:45pm, closing circle 8:45pm to 9pm. Big space with high ceilings, marley sprung floor; more room to dance than your typical New York City jams. Ilona prefers you be there at the beginning to make registration simpler, but there will be a sign at the door with instructions for latecomers. Elise Knudson teaches April 30; Carly Czach teaches May 7; Elise Knudson teaches May 14 and May 21; Lucy Mahler teaches May 28; Molly Schaffner teaches June 4. For more information, see the Brooklyn Studios for Dance Web site, or e-mail Ilona at ilonabito (“at”) gmail “dot” com.
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. Michelle Arieh teaches a class during the hour before the Tuesday night jam, new as of April 2018. $5 for the class, $10 for the whole evening (see below).
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. Usually these days I open the jam and Alandra closes. 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. Note that there’s a pre-jam class that starts at 6pm (see above); if you’re new to contact improvisation, this may be a good way to get an introduction to the form before the jam.
Wednesday evenings: 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. Local teachers including Tim O’Donnell, Elise Knudson, and Bradley Teal Ellis, 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. Sarah Konner teaches in April; Elise Knudson teaches in May.
Thursday evenings: “Contact Improvisation – The Basics” 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 in April; Tim O’Donnell teaches in May.
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) 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 usually facilitates this jam. First hour is often slow, but that means there’s lots of space! — which is much scarcer by 2:30pm. Photography, video recording, or audio recording of the jam in any way is not allowed.
Second 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 attended an Underscore “talk-though” before should attend one, which generally start at 2pm in the space. Underscore itself starts at 3pm and goes until 5:45pm; this is a change starting 2018. Upcoming Underscore on May 13. More information about the monthly underscore on the Underscore NYC Facebook page and the Movement Research Underscore 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, many of our New York City contact venues are not 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, there is an elevator. We’ve been able to get a wheelchair in and out of the space with some teamwork. Bathroom is small and has no handrails.
Brooklyn Studios for Dance: poor. Big flight of creaky stairs, no elevator, no accessible bathrooms.
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. Bathroom is small and has no handrails.
Gibney Dance Center (280 Broadway branch): good. I’m told it’s fully accessible, although I haven’t checked out the particulars myself. Newly renovated (as of 2014), elevators.
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.
- Facebook group started by Jesse Johnson as a NYC umbrella group, “Contact Improv NYC.”
- 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: