I’ve been thinking about starting a Contact improvisation “practica” in New York City.
In tango circles, a practica is an informal session to work on your tango practice with people away from the social pressures of a milonga, where it’s okay to stop and repeat or work on things, to talk on the dance floor, and to ask questions of others. This would be a great thing for CI! Especially in New York City. We are fortunate here that our jams are very focused on just dancing — but this makes it harder to necessarily engage in active learning. It’s often a bit awkward to stop and talk in NYC jams, given the limited space, the speed of dancing (not wanting to “park” on the dance floor and take up room), and the focused nature of the dancing.
Here’s how I envision it working:
- Opening circle — checking in with people for the evening, going over basics, perhaps deciding together on the structure for #3 below.
- A very short class or warm-up (15-30 minutes)
- Open structure with a “practice” emphasis, as opposed to a social or performative emphasis. As opposed to a jam, dancers would be explicitly encouraged to stop the dance at any time, to talk, to ask questions, and to repeat, rehearse, or explore movement patterns. Whoever is facilitating would make themselves available for specific coaching, answering questions, extra spotting, etc.
- Closing circle
Sounds great, right? So I think I’d like to try these on Friday evenings during the summer, outside in Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park. Perhaps 6pm until dusk.
If this sounds interesting to you, send me an e-mail at “questions” at contactimprovblog.com, or post a comment below. I’ll keep you informed about my plans. However, I’m thinking about a trial run on Friday, May 8, 2015, at 6pm. If it seems like there’s interest, we’ll keep going.
Watch this space for evolving details.