Lab recap (1/4): NYC CI Lab, Wed., 2014/07/09, at 100 Grand Dance, New York, NY

This is a recap and summary of conclusions from the first of four sessions of the July 2014 dance lab at 100 Grand Dance, which I am facilitating this month.

What we did

  • Warm-up leading into falling exercise
    • Relaxing into floor, scanning through body to release muscle tension
    • Rolling side to side
    • Gradually following roll into higher positions, then falling again back into roll, with sense of a pendulum. Up into mid-level and into standing.
    • In group, falling in proximity to each other, and faster (increase speed of exercise)
    • Extending into tiptoes, then falling to floor, rolling, then following momentum to standing.
    • Falling on tiptoes into each other, with “catcher” lightly pushing “faller” away
    • Falling on tiptoes into each other — “catcher” has option to push “faller” away, or to avoid faller and let him fall to the ground
    • Increase speed
  • Brief discussion
    • I had planned to do a long discussion here, but we were sufficiently warmed-up and ready to go that we decided to just keep going. So we went from falling into jumping.
  • Jumping at each other — standing
    • We jumped at each other while standing, with the “jumper” first starting small then jumping higher and faster, and the “catcher” experimenting with pushing the jumper away with his hands on the jumper’s torso.
    • We did this in different combinations and with intermixing, speeding up
  • Jumping at each other — floor
    • We jumped at each other with one person on the floor. The “catcher” on the floor lay on his back and pointed his legs towards the “jumper.” The jumper readied his hands to catch himself while the catcher met the jumper’s pelvis with his feet. The catcher could (1) push the jumper back, (2) direct the jumper to either side, or (3) push the jumper over the catcher’s head (we didn’t do this much). The jumper would aim his hands for the floor on either side of the catcher’s head, although the jumper’s hands might come down differently.
    • We then tried “side jumps,” where the jumper, with hands on ground, sent his pelvis towards the catcher legs so that the jumper’s body was perpendicular to the catcher’s legs at contact — sort of a low cartwheel into the catcher.
  • Discussion and planning for next time
    • Drawing conclusions from our labbing
    • Identifying questions for further investigation


  • General
    • Increased velocity doesn’t necessarily mean increased chaos, or a lack of control. While speed can be frightening because it implies a lack of control, there are ways to maintain control while going fast, and that in fact leave movement options available for both people.
    • If something feels weird or difficult, try it differently — keep exploring options. There are ways to do things faster.
    • Doing a movement faster, and then slower again, seemed to help discover more efficient pathways of carrying out the movement.
    • Having an idea of how you want to go faster — what you’ll be doing when you go faster — can limit your ability to go fast.
    • When your partner is moving quickly, you can join their trajectory and participate — without necessarily moving much faster yourself.
    • Movements that look fast from the outside can seem much slower from the inside — there can be much more time to react than it seems. What may look fast may not feel fast.
      • for instance, you might move towards your partner in a parabolic arc rather than right at them. The former may be just as fast, but gives your partner more time to react.
    • Movements need to be adjusted for different-sized partners!
  • Jumping at each other — standing
    • As the “catcher,” pushing or redirecting someone in the ribcage can send them off-balance. The pelvis is a better place to direct an impulse.
    • A slight upward lift while pushing someone can be more gentle, particularly if you happen to be pushing someone in the ribs.
  • Jumping at each other — floor
    • As the “catcher” you can either provide a post (support) or repel the “jumper.” Notice what your default reaction is. Consider receiving instead of pushing the jumper.
    • As the “catcher,” it sometimes can be difficult to spot the pelvis.
    • As the “jumper,” it makes a difference to send your pelvis AT the “catcher” vs. over the catcher. It’s not clear what is better in what situation, but it’s a different feeling.
    • As the “jumper,” it’s difficult to just jump on someone! There’s a common tendency to freeze up and slow down just before jumping.


2 comments for “Lab recap (1/4): NYC CI Lab, Wed., 2014/07/09, at 100 Grand Dance, New York, NY

  1. Maria
    2014/09/29 at 22:47

    I enjoyed a lot reading your blog, thnak you so much for sharing!!
    I am a dancer from Colombia and I am loooking to learn this kind of dance. Do you know if there are any financial support or scholarships given by CI centers? Thank you!!!

    • richard
      2014/10/06 at 20:39

      Thank you Maria. I don’t know of many scholarships available, but most CI workshops and multi-day jams are fairly inexpensive. Most also allow you to attend for a discount by doing work exchange. If you’d like to tell me a little bit more about your situation, I may be able to help you further. I’ll also send you an e-mail in case you prefer to communicate directly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.