The early days of Contact Improv – I’m fascinated by the art of falling, and how empowering it can be in contact.
A glimpse of what contact improv looks like on the other side of the globe. Even just watching the video is quite an experience.
A short instructional video on Contact Improv fundamentals – sharing balance.
A very touching and alive jam performance. I’m especially impressed by the lifts – the apparent ease and grace is just amazing.
It was the morning dedicated to Dance Dates; it was a beautiful and warm Wednesday morning. The lighting in Studio 12 was just stunning. Patches of light made beautiful patterns on the wooden floor. It was inviting and intimidating at the same time, but the coloring was comforting my anxiety. Most people were either in duets already, some warming up on the edges and others hanging out or just meandering back and forth around the edges of the dance floor. Perhaps some of them with no prospective partners in site, did not seem worried. A solo is always a great fallback option; you can ground and learn a lot about yourself before encountering another body in motion.
It was our day dedicated to Dance Dates. Thinking it was totally going to be my own struggle, I decided to take it with a different stride. A few years back we had introduced the dance date idea to our Jam programing. Along with the traditional one-on-ones, we liked the idea of offering another alternative for people to experiment and investigate. The precious moment of not being interrupted while dancing in partners was finally almost here. Setting aside some dedicated time during the Jam to have a Dance Date was an exhilarating and was giving us another high point in our efforts to making the 2015 Jam a memorable one. This was indeed, your chance to dance with your favorite person at this precise Jam. I remembered somewhere reading on one of Martin Keoh’s writing that he was very fond of the dance dates idea. So, knowing he appreciates this concept, I did not need any other justification to know it was a good idea.
After walking a couple of times between the kitchen in studio 12 and the registration table, I stopped in my tracks and saw someone new I had not seen yet at the Jam. I immediately thought that I wanted to dance with this pensive, rather tall and beautiful dancer, and I approached him, like nothing was scaring me anymore. I simply uttered if he was planning on dancing, and much to my surprise I added, before I could even digest my thoughts; I asked do you want to be my date? I asked for a few minutes to warm up. What was I thinking, he could be my son. But, then, I decided that age should not interfere in movement and energy creation, and letting go of judgment I went for it. I embarked on the best dance of my 2015 Jam.
The dance began slowly, soft short strokes of movement and connecting lines with our legs. The floor was our refuge at first, then the circularity started to show up in the most organic way. Awkwardness, which tends to accompany my duets especially with new people when I dance with them for the first time, ceased to exist. I was fascinated to discover that this young dancer was incredibly aware of his own center, he knew how to carry his entire spine, as his limbs were beautifully drawing and extending in space. It was the perfect invitation, to intertwine our axis to make intricate geometrical figures. With strength and solid structure the dance took us to a new dimension. I could clearly see and feel in my own structure and how our lines were connecting from my toes to our fingers. I had a clear connection to his spine, and was in awe. What a treat! Something that I like to inculcate in my students, this dancer had already embodied this basic element. The strength was there, the give and take as we started negotiating each movement was meshing very well. Our bodies just wanted to follow the instinct. Nothing to do, no need to impress anyone. Life was taking its own path, the dance was surprising at times, and momentum did not feel awkward. A few lifts even, which at this point in my dance, I rather not get involved in unless I know my dance partners. Not to sound pretentions, but I must protect my body. I noticed that my arms wanted to follow the movement of his spine, I could feel precisely how he was drawing the energy, his own and mine at the same time. Chemistry started to flow; I love recognizing it when it is present. I unconsciously started to take it all in, it was almost like the air I need to bread to keep alive.
Let’s drink some water, believe it or not, it was not an excuse to depart or end the dance. The dance continued and our friendship and student teacher relationship started. My favorite moment at this year’s Jam. Every year that I have been involved in this event I wonder what magical surprises will I experience.
Enjoy a short video of amazing contact improv dances!
There is no dance in Palo Alto this Sunday (Oct 25), so people from the community are dancing in Cuesta Park in Mountain View – 11am-1pm.
We added more Contact Improv classes and workshops to our website – check them out. And if you know about other workshops around the Bay Area that are not listed here – please write to us – we’ll be happy to list it.