Contact Improvisation definition
My definition of CI for today it might change tomorrow):An open ended
exploration of One or More bodies in Space, utilizing the contact points with the earth, water,objects,or partner/s as a way to be more fully embodied(alive
and knowing it in one’s
own body),and as a
beautiful excuse to dance
together and alone,with
touch and without.
If we wish to write about contact improvisation we must first attempt to define it, even
if just to give a starting point in which to work from.
In the risk of trapping a living
practice into concepts created by words, we can also realize for our self’s what it is that
interests us, and maybe
relax the fear we have about defining what it is we do when we
do it, and what it is that we are searching for through our practice.
Nothing will be lost
by this attempt, something might be gained.
We can allow definitions to change as we
change, and keep
in mind the
understanding that we can allow the words to point at
something which they cannot grasp.
I would like to put the emphasis on the “open ended exploration”. What is open ended
and what is exploration? Open ended is hinting at growing /evolving,
and a sense of
timing which is not defined, this gives space for a form to be a living practice. Combined
with “exploration” there is a huge subtext meaning we seek less for a specific goal, but rather a mutual space where the dance can unfold between bo
dies, and interests are
expressed without effort. The goal ( if I allow myself to use this word which always attracts a bad reputation, but is actually
subtly floating around
as my changing wishes
and intentions) itself is not on a specific outcome, but rather on the quality of space and communication reached between moving bodies. Only the bodies in motion can recognize their changing interests and follow the subtle qualities and textures they wish
to create. In this I Include the physical sensations as well as the emotional rainbow, which can be encouraged by a dancers chosen style of movement and skill. The style is
the moment to moment decision making , combined with the body’s ingrained movement patterns, which has the subtle affects on the content (the outcome of the decision making process)
of the dance.
So far for defining
(which in itself has some intentions clarified), here is my attempt at a manifesto
a declaration of intentions:
Contact improvisation is a practice which will remain open and defined by as many
people who wish to define it by their experience.
Contact Improvisation encourages the practice of it, at least as much if not more than
the discussing about it. Contact Dancers will make an honest attempt to keep their systems (the moving b
ody)open to new information and remain in the spirit of “not
knowing everything”. Contact dancers will also make an honest attempt not to harm
others physically or emotionally by intention.
The practice of contact improvisation dance as manifested by ind
together in what might be called a community, will make(individuals in the community)
an honest attempt to recognize preferences, while relaxing the notions of hierarchy
around such issues/subjects as: Jams/dancing with music or silently, Soft dancing asopposed to
rough and wild dancing, Dancers that wish to listen and dancers who wish
ignore all listening, dancers who wish to be intimate and those who do not, dancers
with dance pants as opposed to dancers who insist on wearing jeans. These qualities will
be recognized as qualities, not better or worse, but qualities in which the contact dancer
can recognize his changing preference as it changes and when it changes, and hopefully
it will become a choice rather than a default.
In this spirit silent jams will be treated as: Silent, but not holy. In this wish I expose my
preference of atmosphere which is respectful, yet at the same breath non serious. In the
same manner I Believe Contact Dancers shall treat each others Body with respect, while
not taking themselves too seriously.
Contact Improvisation teachers and those who wish to share the interests they have
acquired from experience in Contact Dancing , will support other individuals who wish
to Teach, by recognizing that each style and met
hod of teaching help enrich both
students and teachers by
learning through contrast, and by allowing many voices and approaches which will attract a variety of people. This recognition will encourage Contact as a form of knowledge to be free to flow and trickle to unexpected places.
My intension is for contact dance to promote such qualities/practice as : self exploration through motion, allowing rest in togetherness, practicing breathing with other bodies, using contact improvisation dance as a mirror for our own issues outside of the dance,
realizing different aspects of our sense of boundary, taking pride in a practice rooted in physical attributes such as weight sharing, sharing a mutual center of gravity, increasing skin and muscular sensitivity of resp
onse as well as the skeletons intelligence around
organizing itself efficiently, while also giving recognition for the ongoing play of emotion
and moods throughout the practice.
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