Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Touching Base with Contact Improvisation

On Tuesday, October 23, Lori Teague, Director of Dance,  will be leading a Contact Improvisation Jam as part of the Opening the Space series.  Teague touches base with us with her perspective on contact improvisation in preparation for this event. 

1. How do you think contact improvisation best helps us as movers?
Contact Improvisation (C.I.) is mostly about exploring weight and flow in the body in three-dimensional space.  The timing and pacing of the movement is determined by the two, or more, bodies that have connected.  Concepts we explore in technique class, such as being grounded, transferring weight in any direction, or leading with various body parts are utilized while the mover is in the act of improvising with someone who is doing the same.  C.I. develops a sensitivity to someone else's timing while simultaneously deepening how they are moving from the inside out.  You are sensing through the skin; you are understanding leverage; you are following your own impulses and listening to someone else.

2. What do you think is most difficult for beginners to grasp when first trying contact improvisation?
Probably touch itself, and that is directly related to giving weight to your partner and the trust involved in that process.  Because C.I. is inherently intimate there has to be immediate abstraction— a way of discovering movement choices without a personal way of identifying with the source. I am not saying that you are detached. I am saying that you move your body and feel their body as an element, a mass of weight leveraging, skimming, following.  Our inhibition with touch is attached to social and psychological components of our lives. We can simply move and be moved by someone else by responding to an environment of tone and landscape.

3. What is your best piece of advice for all contact improvisers out there?
C.I. is incredibly fun.  The range of ideas and possibilities are magnified through touch, trust, community, and self-knowledge.

All Opening the Space events are free.  Please see our Facebook page for more details. For information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website

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