Contact Improvisation

קונטקט ג'אם

Contact: To be connected to one’s self, to the earth, to life, to others, and especially to the space between bodies.

Improvisation: A movement created in the space between here and now.

Contact Improvisation is a meeting in motion – an approach to movement based on physical communication between the dancers, enabling investigations through touch, weight, direction, momentum and action.

Contact grants access to a real and sophisticated encounter between the dancer with their own body, with gravity, with the floor, and with other dancers in a way that allows for novel, engaging movement production. Listening simultaneously to ourselves and to another enables us to reach a unique media of expression, accessing places that we cannot achieve with a singular body. We can experience moments of coalescence, when the patterns that fix us in the moment move aside and grant us new possibilities, created in the context and presence of another body.

The technique first began developing in New York in 1972 by a group of dancers led by choreographer Steve Paxton. For several years, they experimented and tested the movement language in the studio and in improvisational performances open to the public.

Today, the technique is taught in classes open to the general public and in professional dance schools as a supplemental technique to improvisation and partnering. Famous dance companies in Israel and around the world (such as the Vertigo Dance Company, Inbal Pinto, etc.) use contact to train their dancers, applying the organic encounters created by contact in their choreography.

Contact and Contact Jam classes in Tel Aviv:

In Studio Naim, there are contact classes every week, as well as a class on the third Saturday of every month that introduces a special subject followed by an open contact jam.

Each class can be different from the previous one, focusing on certain concepts related to bodily awareness and weight-sharing. The primary goal is to build a movement vocabulary that comes from a deep understanding of the skeletal system, rather than muscular formations. Focusing on skeletal movement, one can achieve a certain sense of recognition and liberation in the body, by detaching from logical thinking and surrendering to instinctual and free contact and flow.

Tools to be learned and refined:

– Balance

– Proper structure and posture

– Working with gravity and the floor

– Grounding

– Softening

– Using the skeleton instead of muscle strength

– Understanding the anatomy in motion

– Listening to the information from the nervous system

– Sharpening of the physical senses

– Awareness of space around us

– Finding the dance within us, while creating a safe personal space for expression

– Listening to our body and the body of the other

– Learning how to negotiate weight sharing while dancing and using momentum

– Navigating bodily traffic

– Confidence in our own body and others’ bodies

– Tools for participation in contact improvisation jams

All levels of dancers are welcome to join. No prior experience is required. But experienced movement practitioners who want to freshen up the basics of contact dance are also invited. Arrive with comfortable clothes for movement. We will exchange partners frequently so that we can dance with different bodies, heighten our navigational skills, improve our trust, and cultivate new movement experiences.