Tuesday, October 7, 2008


The Great Lakes Area Contact Improv Enthusiast's Retreat (GLACIER) event is all about the dancing (and the community, of course) and I have not posted any pictures of contact improv dancing. This post will rectify that. It is difficult to convey just what contact improv is with a still photograph, though the gods know I have tried. There is so much movement, and such a lack of predictability, that getting that great dancer shot is elusive. Be that as it may, I try, so you can see.

Stefanie and Charles

There are more after the jump, so follow the link...

The dance is all about shared movement around a point of contact. That point (or points) of contact is highly variable. One moment it is arm-to-arm, then in a blink it is hip-to-back as the dancers use shared momentum and weight to create their dance in the moment.

Tamin and Dustin

When the studio is filled with dancers, the scene is more than passing strange to an observer. We use no music. The dancers use their own sense of rhythm and timing entirely in their moment. Some duets may be moving slowly, barely moving, while another may be whirling around the room.

Busy Studio

Tanja and Neil - Slow and Quiet

Contact improv is a very egalitarian form. There are no "Men's moves" and "Women's moves". Rather each dancer uses what s/he is capable of, offering a lift or accepting a ride. It is less about brute strength than about efficient use of momentum and structural support.

Thea supporting Michael

It is also quite normal for a duet to be two men or two women. Trios and other more complicated groupings are also likely. The form is physically very intimate, so strangers do not remain so for very long.

Davi and Dustin

Many people find the intimacy too much, and so do not enjoy the form. For those of us who crave touch, it is akin to a heavenly experience. After hours of hot, sweaty dancing, we often find ourselves collapsed into tangled masses we jokingly refer to as "puppy piles". It may not be for everyone, but it is certainly for me!

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