States of Grace
Contact Improvisation, Embodiment, and Collaboration
Can we access and change physical, energetic, and conceptual states easily and as called for? Can we work from deep somatic absorption and compositional awareness at the same time? In this workshop we’ll be engaging with the full spectrum of dance improvisation work that Nancy and Mike are currently exploring using Contact Improvisation (CI) as a base. This includes CI technique and practice, improvisation scores (including the Underscore), compositional skills (including Mike’s 86 Aspects of Composition), doing, not doing, detailed listening practice, and discussion. “States of grace” is what can happen when all the balls are in the air at once: solo dancing, contact improvisation, non-CI improvisation, contemplation, composition, listening, performance, knowing, not knowing, and humanity. We’ll experiment with making choices, finding ways to tune our dancing and awareness so we can improvise more consistently with freedom and focus— ready, embodied, articulate, generous, innovative, artful, and compassionate, with and without live music.
Simple, complex, simple.
A few spaces have become available again in this workshop.
To be considered to take part in this workshop, please send an online registration and a few sentences about your CI experience and your reasons for wanting to attend this workshop to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Although levels in CI are difficult to assess, your CI practice should comfortably include: fluency with falling, rolling, weight taking and giving, being upside down, dancing with disorientation, following a point of contact, working with subtlety (and exertion), and improvising in physical contact. Other background in dance and improvisation a plus.
The (Global!) Underscore is part of the workshop and is happening at Tanzfabrik Wedding - Uferstudios!
Nancy Stark Smith first trained as an athlete and gymnast, leading her to study and perform modern and postmodern dance, greatly influenced by the Judson Dance Theater breakthroughs of the 1960s in New York City. She danced in the first performances of contact improvisation in 1972 with Steve Paxton and others and has since been central to its development as dancer, teacher, performer, writer/publisher, and organizer. She has traveled extensively throughout the world teaching and performing contact and other improvised dance work with Paxton and many other favorite dance partners and performance makers, including Ray Chung, Julyen Hamilton, Peter Bingham, Andrew Harwood, Karen Nelson, and musician Mike Vargas. She co-founded Contact Quarterly, an international dance journal in 1975 which she continues to co-edit and produce along with other dance literature. Her work is featured in several books and films, and she has been developing the Underscore, a long-form dance improvisation structure, since 1990. Her first book, Caught Falling: The Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas, came out in 2008. She lives in western Massachusetts. www.nancystarksmith.com
Mike Vargas began studying music in 1959. He started specializing in music for dance in 1978. He works as a freelance composer across the USA and internationally performing, teaching, recording, and improvising. For the past 16 years, he has been working around the world with Nancy Stark Smith. He teaches on the faculty of the Smith College dance department. He has released 9 CDs of his music. www.mikevargas.net