Contact Improv

Contact Improvisation (CI) is a dance form in which points of physical contact provide the starting point for exploration through movement improvisation. It is also a lineage, a community and a body of knowledge that has intentionally avoided codification, and in doing so has allowed for a wide range of interpretations and styles to be expressed through the form.

My CI offerings focus mostly on how our relational and psychological patterns are found in our bodies’ unique experience and movement expression.


EMPATHIC CONTACT

Deepening ground, center, and edges for attuned connection on and off the dance floor.

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SoulPlay 2019. photo by Candace Smith

How can we use Contact Improvisation to cultivate a deeper sense of kinesthetic awareness, and expand our empathic sense and deep listening? This class, open to all levels, is an opportunity to explore what happens when we deepen into subtlety in our contact dances. We’ll be playing along the spectrum of where somatics meets energetic frequency, and how an expanded awareness of these interrelated realms can aid us in accessing more fulfilling and dialed-in CI dances.

Combining conventional CI exercises with energy healing techniques, we first get grounded in our own bodies before exploring the realm of contact with others. Using solo, duet, and group scores we explore such questions as: What subtle changes do we notice when we dance with another? When we begin a dance with someone, is it possible for us to feel ourselves, feel others, and then feel the combination of both fields as we dance?


RELATIONAL CONTACT

Moving toward secure attachment through contact improv

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SoulPlay 2019. photo by Candace Smith

Employing subtle & basic Contact Improv principals, we let our bodies tell us more about how, when & why we move towards & away from connection. We’ll explore how to cultivate a deeper relationship with our ground & center through all of our relating, using movement & somatic exercises as ways to address & repair old body-based attachment patterns. Will include some neurobiological education about how attachment wounding is held in the body.


THE SPIRALING CORE OF CONTACT

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NCDC Dance Camp 2018. photo by Nile Sprague

Drawing from modern technique and Bartenieff Fundamentals, we explore the equal importance of the body’s core and limbs in CI. How does initiating movement from the center or periphery effect directionality, momentum, and balance in your dance? In this class we learn about landing gear & safety, the spiraling body, body halves, orientation to the floor when upside-down or in a lift, finding your way to the floor safely and risk taking. This class can be applied to all different levels of experience in CI.


WHERE HAVE THESE CLASSES BEEN OFFERED?

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SoulPlay 2019. photo by Candace Smith

Odessa has been offering classes and workshops since 2012 and at the following festivals and venues:

  • Ecstatic Dance Oakland (Wed nights)
  • DNE Dance Camp (Dance New England)
  • NCDC Dance Camp
  • SoulPlay Festival
  • HoneyRoot Summer Retreat
  • Enchanted Forest Gathering
  • Nevada City Contact Improv Jams and Intensives
  • Convergence- Ecstatic+Fusion Dance Camp
  • Ecstatic Dance Campout
  • Moon Mountain Gathering