Sensing, Dancing and Performing
Jess Curtis (USA/DE)
How do our senses inform, support, interrupt and enable the (inter) actions we call dancing and performing? In this workshop, we will work from the most basic building blocks of experience, unpacking sensation, perception, impulse, emotion, attention, reflex, and reaction to create more space between them in which to develop performances and hone our performing skills. Layering sensory-motor experiences, we will surf through twisting topologies of flesh and blood to enact perceptual acrobatics that bring us into new dimensions. Creating scores and structures (or not), we will ask, “Is freedom the state of having choices or a state beyond choosing?” We will look at both possibilities and smash them together to see what kind of messy realities we can construct for ourselves. We will work in the sweaty modes of physical performance where weight, breath, momentum, desire and adrenalin intervene in conceptual structures to create pleasure, satisfaction and a rich range of performing experiences.
Feldenkrais into Contact
Simonetta Alessandri (UK/IT)
With the Feldenkrais Method, we direct our attention to internal sensations without judgment. Acknowledging the intelligence of the body and curious about new possibilities, we identify habits and clarify choices to promote efficiency, freedom, and a sense of ease that involve our whole selves. This specific way of cultivating awareness will magnify our senses, affecting the quality of our presence and alertness, nourishing the journey from the inside out while engaging in self-discovery and authenticity. We will find a felt sense of self that aims to be related to others and to the environment, to be experienced, reinforced and then transformed. When we meet a partner who has shared the same somatic process, we will find more sophistication in sensing, reading, and communicating during the physical conversation of Contact Improvisation. In this shared experience, we will gain more trust and feel the possibility of refreshing our CI vocabulary and exploring it in more depth by experimenting with hidden and unfamiliar pathways. Or by looking at the more familiar CI vocabulary from another perspective to enjoy authentic, unpredictable, and reinvigorated dancing.
Sebastian Flegiel (Poland)
I would like to bring some technical aspects to the world of somatic softening. I like to remind about the need for structure and strength in the practice of CI, which, in its early days, was branded as an art-sport. In a way I would like to take us on a trip back in time.
I feel that our physicality has its own, deep, inherent logic. Movement has its rules. By discovering them, we build a knowledge base that is recorded in the movement itself. Through practice and repetition we are expanding our potential for action. Skills become second nature, and movement becomes easy. Embodied technique becomes fearless freedom, and freedom brings joy.
For me, CI is a joyful interplay between our centres of gravity, where one leads and the other follows. This occurs when we experience the state of flow. This state transcends fear and dissolves blocks. It allows us to share the ever-changing reality of Contact Improvisation with a smile.
Guru Suraj (India) and Adrianna Michalska (India/Poland)
The state of improvisation in movement occurs between the thrill of the unexpected and the ability to organize one’s body in any given situation. This workshop is designed to explore the experience of ‘in-between’: between falling and flying, between old patterns and new possibilities, between the state of readiness and being unprepared. Practicing this state is anchored in the circular, dynamic, unpredictable, and changing world.
During the workshop will use tools that help us find and practice spiral pathways, flying, and falling. We will offer scores that help to tune into our spontaneous, creative, non-habitual movement. We will investigate how to be safe in the movement, and at the same time stay focused, alert ,and creative in our movement patterns. We will practice curiosity and keeping the improvisation alive while dancing and in everyday life.
Rosalind Holgate Smith (UK/DE),
Thomas Rocourt (DE),
Katarzyna Dańska (PL)
Soft Touch (Rosalind)
In this Contact Improvisation workshop we will explore bodies as collections of force, coalescing, disassembling and assimilating. Inspired by posthuman philosophy and notions of entanglement, we will look beyond boundaried ideas of individuality and humans as contained with singular sacs of skin, to attend to how we are becoming by inhabiting the relational spaces in and between bodies. As though swimming within the skin, we will begin by softening and dissolving. From here, we will immerse and spread outwardly to move in touch with others, and the surrounding environment looking at places we can listen, hover, find support and release through different substances. The soft touch techniques introduced in this session alter the bodies’ density to facilitate the dispersion of weight, tension and tone, making way for light and buoyant movement, and floating forms of flight. These techniques have been much inspired by my dance research in water that has opened up many omnidirectional movement possibilities and fine sensitivity to states of suspension and the fluidity of collective agency.
After the workshop I am keen to facilitate a discussion on eco-somatics, and on navigating consent within entangled ecologies.
Why do I dance? (Thomas)
Why do I dance? What brings me to contact improvisation?
What are my desires when I dance? What are my limits? Where is my pleasure in moving and making contact? What explorations are welcome?
When do I feel safe or not safe? What is my responsibility; what is my dance partner’s responsibility?
In this workshop, we will open up these questions… and a few others!
We will leave room for our feelings, which are our inner barometer. We will explore – with intention and with a supportive framework – our “yes’s, “no’s”, “maybe’s”, “stop’s”, “again’s”…
Contact Improvisation offers a (potentially) magical and revolutionary playground. As it turns 51 years old, consent remains a research topic for this practice. Let’s keep researching together!
In this workshop, expect to work with something other than technique. You are invited to explore and embrace reflection on several forms of making contact that you are familiar with from Contact Improvisation, which, in fact, reflect the broader context of non-verbal connections between people. We will practice kinesthetic empathy, which enables flow and attunement between dancers and is fundamental to sharing movement. We will go through Laban’s continuum of shape modality, which in the body form change reflects the different phases of the relationship between Self and Not-Self. This can be as much an opportunity to test one’s preferences as a chance to move through diverse improvisational choices.
Photo: Purnendra Meshram
Open inclusive practise: Spacemaking
Klara Łucznik (PL/UK)
This inclusive workshop considers individual communication and movement needs, including extra space, rest, or new challenges. The workshop is designed for participants new to CI and for those with years of experience.
Classes will be conducted in Polish and translated into Polish Sign Language.
(Non-Polish speakers are also welcome, always a challenge!)
How do we find structures specific enough to spark our movement creativity, and open enough to contain whatever it brings? In this workshop, I will share the practice of ‘open scores’. We will start from simple tasks that we will develop into a mulit-layered improvisation to investigate the complexity of movements, space and silence. We will deepen the contact with our bodies, other people and the surroundings. We will become more aware of the space and of the group. We will allow ourselves to notice the meanings, memories and contexts, and to play with scores until we find freedom within the constraints, and explore the performative aspect of the tasks we engage in. We will do this through dancing, observing, inquiring and appreciating, and above all by searching for solutions in our embodied selves. This practice has many inspirations, and yet my work with Adam Benjamin is the most significant in this context; I recommend his book Making an Entrance, where he discusses inclusive approaches to dance improvisation.
Photo: Katarzyna Sołtys
Closeness in Motion
Katarzyna Burzynska (PL)
Workshop for children and carers – cultivating relationship through movement
Kids, 1-7 years old with their carers: Saturday, 1pm – 2pm and 2pm – 3pm
Children, 7-12 years old with carers: Sunday, 1pm – 2pm and 2pm – 3pm
“Closeness in Motion” is an opportunity to connect with your child and with yourself. Parents and children will have the chance to experience a different form of communication and strengthen their parent-child relationship through movement activities based on elements of contact and improvisation, as well as working with metaphor. Touch is one of the most important elements of human development and the most important element of “Closeness in Motion”.
The fundamental principles of our meetings are pleasure, presence, and mutual mindfulness. This is a lesson in conscious and authentic movement, which is co-created in the parent-child relationship. Through movement activities, focusing on the body, and working with imagination, we integrate the activities of both hemispheres of the brain. This allows us to deepen the most important relationship in a child’s life and build it on safe touch, closeness, and trust. All of this is to be able to share experiences and needs, develop a sense of worth, being seen, and taken into account – important elements in a child’s life.
We will run, jump, roll, breathe, fly, and fall, laugh, and develop spontaneity. These are tools helpful in developing the four important elements of a good and supportive relationship: readiness to play, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy.
Zuzanna Bukowski (DE/TH/PL),
Tomasz Domański (PL)
Underscore Jam is a movement improvisation practice that was originally created by Nancy Stark Smith and further developed over time. The practice is designed to offer pre- and descriptive structured improvisation prompts to guide dancers in creating movement.
Participants are encouraged to explore their movement impulses while responding to the movements of others in the group. Guidelines and prompts give a framework for the improvisation, which can include contact improvisation, somatic, artistic and performance explorations and more.
The Underscore Jam provides a valuable tool for building community among dancers and fostering collaboration and communication through movement. This innovative approach to movement improvisation offers a unique way for individuals to explore their creativity and movement potential.
Be on time, we invite you to join us and experience the impact of an Underscore Jam by arriving on time and walking through the different Underscore sequences with us.
Photo: Marta Ankiersztejn
Paulina Święcańska (PL),
Regina Lissowska-Postaremczak (PL)
This year, we invite you to a special performance evening during which we will explore two worlds: the virtual and the real. We invite you to a dance fusion featuring dance films, improvisation, and live contact improvisation.
The medium of film and video is currently a space for many choreographic experiments and an original form of dance creativity development used by artists working in various dance styles and techniques. Creators specializing in the art of film often successfully include dance and physical expression as an essential narrative component due to their universality and distinctive aesthetic value.
During the performance evening, we will present five dance films selected from the international circulation of artistic films and combine them live with dance etudes produced by teachers of this year’s 14th edition of the Warsaw CI Flow Festival.
The curators of the evening are Regina Lissowska-Postaremczak and Paulina Święcańska.
Performance sharing (Jess’s intensive)
JESS CURTIS (US/DE)
Performance intensive participants take the stage in a final performance, showcasing their newfound skills in exploring the connection between sensation and action. They move through intricate scores, revealing the possibilities that arise when guided by their senses. The audience is invited to contemplate freedom as performers push boundaries of choice and constraint. Throughout the dynamic performance, participants engage with weight, breath, momentum, desire, and adrenalin, evoking a range of sensory experiences. The performance concludes the workshop, leaving the audience with a deep appreciation for the power of the senses in creating art and exploring the human experience.
Tuesday single classes
Site-Specific: Beyond the scheme
Tomasz Jimmy Kowalski (PL)
The world around us is full of patterns and repetitive shapes: pedestrian crossing stripes, trees planted evenly, waves on the water, road signs, human behavior and much more. When you look at these elements of the environment from a different perspective, when you give them different meanings, they become an inspiration, an impulse for improvisation and performance.
Leaves waving in the wind, hard concrete, soft grass, uneven and sloping surface, traffic.
We will observe how elements of the environment affect movement. And how these contain qualities that can be translated into the human body.
Affor[dances]: A Movable Laboratory
Joaquín Alfei (AR/BE)
The world is perceived not only in terms of object shapes and spatial relationships, but also in terms of object possibilities for action (affordances) — action makes perception.
- J. Gibson
Vinciane Despret, a contemporary thinker, pointed out that researching depends on asking the right questions. What she had in mindwere open questions, which yield a variety of answers. If we are up for thinking heuristically, science aks‘whether this is the case?’, philosophy wonders ‘what does it mean?’, and dance ponders ‘what happens if I do this again?’, Where the dance and dancer-questioner are engaged in practice as research, this is the perspective that we adopt for our joint dances and explorations.
‘Affordances’ may be thought of as a ‘relationscape’, that does not belong to the object itself or to the user, but is created by the relationship established between them. How can we reinvent affordances through a continuous dialogue of weight sharing with our partner(s), the practice, and the space? We will dance this (and other) question(s) with a profound focus on the essentials of Contact Improvisation.
In the studio, it may look like we are focused on weight-sharing, falling and sharing/asking questions. During this lab, we will dance; we will dance big and small. I will share with the group tools and containers for collective artistic exploration. Inevitably, mutual sharing of weight is a way of being in the unknown. We will find ourselves working and engaging with the unpredictable, attending to surprises, placing ourselves in the in-between, and meeting the ‘speed of our attention’ in dancing.
This is open for all levels of (CI) experience. Beginners are welcome, and especially for those with the curiosity to ask questions and to both affect and be affected by (or through?) weight sharing and falling.
Photo: Filip Błażejowski
Wednesday single classes
Body of finitude
Geraldin Acevedo Espana (CO)
Contact / basics / principles
By reclaiming the forces of nature available in the matter, we will create a more-than-bipedal human. Rolls, orbits, and helixes will be the key to exploring the spectrum of our vertebrate-nature’s presence.
The content is inspired by the wisdom of Material for the Spine by Steve Paxton and Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art and a foundational practice for CI, which aims at mastering the physics of motion/energy from a felt sense.
-How to see with the back side of the body?
-How to embody the sustainability of movement?
-How to recycle energy?
-How to make yourself lighter when you’re heavier than your partner?
-How to be a good base which embodies both stability and fluidity?
-How to remain aware and relaxed while flying and spiraling?
-How to use the momentum of falling to release and rise again?
-How to trust in the intelligence of the structure?
-How to practice mutual listening?
From Volume To Structure
Jesus Alonso (ES)
In this workshop we will focus on the somatic investigation of our bodies. The main themes are going to be the volume of the head, torso and pelvis and using them to go deeper into the connection with the structure of our partner. We will achieve a symbiosis between bodily forms, leading to a deep connection to our bones, that will finally develop into a very tuned-in dance.
OLENA POLIANSKA (UA)
We will focus on space and body sensations, checking how we touch the floor, where our body weight is, where our attention is, how many directions the movement has, and our awareness of self in space. We will give time for the sensory system to feel movement with skin, muscles and bones. To feel the sounds, vibration, and silence. We will focus on haptic communication with space. To help each other find their own directions of movement and dance.
HANNA JURCZAK (PL)
The first part of the jam will take around 40-50 minutes. During this time we are going to improvise with visualisation as one of the contact partners. Visualisation will give us more awareness of the space and composition. We will give more space to observe the performance happening between images. Afterwards we open jam to whatever comes.
REIMAR WEN SHEN (DE/CH/TH)
Vipassana in Contact
Insight Meditation meets Dance Improvisation.
Vipassana meditation cultivates a specific ‘way of seeing’. This technique emphasises a direct way of knowing the Body & Mind in the present moment. It is a way of seeing that leads to freedom from entanglement in our unconscious habits and patterns. It helps to see clearly what is happening from one moment to another.
In dance improvisation we aim to be fully open to ‘what is’. We strive to listen deeply and not to fall back on what we know. A direct access to the present moment gives birth to the wonder of improvisation that we get to express and explore through dance!
In this jam warmup, we’ll explore a way of looking that invites presence and curiosity to this very moment. We start right here.
Photo: Filip Błażejowski