TEACHERS AND ARTISTS
Ray Chung is a performer, teacher, engineer who has a passion for dancing which he likes to share with other people. His main focus is improvisation and he has worked with Contact Improvisation since 1979 as part of improvisational performance practice and integrates other movement forms into his work, including martial arts, bodywork and Authentic Movement.
Ray has worked with the leading proponents of Contact Improvisation including Nancy Stark Smith, Steve Paxton, Nita Little, Lisa Nelson, Peter Bingham, Chris Aiken, Andrew Harwood, and regularly collaborates with dancers, musicians, and other artists. Ray has also been certified as an instructor of shiatsu by the Shiatsu Education of America in 1982, and has studied with Wataru Ohashi, Ryuho Yamada, and Shizuto Masunaga.
His work has been featured at numerous national and international festivals and venues. Currently based in San Francisco & Sweden, Ray regularly teaches abroad.
MORNING INTENSIVE: READY
What does it mean, and what is necessary to be ready to engage in CI physically, mentally, emotionally, and creatively? What level of mobility, agility, and flexibility can widen the spectrum of possibilities in one’s practice? Which cognitive faculties, both conscious and unconscious, facilitate a wider range of choice making? Could one’s level of experience be a deciding factor on how and what one wants out of their practice? How do we inform our practice via our experience?
These and related subjects will be the focus of this intensive. We will delve into various practices to activate and enable new ways of engaging in habitudes. The act of practising can tend to form habits and patterns of movement that repeat themselves. Such habits or patterns may be undesirable, but by totally embracing these movements that arise from such improvisations, one is embracing the unconscious and trusting in it.
Nina Martin is a choreographer, pedagogue, dance theorist, and performer. Centered in the phenomena of perception, composition, and spontaneous movement, her research springs from 40 years of embodied research and applied dance. She is an artist member of Lower Left Performance Collective engaged in cooperative inquiry and with whom she developed dance systems: Ensemble Thinking and ReWire Movement States. This research complements her long practice in Contact Improvisation. Moreover, Nina is a professor of dance at TCU School of Classical & Contemporary Dance and hosts Performance Labs in Far West Texas in the cultural center of Marfa. She has served on the faculties of UCLA’s Department of World Art and Cultures and New York University’s Experimental Theatre Wing as well as guesting at universities across the US and in Europe, Asia and Canada since the 70s. She has worked and studied with artists such as Steve Paxton, Deborah Hay, Simone Forti and Lisa Nelson.
MORNING INTENSIVE: BIG PICTURE PERFORMANCE LAB – CI through a Performance Lens
Nina and the participants will immerse themselves in dancing that focuses on forms naturally occurring in improvisational dance performance: Solo Body, Contact Improvisation Body, and Ensemble Body. Improvisational dance in performance challenges us to move comfortably within all three of these forms to embody the performance of improvisational dance as an art form.
Dance systems: Articulating the Solo Body, Contact Improvisation, and Ensemble Thinking (developed with the Lower Left Performance Collective from Martin’s embodied performance research practice) prepare dancers to experience the deep satisfaction of dancing as part of an ensemble that recognizes and supports the dancing of every individual in the group while also functioning as a cohesive performance ensemble. Warm-ups in Solo and Contact Body practices flow into Ensemble Thinking concepts as a frame for our open score dance in performance.
Anya is originally from Alaska and currently resides between Berlin and Colorado. As a queer white person, they orient their work towards cultivating radical aliveness as an artist-activist practice, with intersectional collaboration at the core of their work. With 20 years of experience in contact improvisation, they consistently teach, practice, and perform internationally, approaching contact improvisation as a fundamentally queer form.
Anya is devoted to practising, researching, teaching, and performing experimental contemporary dance, contact improvisation, and somatics through anti-oppression methodologies. Her work has been produced/supported by various entities such as Movement Research at the Judson, Tanzfabrik, Dock 11, Workshop Foundation, ImPulsTanz, freeskewl, La MaMa, Los Angeles Performance Practice, REDCAT, Tanzquartier, SFDI, WCCI Jam, The Field Center, and Guatemala Department of Culture, among others.
Anya co-directs The Love Makers, a project-based experimental dance company, alongside Makisig Akin. Anya has collaborated with and/or performed for Sara Shelton Mann, Nancy Stark Smith, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Karen Schaffman, Eric Geiger, Karen Nelson, and Nhu Nguyen. Holding an MFA in Dance Theatre and trained in the Feldenkrais Method® under the direction of Elizabeth Beringer, she is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Colorado Boulder.
MORNING INTENSIVE: CONTACT IMPROVISATION AS A HIGH-RISK PRACTICE
This contact improvisation workshop will research strategies for cultivating queer wildness in our dancing bodies.
We will develop athletic endurance and soft patient specificity. We will foster round and permeable bodies as open systems as we cultivate pathways of aliveness, agency, and imagination. We will work with rolling, sliding, falling, flying, disorientation, momentum, duration, soft collisions, weight support, composition, and more. This will support and be supported by detailed work around sensitization, pressure, intention, tone, direction, timing, quality, and sequencing. We will develop skills for more attenuated listening, consent, boundary setting, and risk-taking. Some things may feel boring and some things will be thrilling — it will all inform the range and humanness of our dancing.
This workshop will be deeply physical and deeply political. We will expand the possibilities of what a contact improvisation dance can be through intimately being in the unknown together. We will work with contact Improvisation as a high-risk practice that activates bravery, collective care, chaos, transformation, specificity, accountability, and more. We will question, we will research, and we will play. We will dance with the bodies that we have as the people we are.
Iwona wears many hats in the art world – she is a dancer, improviser, choreographer, and a dance teacher. As a Somatic Movement teacher following the approach of Body Mind Centering®, she passionately shares her knowledge in this field. Iwona is also the founder and artistic director of the Eksperymentalne Studio Tańca (Experimental Dance Studio, EST) in Cracow, PL.
She dances, performs and teaches at workshops and festivals all over Europe. Notably, she performed at the Improvisation Festival at the Judson Church in New York, at the George Washington University and at the Dartington College in England. Currently, she shares her knowledge at places like Hurtowania Ruchu and dance degrees in Łódź and Cracow among others. Iwona’s artistic and teaching style blends contemporary dance techniques with somatic methods.
Iwona gained her knowledge at George Mason University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Calgary. Her portfolio includes choreographies, improvisational and site-specific projects, as well as collaborations with musicians. She teamed up with the musician Marcin Janus and the designer Grzegorz Kaliszuk, and created improvisation projects with Renata Piotrowska, Michael Schumacher, Natalia Iwaniec, Anna Haracz and Paweł Konior, and Jacek Owczarek’s Pracownia Fizyczna.
MINI-INTENSIVE: RESONATING – SENSING ACTIONS IN SITE-SPECIFIC
During our site-specific labs, we’ll play with various approaches to the environment we encounter on our way. Our intent is to deepen our understanding of the space, stretching the duration of our exposure to specific stimuli. We’ll connect with the surroundings. And with time, we’ll explore how we could possibly deepen and develop such connection further.
Some of it will come from resonating with the place – to reveal more about what this space is holding; what moves us there.
Some will come more from our senses and our mindful presence – clear and ready to choose what we want to play with.
Some from quickly reacting to what we are passing – taking it as the landscape provoking a certain way of moving.
Some could come from observing patterns of movement already existing in the space – matching them and developing further.
So, we will attune our bodies to be ready to observe, manifest, express, and create.
We will work with short scores – having some samples and mini-play-like performances.
Zuzanna Bukowski started dancing at the age of 4 and continued her embodiment practices through martial arts, ballet, yoga, modern dance, and Axis Syllabus. She has been deepening her embodiment practice under the influence of various international contact improvisation and contemporary dance teachers.
Currently, she is deeply interested in applying movement principles highlighted by the Axis Syllabus into the practice of contact improvisation, as well as the Underscore structure. She is passionate about the impact of connection between body and mind, which she continues to discover through her work in coaching, IT, and dance.
Teaching dance, co-organizing the Thailand Contact & Movement Arts Festival, Warsaw CI Flow Festival and working as an IT Consultant gives her the balance between headspace and movement art.
MINI-INTENSIVE: MOVING ME, MOVING YOU – SOLO INTO CI
In the workshop we will dive into the world of researching our own movement patterns and breaking those, before we get into contact with one another. We will focus on different CI principles using the lens of the Axis Syllabus to refine our movements and create more potentiality in our moving structures. Exploring those alone, in specific patterns and partner work shall deepen the understanding of the concepts.
We will dive deeper into the concepts of landing pads, tensegrity and how our bones are moving in the body. Asking questions like: How can meeting the floor be a soft experience? How does biodynamics can make our moves smooth and strong at the same time? And how can we keep our own flow while moving with someone else? We will jump, roll, research, soften, listen to good music and have fun with great music. We’ll also incorporate choreographic patterns to smoothly transition into solo movement, ensuring a mix of learning and fun throughout the workshop.
Katarzyna is a psychologist who has completed a school of integratively oriented DDA/DDD psychotherapy. She practices dance and movement – improvisation, contact improvisation, and body awareness techniques, which she uses in her work with the artistic collective SzurSure, in psychotherapeutic sessions, and in everyday life.
She explores movement and touch as an alternative form of communication and a tool for personal development in adults and children. In her practice, she combines knowledge acquired in the realm of classical psychology with body-oriented work, which gives her a broader perspective on the human psyche and the processes that occur within it.
In 2018, she completed a course in experimental choreography at the Center in Motion.
CLOSENESS IN MOTION
Cultivating relationship through movement in a one-hour workshop for children and parents
“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.
Klara specialises in being ‘in-between’: in between art and science, in between dance and psychology, in between embodiment and running thoughts, in between improvisation and the need for structure.
She started by studying theoretical physics but obtained an MA in Choreography and Dance Theory and completed a PhD in psychology. Her PhD thesis explored creativity and flow experience in group dance improvisation (University of Plymouth, UK). For the last few years, she has carried out empirical and embodied research on the role of contact with nature at the University of Plymouth and the University of the Philippines (Open University).
She has now decided to try to be a little more sensible and coherent in her interests, so she has returned to researching dance as a research fellow at the University of Warsaw, focusing on the role of embodied communication, touch, and all positive side effects that come from practising dance (contact) improvisation.
She is also a curator and organizer of Warsaw CI Flow, Movement Labs in Warsaw (Poland) and co-organiser of CI Totnes Jam in the UK. She has collaborated with ColLab in Bristol since 2018. She continues living, dancing and researching between Plymouth and Warsaw.
Photo: Inna Arya Pavlichuk
Underscore is a mindful jam practice in Contact Improvisation developed by Nancy Stark Smith, one of the founders and global educators of CI. The Underscore structure allows for a full spectrum of energetic and physical expression, embodying a range of forms and changing states.
The Underscore practice is described and structured, yet unpredictable. It moves through a wide range of dynamic states, including long periods of very small, private, and quiet internal activity, as well as other periods of higher energy and group dance.
Before the practice, Klara will lead a 45-minute introduction, during which she will present the structure and make us familiar with Nancy’s language, vocabulary, and ideograms describing the possibilities and states of Contact Improvisation.
Tomasz is a dancer, performer, and teacher who specializes in Contact Improvisation and partnering classes, as well as facilitating jams. Over the past seven years, he has been a co-creator of the Szur-Sure performance collective and the Oddaj Ciężar partnering group.
In the realm of Contact Improvisation (CI), Tomasz delves into the boundless possibilities of movement and explores various influencing factors: the dynamics of the partner relationship, intention, body awareness, and attention. He encourages everyone to cultivate a profound trust in their own bodies. Recently, his focus has shifted predominantly towards exploring the softness and calmness of the body in inverted positions.
CI LAB: CALMNESS AND SOFTNESS IN INVERTED POSITIONS
During the lab, we will explore how to maintain calmness and softness of the body while entering inverted positions with a partner. We will learn effective techniques for working with the body to support upside-down lifts. We will search for natural connections, using dynamics and weight transfer, which will naturally take us into inverted positions. Throughout the class, we will practice several transitions and lifts. The workshop is designed for movers with basic experience in handstands.
Filip Wencki is an educator and devoted practitioner specializing in improvisation and Contact Improvisation techniques. As a kinetic artist and visionary of movement, for many years he has explored the realms of somatic communication, both in terms of performance and personal growth.
With over fifteen years of deep immersion in movement improvisation, dance, and physical theatre techniques, Filip’s creative journey spans directing, performing, and sharing his knowledge across the globe. He has had the privilege of working and teaching in various countries, including Ukraine, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and more.
CI WORKSHOP: EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION IN DANCE
Filip will share with us a distinctive approach to contact improvisation. He is intrigued by the delicate balance between allowing the body to respond naturally to a wide spectrum of stimuli, encompassing both the physical and emotional, the internal and external, and the necessity of exerting control. This is a state in which the body leverages acquired skills, such as the art of safe falling or fluid movement achieved through relaxation, alongside inherent reflexes and instincts, like evading potential collisions or injury-inducing scenarios. It represents the simultaneous coexistence of bodily autonomy and control, creating a unique state where the mind hovers in suspension while the senses sharpen to their fullest extent. It is a condition marked by total relaxation yet, paradoxically, an absolute readiness for movement. It encompasses working with a full spectrum of muscle tone, mastering the ability to harmonise with others while offering counterproposals. It represents a quest for beauty within motion, an exploration of the truth embedded in the body, and the electrifying force that propels expression and creativity. Well, it is fun too.
A viola graduate of the Academy of Music. St. Moniuszko in Gdańsk and Koninklijk Vlaams Conservatorium in Antwerp. She also plays the violin, sings and composes her own music. She performs in both classical music concerts and those related to other music genres. She has worked with bands, such as The Frozen North (post-rock), Ba Bu (original cover arrangements for three voices and looper) and with Emma Bonnici (folk, traditional songs).
She engages with various art genres, i.e. composing music for dance performances (series of performances ‘Connected’ / Fundacja Sztuka Ciała) and drawing inspiration from painting and sculpture. In 2014, at the Museum of Modern Art, she presented, together with a group of independent artists, a series of concerts bringing echoes from the exhibition of the sculptor Maria Bartuszova. In 2015, she created music for the radio play based on St. Barańczak’s “Winter Journey” (Studium Teatralne). In 2017, alongside Dominika Jarosz, she played music for a concert inspired by Angelika Kauffmann’s painting “Ariadne Abandoned by Theseus” (at the exhibition of one painting, Łazienki Królewskie). In addition, she regularly connects with dancers, creating live music for improvisations.
Currently, she is working on solo material. She is passionate about baroque vocal music, which she explores under the eye and ear of Dr Agnieszka Budzińska Bennet.