We, Stephanie Maher and Dorte Bjerre Jensen, will be hosting an ongoing contact improvisation series throughout 2019 at Ponderosa, running from March to October.
We will use this series to co-teach, collaborate, and research the forms of contact improvisation, while embracing the atmosphere of the communal setting of Ponderosa, in and around the summer season.
Each event in the series will have a particular focus and core, while the series as a whole will build on the accumulated skill and dedication that each individual brings to our gathering.
These events will be loosely clustered into two parts — the early-season events will run from March to May, and the late-season events will run from August to October.
These workshops will provide practices and strategies for an ongoing commitment to contact improvisation — investigating the skills, the training, and the questions that emerge from a sustained practice of contact improvisation, and pursuing them wherever they might lead us.
Contact improvisation is, by its nature, an ephemeral, transient form — it is an eclectic type of movement, sometimes somatic, sometimes technical, sometimes philosophical. In these workshops, we will learn to integrate our technical skill, our improvisational self, and our capacity for deep listening, stillness, and serenity.
This is an open-level series — we welcome participants with all levels of experience, from beginners right through to experienced movers and contact improvisers. Participants are also welcome to join for just one weekend, for several events, or to participate intensively in the whole series.
Please note some of these events will overlap and co-exist with other events in the Ponderosa program — workshops, the P.O.R.C.H. training program, the Ponderosa Tanzland Festival, and more. Take a look at the program for all details.
Contact Improvisation Series 2019: March–May
18.–21. March, 2019:
Contact Improvisation: Words Become Flesh · With Dorte Bjerre Jensen
Springtime is — as the character of Jane Bennet remarks in Pride and Prejudice — the exceptionally strange combination of delight and disturbance. This time of renewal and remaking goes beautifully alongside the practice of contact improvisation.
In the beautiful garden of Ponderosa, the sensations of vibrant matter is profound, the sprouts are breaking the surface of the earth and life unfolding and appearing everywhere. In this workshop, we will experience the extending of nature with all of our senses, and incorporate this awakening and sensibility in the practice of contact improvisation. We will study, read, write, flesh our words, and dance. We will take as our point of departure this phrase: “contact improvisation is the physical act of posing a question about one one’s present circumstances.” (Daniel Lepkoff).
An open explorative laboratory for all levels. Remember to bring a notebook, colourful pens, and, if possible, paper and scissors.
22.–24. March, 2019:
Contact Improvisation: Kinaesthetic Attention · With Dorte Bjerre Jensen and Stephanie Maher
We will begin with varied improvisations and exercises of alignment work and somatic explorations. There will be a focus on floor work, including the understanding of weight, space perception, and fluid motion. The class will build from a released body to developing the correct tone and muscular balance needed to work safely and efficiently.
25.–29. March, 2019:
Contact Improvisation: The Art of Waiting · With Stephanie Maher
In contact improvisation, technique also means resting in passive poses, to open the body and to practice the act (art?) of waiting. Much of our focus will be on softening the spaces around our joints, active breathing, and receiving the unknown dances from the movement maps of our partners.
12.–14. April, 2019:
Contact Improvisation: Thought-in-the-Act · With Dorte Bjerre Jensen and Stephanie Maher
A somatically-based practice that will be part improvisation, part social sculpture. The work is deeply embedded in trusting the body and tacit knowledge. Can we track our experiences and recreate them through motion? What style or aesthetic is appearing? How far will our physical history carry us in communicating? Together we can create a ceremony of improvisations that share our accumulative nature and narrative history together.
3.–5. May, 2019:
Contact Improvisation: Kundalini · With Stephanie Maher
By incorporating the basic practice of Kundalini kriyas, we will accentuate the use of alignment, the energetic body and efficiency in our structural form. Let’s take a non-dogmatic look at the meaning in our movement. Sharing this with practicing the form of contact improvisation, we may find ways to incorporate duration, mobility, and skewing-what-is-useful to our improvisational tool box .
Contact Improvisation Series 2019: August–October
12.–16. August, 2019:
Contact Improvisation: An Event Dimension of Potential · With Dorte Bjerre Jensen and Stephanie Maher
Raising questions how we experience the form of contact improvisation compositionally. Can we prioritise non-doing as an option? Tracking energetic pauses, transitions and shifts in our immediate dance-making. Real structure, weight, and mass meets the alchemical mind. A potential for a new kind of spatial and interrelated perception of dancing with others.
Contact Improvisation: Telling It Like It Is · With Stephanie Maher and Dorte Bjerre Jensen
We will learn how the connective tissues of the body function, as an interconnected web which facilitates our strength and flexibility, allowing a heightened perception of our body in space. We will deconstruct habitual patterns that no longer serve us. We will search for a deeper clarity in how we touch and co-ordinate ourselves safely in a group, honouring our differences.
Contact Improvisation: Living Dialogue Space · With Stephanie Maher
We will deconstruct patterns and useful ways of finding coordination that no longer serve us. We will dive into an improvisational flow of integrative practices which draw from Kundalini Yoga, fake Klein Technique, Qigong, Contact Improvisation, release technique & Psychic Jogging! Our time will focus on the physical exploration and integration of our preconceptions of our various movement practices. Touch based healing? Goal orientated abstractions?Technique? Dance? back-space alignment ? Compositionally raising questions is where the use of an alchemical mind comes in. This focused potential can come into play for energetic pauses, transitions and shifts in our dance making and improvisational dancing.
Kundalini Yoga articulates and connects us to our energetic body. Kundalini is especially known to define itself “as a practice that is whatever you experience it to be”. We will learn the basic practice of Kundalini kriyas, which are exercises to raise body awareness, to activate the spine, and to engage in very specific breath work. We will accentuate the use of alignment and efficiency in our postures and activate questions about spiritual dogma, the meaning in movement and tune our attention to repetitive motion that possibly enhances strength, non-doing as an option and the need for freedom and fucking fun in our dancing bodies. Duration, mobility, and skewing what is useful in the improvisational toolbox of our lives.