WELCOME to the Contact Improvisation Website for the UK * This site is designed to give an overview of opportunites to dance contact improvisation or attend workshops and festivals in the United Kingdom. There may be information that is out of date - we rely on voluntary updates. Please also check Facebook for current information and sign up for the Weekly Digest.
photo: C.Bartley at LCI 2013
What is Contact Improvisation?
Contact Improvisation is a dance form originally referred to as a "art-sport" in which the point of contact with another dancer provides the starting point for a movement exploration. It is most frequently performed as a duet, but can be danced by more people. There can be music or it can happen in silence. It is about sharing weight, rolling, suspending, falling, passive and active, energy and awareness.
"Contact Improvisation is a dance form, originated by American choreographer Steve Paxton in 1972, based on the communication between two or more moving bodies that are in physical contact and their combined relationship to the physical laws that govern their motion—gravity, momentum, inertia.
The body, in order to open to these sensations, must learn to release excess muscular tension and abandon a certain quality of willfulness to experience the natural flow of movement. Practice includes rolling, falling, being upside down, following a physical point of contact, supporting and giving weight to a partner.
Contact improvisations are spontaneous physical dialogues that range from stillness to highly energetic exchanges. Alertness is developed in order to work in an energetic state of physical disorientation, trusting in one’s basic survival instincts. It is a free play with balance, self-correcting the wrong moves and reinforcing the right ones, bringing forth a physical/emotional truth about a shared moment of movement that leaves the participants informed, centered, and enlivened." (From Caught Falling by Nancy Stark Smith and David Koteen)
The form has continued to evolve in various ways since it started 40 years ago but the basic principles remain the same.
*This site is made possible from financial support from London Contact Improvisation and donated time.