Contact Improvisation in Amsterdam & Netherlands

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What is Contact Improvisation?

Read also: A Short Introduction to Contact Improvisation

What is Contact Improvisation:

Here is a definition from something called The Dictionary of Dance (no author listed - see if you can figure out their web site!)

contact improvisation:
A style and technique based on improvisation, in which the dancers support and utilize each other's body weight while in motion; attributed to dance artist Steve Paxton working in the United States, beginning in the 1970's; normally performed as a duet and without music, the emphasis is on touching, falling, lifting, leaning, sliding, counter-balancing, and supporting the weight of another person. Characteristics of sharing, cooperation, egalitarianism, and informality define the social atmosphere amongst performers and with the audience.

Other Notes:

drawing by: Edgar Jansen ( Edgar Jansen 2003)

A jam is a dance event in which people get together and do contact improvisation, or related types of improvisation.  It is not a performance for a seperate audience.  It is for fun.

The definition above says that contact improvisation is normally danced without music.  However in many jams there is music which adds another dimension to the form.  One can dance contact improvisation to to just about any musical style.  I can remember dancing to classical music, house, jazz, and often to experimental new forms or free jazz.  The freedom to dance to any musical style could arise from the fact that contact improvisation is not rhythmic in a literal sense; dancers are not required to move in a way that mimics a particular audible beat.  Instead the timing of the dance may be set by a kind of internal physical and emotional rhythm. Thus anything that inspires an emotional or physical response can in principle help to guide a dance.

Touch is not essential for contact improvisation.  Visual and aural communication between dancers provide plenty of inspiration to open the dance up.

The best thing to do to understand contact improvisation is to come see what its all about and to join in.


Read also: A Short Introduction to Contact Improvisation