"FLOW & DRIFT"
WILMINGTON's CONTACT IMPROV & FREE FORM DANCE JAM
at Hope Recovery
3403 Winston Blvd, Wilmington, NC
$5 minimum donation
To music by DJ Bruddah Barry & others
Sundays from 3-5pm
February: 4,11 & 18
TIMES, LOCATION, DATES, FEES, FORMAT, etc
Mirla CRISTE THOMPSON
MIRLA CRISTE studied Theatre and Dance at Oberlin College, then choreographed and performed in the professional theatre and modern dance communities in and around New York City for ten years. She has since created, or collaborated in the creation of, original dance, dance theatre and theatre dance work all over the country. A self-professed contact improvisation (CI) junkie, Mirla’s work to develop Contact Theatre, a physical theatre modality that integrates CI into dramatic environments, has resulted in performances locally, nationally and internationally.
About the class:
Our class will touch on basic elements of contact improvisation (CI), as taught by Nancy Stark Smith in the early 1980s. We will follow an arc that includes some or all of these: listening and following, partnering the space, gentle weight sharing, falling gracefully. We’ll end with minute duets or a round robin, to segue into an open jam. No prior experience with CI is required.
JOHN ELLIOT GRAY
John Elliott Gray
received a communication studies degree from University of NC, but receives most interesting communication studies with each and every improv contact dance. He's been contact improv dancing for 5 years, falling in love with it in the Puna section on the island of Hawai'i offering several ecstatic dances per week to study this communication. He's been an official student in classes and has officially taught classes, but views each dance as potent opportunity to learn and teach simultaneously. Each dance is a unique conversation between the unique individuals involved.
The conversation flows freely with attunement to touch and is ironically hindered by typical conversing tools like thoughts and words. In real time, the communication becomes the thing that is being communicated to create. This creation can be referred to as a dance, an art, a therapy, an exercise, a collaborative game, a cooperative sport.
There are no leaders nor followers, no losers, hopefully only winners, with the goal being to safely create an experience together. Since these experiences are improvised there's no bounds as to what they may be. They often hold as many surprises for those actively in the experience as they do for any spectators, thus making this thing that is already so many things into yet another thing; a ride. This is John E's favorite view of this form since it transforms everyone on the planet into a fun ride that can only be operated with the help of one another, simultaneously learning and teaching one another how to operate the ride.
No matter how you view contact improv, albeit a dance, therapy, game, ride, or conversation; it's a metaphor for humans helping each other, something we're all trying to achieve in one way or another.
In this class we'll explore this metaphor by exploring what we can create together through the simple act of touch.
I teach a beginner/foundations of contact improvisation class for people who are totally new to this practice.
We engage with concepts of touch and connection before actually touching. We discuss consent and try things out slowly and gradually. I focus on LISTENING/RESPONSE, SLOW MOTION, and ANATOMY.
Some of the best Contact Improv sessions I have ever had were slow motion practices, so I believe in the teaching power of slowing things down which helps us feel more in control and also makes visible the moments where we tend to skip steps between our ideas of what we want to do and the actual execution of a movement, or the present moment and the reality of what is needed right now. We have to remain in the present moment in this practice. Timing is crucial, and this leads us back to being in the moment and ensuring that support structures can be in place to keep us safe.
We also look at the biomechanical physiological reality of our bodies: How do I engage with my partner in ways that do not hurt them or myself, how much range of motion is too much, what sorts of movements can for example the shoulder joint execute and how do we minimize injury potential?
See the calendar for upcoming classes/workshops.