Venue for Contact meets Contemporary 2017:Entrance to Felix-Klein Gymnasium, Göttingen. Germany (July 2017). Photo: Andrew Wood.

Are you with me? A workshop with Marielle Gerke

This workshop was on Monday 24 July; part of Contact meets Contemporary 2017.

It’s been a long journey from Oxford, England – where I live – to Göttingen, Germany for this dance festival. But after this workshop, I feel that I’ve arrived – in myself; in my body.

The workshop has already started, and someone explains the introduction: we’re studying our skin. Marielle – the teacher, asked that we place two fingers from one hand on our forearm (for example left hand fingers on right forearm) and move the skin – pushing and pulling on it with the pressure from the fingers alone. It’s the movement of the skin we’re interested-in – how it stretches and rucks-up – rather than the underlying structures.

Next, we work with a partner –  Katrin is my partner. I kneel in a table position on the floor, and she uses the flat of her hands to move the skin on my back, shoulders, neck, etc. I am resisting the movement induced and not following it. Then the exercise changes:  we start following the skin – elastic –  sympathetic movements result. Marielle then suggests to us all, that the ‘giver’ – Katrin in my case – can use other parts of their body to induce the movement of our skin e.g her shoulder, pelvis, upper-leg.  Of course, this feels wonderful especially as my journey here was stressful including carrying a backpack.

We swap roles so that I am the giver and she is the receiver: I am moving Katin’s skin with my hands, and then other parts of my body. As Marielle then goes on to suggest, this quite naturally leads to dancing contact improvisation with our partner – jamming.

We all gather for the closing of the workshop: sitting in a circle on the floor. She ask for feedback: I feel that I’ve arrived, I say.

Marielle leads a closing: her hands are outstretched and her hands waving vigorously – we all copy. It looks great – a vibrant sea of shimmering hands in all directions. Marielle demonstrates the ending: she claps three times and rolls backwards – heels over head – out of the circle; we all follow in a higgledy-piggledy fashion to end, laughing.


Marielle Gerke on Facebook:

[Top photo: Entrance to the Felix-Klein Gymnasium, Göttingen venue for Contact meets Contemporary 2017 by Andrew Wood]

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