Beginning Contact Improvisation workshop 21 Jan 2023, Aundre Goddard - over-dancer, Andrew Wood under-dancer. Photo: Gill Williams

Beginning Contact Improvisation, January 2023

I taught a day workshop on 22 January for people beginning contact improvisation. My good friend and dancer Aundre Goddard attended. During the Covid pandemic we’d created dances outside in the park but now ‘post covid’, I could finally introduce Aundre to my favourite dance practice: contact improvisation.

There were a number of techniques taught at the Beginning Contact Improvisation workshop.

Duets where dancers are sat on the ground back-to-back, is a starting point for a few movement sequences or pathways. Two movements which can both start from sitting back-to-back are the ‘serve’, and movement into table – where one dancer travels to balance on the back of another when they are on all fours,

Starting back-to-back is perhaps the least intimate or challenging approach for most dancers new to the practice of contact improvisation. It’s a good place to meet and to begin. It also emphasises movement without the use of sight in sensing our partner’s presence.

Movement into table

The particular sequence above shows movement into table both from sitting (half way through the film), and from dancing – shown at the start of the film,

The serve

The ‘serve’ as it’s known is a way to roll over your partner who is laying on the floor face down. Aundre described it as ‘roly-poly’ over your partner – which it is! The serve also involves the over-dancer raising their pelvis and allowing it to fall over their head to exit.

The serve shown in the above film shows the over-dancer (me!) correcting their travel or posture to move in a perpendicular fashion over the middle of the under-dancer’s back. Yes, you could say I did it wrong … but that’s what improvisation is all about – improvising!! Besides, second try – it was text-book perfect.

Falling is fun!

While the Beginning Contact Improvisation workshop often used the starting point of sitting back-to-back, the film above shows the there are other pathways into table including from standing. It does involve a lot of trust to your partner. But it can be an unexpected joy and fun. Hence this film is entitled: falling is fun!

I used this film in the publicity for a subsequent class called ‘Falling in love with falling’ in March 2023.

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