Contact Improvisation E-mail
Tuesday, 25 March 2008 19:10

Contact improvisation (CI) is a dance technique in which points of physical contact provide the starting point for movement improvisation and exploration. Contact Improvisation is a form of dance improvisation and is one of the best-known and most characteristic forms of postmodern dance.


Contact Improvisation's earliest roots lie in the 1972 explorations of a group of dance students under the leadership of Steve Paxton. Many of the those in Paxton's initial group were from Bennington College and Oberlin College. Today Contact Improvisation is practiced with a variety of intentions, having expanded ideologically beyond Paxton's early work. However, the core of Paxton's original work remains as a basis, expressed or not, of most if not all of Contact Improvisation's current forms. For instance, Contact Improvisation has been used by artists, performance artists, and dancers. It has been used in sensitivity trainings and in dance therapy. It has also been the subject of college dance courses, graduate level degree theses and scholarly books.

CI is practiced worldwide. Current CI 'hotspots' include Buenos Aires (where there are jams with over 100 people 5+ nights of the week), Eastern Europe (where there is an avid burgeoning interest), and other parts of Europe. Dancers meet in jams, where they dance informally, classes or workshops, festivals (some with over 200 participants) and classes at local studios or universities. Contact Improvisation informs post modern dance, new dance, site-specific work, and dance improvisation. There are those that practice it as a social form and delight in the community connection, some that practice it as an artistic dance form, and some that use it in performance. There are also wild CI anarchists that love the form, and find renegade places to explore.

Contact improvisation can be practiced as concert or social dance form. In the social setting contact improvisation meetings are called "jams" in which participants can participate or watch as they choose. The name is perhaps derived from the "jams" of jazz musicians, who come together to spontaneously explore musical forms and ideas.
Last Updated on Sunday, 08 February 2009 20:41