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before the fall ~ pop-up jam

August 31 – September 3

Contact Improvisation Retreat

@ Gracewood studio / 4920 NE 55th / 97218


Wow, we share this profound practice of Contact Improvisation AND here are 3 days to explore in an urban haven, to make much more of a good thing!! 

I want to gather to ask what else is possible for us as a community! Think Swap Meet meets Inquiry. Use our practice to deepen our collaborative potential for more connection and support for one another, on and off the dance floor! 

 I want to play with the use of video, scores, improvised sound for movement, dancing outside as much as inside, to explore and discover with you! What are you interested in? Come as you are. Bring it! All are welcome. Mutual well-being is a relationship endeavor. More of a good thing. You in?


possible research topics ~ AUTHENTICITY & PLAY 

What is authentic? How do you know? If not authentic, then what? Why?

What is play? How do you know? If not play, then what? Why?  

What’s up for you? What are YOUR topics? Use the ‘leave a comment’ link in upper right corner of this page to prime the pump!


Scheduled sessions–    (studio available between scheduled times as well!)

Friday 31 ~ arrive from 5 & dance 7-10

Saturday 1 ~ dance 10-1  &  4-7  &  potluck and………….

Sunday 2 ~ dance 12-3  &  6-9

Monday 3 ~ dance 10-12  &  2-4  &  closing/leaving

Food potluck. Kitchen available.

Hot tub (bring towel). Fire pit. Trampoline. Rock band. Garden oasis. Instruments galore. Cool park ½ block away.    COME PLAY!!


Suggested donation-

$90 for the whole thing / $30 per day / $15 per session

Camping $10 per night. No pets.

NoOneTurnedAway & PayWhatYouCan (organizing is a time suck act of love so please do consider the value and pay /contribute as you are able).  Pre-event work trade is available. Thank you!

Use the paypal ‘donation’ button on the right of this page and email me at touchmonk@yahoo.com to declare your intentions.   Thank us.


Questions? email touchmonk@yahoo.com or call 971-334-4599






The WOW of Contact 2019

January 13-18, 2019

The 12th annual WOW of Contact

@ Breitenbush Hot Springs!!

w/ Touchmonkey (Carolyn Stuart & Patrick Gracewood)


You come. You show you what you do.

Aligning movement and presence we dance closer to ourselves and each other.


The retreat immersion is designed to support collaborative experimentation to grow our authenticity, agency and communion. By committing to curiosity we become more aware of what is and stretch into what else is possible. We’ll explore the idea that we can achieve unity through celebrating uniqueness. We’ll trust and invite our innate capacity to show up and shine and flow with what wants to happen!

The retreat develops each day from solo to partnered to group focuses. That said each is invited to stay connected to their needs in the moment. It is an experiment in collaborative liveliness and re-membering the awe in awkwardness.

Breitenbush Hot Springs and the heart of winter is a magical container to hold and support our journey into mutual well-being. We hope that you can give yourself the gift of joining us.


Retreat schedule-

~8-9 Breakfast

~9:30-11:30 AWE (Awareness Witnessing Experience) ~

A practice to hone and expand awareness of our experience in the present moment. With awareness comes choice- the freedom necessary to care for ourselves and others. (no music)

~1-2 Lunch

~3-5:30 Prompt & Circumstance ~

Deepening our C.I. research. Exploring the application of prompts to circumstances! Participation is divine.

~5:30-6 sharing/gleaning circle

~6-7 Dinner

~7:30-10:00 Evening events ~

Sunday-  Intro & Mixers

Monday-  Jamming Scores

Tuesday-  Performance Play

Wednesday-  TBD

Thursday-  Closing Party


To view the workshop details-   https://breitenbush.com/january-workshops/

To view the cost of lodging info-  https://breitenbush.com/lodging-descriptions/

To register you must call Breitenbush 503-854-3320. Please note the earlier the better to get the lodging you wish and definitely no later than one week prior, as they begin reallocating cabins at that time.

FYI- We have kept the presenter fee as low as possible to allow more people access. Out of that fee we return $93 per participant back to Breitenbush for additional retreat expenses. So, we cannot personally offer you a discount. But, you can apply to Breitenbush for scholarship funds by going to- https://breitenbush.com/scholarships/

AND until i can figure out how to get this page where it belongs you can go to the https://contactgames.wordpress.com/the-wow-of-contact/ tab to view general info on The WOW and documents of previous year’s WOW’s.

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RESET w/C.I. (see I)

P1090260October 21, 2017   10am – 7pm

Gracewood Studio / 4920 NE 55th / 97218



Daylong CI retreat

to see I see you see I

to reset our nervous systems

to inherent belonging and freedom

to remember and re-member

our power and our peace

in the one and only

here and now


to be




A day to drop, to reset.

Yay. You bet!


Format:  Check-in/Dance/Check-out. Repeat….  Co-create. Reset.

3 Dancing sessions @ 10-12 / 1-3 / 4-7

Potluck style noshing on breaks.

Hot tub. Bring towel.


$10/session & $20-40 (sliding) for the day

Register w/ payment using ‘Donate’ button to the right>

Questions- touchmonk@yahoo.com

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I have a perspective in CI

I have a perspective in CI. My spiel goes something like this-

In the beginning they (Steve & friends) explored moving while in contact. Finding much to share, they decided to offer it up as an ongoing, open, evolving exploration with one operative- to take care of yourself, first. Caring for one’s self infers the entirety of one’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. experience, as it is changing, in one and only now. And, since a first implies a second, it follows that we are to extend our caring to all that we’re connected to (think oxygen mask on an airplane).
Each explores moving while in contact, guided by what it means to care for one’s self in relationship! Exploration is infinite, unfolding and unique to each individual. Steve did what Steve did. You do what you do. Each owning their exploration contributes to the potential.
Rolling, sliding, pivoting, etc. at the point of contact are possible movement options* to explore, not what CI is.
CI is the dynamic, ever morphing dance that occurs when people connect and improvise while caring for all involved. It is deciding to meet and play with the diversity of our what is-es, guided by mutual respect and curiosity rather than rules and expectations. It trains us to attend to what is, as it is changing, and discover what else is possible. It trains us to be spacious and inclusive with the intent to care. It gives the paradigm altering possibility of mutual well-being in a time that begs for it. But, we have to show up and earn it as that is not how we’re hard-wired. It is a lifelong self-awareness practice in belonging and freedom.

*more on options at the point of contact @ https://contactgames.wordpress.com/writing/7-options/

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ACCEPTING (and playing with!) WHAT IS

photo(24)September 18-22, 2017

ACCEPTING (and playing with!) WHAT IS

POP-UP JAM At Gracewood Studio / 4920 NE 55th / Portland, OR / 97218

An alternative to the cancelled (due to fire danger) Breitenbush Fall Contact Jam!


Three sessions/day-  10-12  &  2-4  &  7-9   (except Tuesday the 19th we’ll dance at the Village Ballroom)

Limited camping available.

Meals potluck.

Hot tub.




$20/full day

$80/full jam

$20/night camping

Space is limited. Please register your level of participation by sending an email to touchmonk@yahoo.com 

AND pay with the ‘Donate’ (paypal) button on the right side of this page to claim your spot!


Housing may be found in the community by posting on Facebook pages-

Portland Contact Improvisation

sacred circle dance community – ecstatic dance in pdx


Questions? Email touchmonk@yahoo.com or call 971-334-4599


mayday mayday

wow, how/when/where/why it happened? dunno, but

i turn 70 on the 17 of the 17 of this two thousand

in the season of self-heal and forget-me-not

auspicious time for calling get-together

no duck and run for me this round

show up and commit to the fun

so be it. hope you can come!!!!

I’ve lined up my druthers below

to celebrate the complexities

existing in the earth plane

all this time with more

on it’s way. hurray.

for the dancing

and the love

with each




@ Gracewood Studio / 4920 NE 55th / 97218

Saturday  May 13   10-12pm  &  1-3pm   $10-20/session (nota;~)
C.I. Research into the Use of Scores for Dancing
Score. To organize intent, to rate outcome, to receive benefit. We’ll experiment with scoring our dances and explore the mind/body relationship? We all have one and we are each unique. What do we have in common, how do we differ?
The focus of naming my curiosity brings me closer to my experience of the here and now. In the here and now I enjoy the relaxation of being enough as I am. That is why I offer this research time.
I love to explore with others. I love how scores focus attention and expand options. Do you? If so, come. If not, are you curious? If not sure, come and find out!

All degrees of experience most welcome.

12-1 Potluck Lunch

4-7 C.I. Class/Jam as usual with added attraction of instruments available for immediate use to accompany the movement. And let’s potluck treats to celebrate 30 continuous years of Saturday Jamming!!


Sunday May 14  Mother’s Day

11-2pm  Split & stack firewood to help the mama.

2-5pm  Potluck to celebrate the mamas!  Studio will be available for dancing for those so inclined. Hot tubbing, too- come clean, bring towel.

Rain or Shine. Pray for sun, please!


In all ways, you are always the gift. Your presence is the present!!


I’ve a wish list to share-

*irises (seeking iris rainbow garden)

*cash  (inflation + aged equipment + teenager)

*miles  (aloha dreams + aging equipment + teenager)

*misc. help  (70 ain’t 17!)

Here’s to spring and relief, light and happy (and many more years of dancing dreams)

mayday. mayday.

only love.

questions? more info?

touchmonk@yahoo.com or 971-334-4599

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our process + performance example

~from a survey request in 2010 & example of said process from performance at 2008 Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation~

Margaret’s Ghost HD-complete

  1. Describe the style/genre of dance you work in:

Contact Improvisation

  1. How many years have you been presenting your own dance works (choreographed or improvised)?

33 years- 7 in modern dance, 26 and counting in C.I.     I’ll be describing the process of making dance performance pieces with Patrick Gracewood, my Contact Improvisation dance partner for over 20 years.

  1. Define the phases of your project process from initial phase to final form:

We begin by noticing what is. This means arriving and beginning by noticing what we are noticing. We notice what calls our attention, what is happening, what wants to happen? The noticing is all-inclusive, so beginning may occur in any way. We have begun rehearsals dancing, but also sleeping, eating, crying, flying, talking, gawking…..     We’re curious about what happens when we attend to what’s there, what wants to emerge. We follow that. Asking, allowing, noticing- going where it takes us. Acknowledging where we are takes us where we need to go. We watch the process unfold. We watch the process reveal the piece in all its elements; it’s nature, structure, sound, costume, environment etc. We notice when the piece is complete and how it wants to change as we perform it.

  1. What would you say are the biggest obstacles for getting your work from the initial stages to an endpoint:

Forgetting to trust in the process. Various kinds of stress can cause us to forget that the process will show itself to us. When that happens we go into trying to make something up and have to work harder for a much less satisfying experience.

  1. What would be the top three factors that have made your projects a success:

Remembering to notice what is, whatever that is. Trusting in, relaxing in the process. Following the process as it reveals itself.

  1. What would be the top three factors that could cause distress during your process:

The primary factor is losing the fluid awareness of what is as it is changing. If a particular stress consumes the attention then that stress becomes distress instead of simply more information in the process. Such loss of perspective has occurred when facing things such as time constraints, forms of performance anxiety, unconscious expectations and assumptions, etc.

  1. Working with other dancers either as a leader or in collaboration, how do you develop dances:

I let the noticing of what is lead and reveal. The majority of my experience has been in collaboration with one other, but the process I’m describing is also how we’ve worked with groups. I was creating modern dance pieces, solo and group, in much the same way, but had not identified the process yet.

  1. Has there ever been a reason or situation that caused you not to be able to realize your project as you had hoped or imagined:

One phase of exploration was to dance ‘anybody, anywhere, anytime’. On numerous occasions particular non-negotiable rules or laws prevented us from realizing projects.

  1. How has your process changed from your initial projects to your present process:

The process has remained the same; it happened to us. Change came in the need to recognize and name it. This happened when we started working with other dancers. We quickly recognized that our process was unusual and therefore needed to be defined to avoid confusion and frustration. We needed to articulate the idea of being present with curiosity and awareness as a means to follow the piece’s unfolding.

  1. What is it about your process that works for you:

It is fun and easy. Exhilarating and relieving to refer to and rely on what is, moment by moment. Magical and comforting to know that what needs to be revealed will be. We get to relax because we trust in the unfolding. It’s energizing to bring the whole self to the moment. It’s mysterious and exciting while being obvious and grounded.

  1. Have you ever been part of another person’s process that you liked but have not used in your own work?   Why?

No, can’t think of that situation. If I like something I want to integrate it, if I don’t I let it go.

  1. Have you ever been part of another person’s process that you liked and used in your own process? Why?

I’ve included the form Authentic Movement in my process since being introduced to it. It provides a foundation of self-study in awareness and movement, a perfect preparation for exploring how we improvise with others in C.I. In general I am drawn to and influenced by systems that explore principles in C.I.

  1. Have you ever been part of another person’s process that you did not like? Why?

Yes, once we experimented with joining another person’s process. We quickly discovered that her process was very different than ours. Experiencing the contrast was useful to identify the distinction. Her process was to bring in ideas for our bodies to realize. Ours was to begin with the body to discover the ideas. The focus was trying to make something instead of being curious about what was already there. We noted a greater tendency for body/psyche injury in the idea driven approach compared to our experience of a tendency toward healing when allowing awareness of what is to inform the thinking. Moving from the outside in rather than the inside out was more effort and less satisfying.