January 12-17, 2014 Patrick Gracewood and I hosted the 7th annual WOW of Contact @ Breitenbush Hot Springs, an annual 5-day retreat to immerse in the research of Contact Improvisation. The theme we explored this year was the only directive in C.I., ‘to take care of yourself, first’. To support the investigation we offered three sessions each day that progressed from focusing primarily on one’s self to exploring with partners to engaging as a group. C.I. was designed to be owned and developed by those involved, to grow by an unfolding co-creative process. We offered our particular thread of research as a jumping off point for the participants to claim and expand their own version of C.I.
Below is some of the feedback from this year’s event.
The dates for the 8th annual WOW of Contact are January 11-16, 2015!!
The WOW of Contact has exceeded my expectations! There are experiences and skills from this week that will have benefit far beyond my dancing life. The week started with an invitation to take care of yourself. This gave me the latitude to do exactly what I want and not to be ashamed about acting out my needs. This setting also encouraged an understanding of others wants. It’s easy to be stuck in a mode where either I’m getting what I want or you are getting what you want. The dancing here has brought to light that our wants/interests can support and foster one another. In this space I feel the most human, who I am unfolds in front of me. – Eric Nordstrom-
I came to The WOW of Contact because I wanted to build a foundation for my contact improv practice. Historically, I’d be consistent and then stop for a while- the main reason being fear. I was intimidated by this, even thought I loved it from my first class.
I got my foundation and a whole lot more. Carolyn and Patrick do such a beautiful job of holding space and creating a safe container for us to learn techniques of balance and support, using each other to have the dance we want and getting the support we need for that dance tot be rooted and stable. One of the things about Contact Improv that has always struck me is that the rules for safe contact also apply to life. “Take care of yourself, first.” Good contact is healthy interdependence. By using my partner for support, my partner knows where I am in the dance and can use me for support.
As these days have progressed, I feel like I have taken the precepts in, not just through my mind, but in my body.
I think that makes a powerful foundation that leaves me with nothing left to say except. WOW! – Mana –
The WOW of Contact- a gently facilitated experience….. celebrating the unique gifts, needs, desires of EACH participant moment by moment by moment. spaciousness to come and go. in in in in in . solid ground for anchoring self-care, investigation, exploration growth, inquiry. WOW. -Elizabeth-
The WOW of Contact provided me an incredible space and community to explore my movement practice. I left the workshop feeling like I had deeply investigated my movement habits and become more aware of new, interesting possibilities for how I move by myself and with others. This workshop has sparked a great curiosity to continue learning about my own automated patterns and habits and how I can replace them with something juicier. –Joseph Vincent-
This week has opened spaces and portals of investigation….. exploring the diverse range of movement for self and in relation to other. Challenging at times yet co-created magic that kept me “in”….. Appreciating the conversations evoked, authentic responses both in body and verbally. Truly excited to take home with me all the pieces experienced and flavors tasted. – Kimchee-
Seeing the changes in the faces, from clouded to shining, all ‘round- there’s the testimony! -participant
What I noticed most during this contact jam was gaining more permission to notice my comfort zone and ways to be curious and step our of it, tools to find the movement that arises spontaneously, and ways to deepen my awareness of what is true for me while also sensing how my partner is responding. All of these translate into the rest of my life as I notice patterns in my relationships to others and use my curiosity to connect with more ease and fullness. If I had a moment where I felt bored I would ask myself what i wanted that i wasn’t allowing myself to explore. –participant-
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