This page describes how I think about Contact Improvisation.
I’ve found that it’s important to recognize the thinking that is in place, first- because it will drive one’s experience and that experience may or may not be satisfying one’s desires. When aware of the thinking involved, one is at choice point as to accept or counter it. An example of this is- if I think I am too heavy, I will tend to withhold my weight. If I am aware of this thinking I then have the choice to explore the giving of my weight.
The thinking I have arrived at through experience and experimentation. I offer it as a point of contact from which to be aware, question, explore, declare, develop your own thinking. C.I. is profound in that it invites us all to determine our own understanding of the game of improvising while in contact. Each of us is unique and therefore has something unique to bring to this pot of understanding the full potential of the diversity that exists at a shared connection. So, read and process through your own experience. I offer this as a point of contact to hear how you frame this radical way of relating. Your comments are invited below.
Contact Improvisation is an invitation. It invites us to explore, via improvisation, how we can move while in physical contact. It is not a dance form of steps, moves or signals to be learned and achieved. It is the cultivation of present moment awareness and curiosity. It is the discovery of and experimenting with principles of gravity, movement and relationship.
C.I. offers one guide for the exploration. That is to take care of yourself, first. The ‘form’ becomes the research and development of how we use our shared point of contact to care for ourselves, moment by moment. This focus results in the creation and maintenance of spontaneous and simultaneous well-being. C.I. teaches us to recognize our autonomy and our interdependence, to develop spacious attention and our response-ability.
It is of the body, by the body, for the being.
Given the spoken and unspoken rules and assumptions around touch in our culture, C.I. is a radical experiment. However, it is not a new way to behave- to be, to have ourselves. We have been in contact, moving, since conception! Due to gravity we are born connected. And we are born moving. Life is movement. Moving in contact is a given. C.I. experiments with how we negotiate at our points of contact to use our interdependence to co-create a mutually satisfying reality.
C.I. is a paradigm of touch and play. It follows different principles than the cultural paradigm. It is based in awareness and choice rather than rules and blame, inclusion rather than disposability, mutuality rather than measurement, the present rather than the past and future, spaciousness rather than linearity…….. it emphasizes the AND rather than the OR. In doing so it is a paradigm that supports and sustains mutual well-being, becoming a model that can teach us about living together.
C. I. is physical communication. It is of the body. The mind is also of the body and serves the investigation by its ability to observe and translate experience. Language is valuable when used to question, describe and direct the personal and shared experience. It does not support the process when used to judge or concretize experience.
C.I. as See I, as a self-awareness practice that uses interdependence to witness, explore and develop our ability to relate. Each moment contains the potential for change as each I receives and offers information via the point of contact. It is a system of infinite unfolding that is perpetuated by the curiosity, awareness and action of those present. Each commits to use the point of contact, continuously, to be aware of what is offered- in order to use what is offered to Adjust For one’s own Comfort. AFC and you shall receive! This is how we take care of ourselves first.
Heart knows how to care if we ask. Skin is a place to begin. Show up. Commit to being aware of what is.
Be accountable to the choice point of every moment. Begin where you are, again and again and again…….
Contact + improvisation teaches that awareness + curiosity is enough to take us where we need to go.
here i am, receiving the fact of our oneness with the truth of my autonomy, for the sake of our mutual well-being
Contact is not a choice, it is a given.
Place your awareness on what you are connected to. Where you are, what is happening? These ever-changing characteristics of the circumstance of your connection are the ground that offers and supports your movement choices.
Use the contact continuously to track what is being offered, to make choices in relationship to what is offered, and to track the effect of your choices. Seamless awareness of what is happening, moment by moment, makes it safe to explore and expand how individual choices relate, how they co-create.
2. Care for yourself
Improvise with the intent to care for yourself in each moment. Go only so far as you are able to save yourself. If all do this then all are cared for! Care for yourself, first. Then, extend care through all you touch. When all do this mutual well-being is assured.
3. Explore options
Explore your options at the point/s of contact. Get to know them well. The more options the greater capacity to save yourself. Freedom is re-membering each moment as a choice point, filled with options available for immediate use!