This is a type of dance that allows two (or several) partners to perform a spontaneous body dialogue.
The contact is an expressive, relaxed dance, limited only by physical laws. There is no memorization of movement patterns. You only work with body listening. When listening to our body, we look for our dance, our movement, which is born here and now with a couple, a group, with the space in close and remote contact.
Steve Paxton himself wrote:
“The improvisation of contact is an activity related to dual forms that are familiar to us, such as hugs, fighting, oriental arts and dance, covering a variety of movements that range from calm and effort to great sporting activity. The urgent needs of the form are dictated by a relaxed, constantly conscious and predicted movement in the flow. The main thing is that the dancers remain in physical contact, supporting each other and innovating, meditating on the physical laws of gravity, impulse, inertia and friction related to their mass. They do not strive to achieve a result, but to encounter a constantly changing physical reality corresponding to location and energy «
What is contact dance?
Contact dance requires at least two people. This is a form of dance that allows couples to engage in spontaneous body dialogue at a nonverbal level, playing with the forces of gravity, inertia, using each other as support, finding the ground for improvisation on the ground, inspiration for the creativity. At the same time, the dancers’ bodies are prepared, tuned in such a way that, while maintaining the necessary security, they are given the opportunity to show maximum freedom and emancipation, opening to an emotionally rich interaction, showing the natural beauty of the individual. This is a process of studying the capacity of consciousness to merge with the body in the present moment, the capacity of consciousness to remain “here and now” with a continuous change in external conditions.
Externally, improvisation of contact resembles a dream: people move like sleepwalkers, touch each other with the tips of their fingers or with their whole bodies, fall slowly and roll on the ground. And suddenly they take off, starting with partners, not tall, but enough for the viewer to understand them: only in the improvisation of contact does the movement acquire a special meaning. Being a free movement, contact improvisation has nothing to do with any dance obsessed with the form. But a well-rehearsed contact improvisation can be seen in the avant-garde productions of fashion choreographers.
What is it for?
Contact improvisation is a diverse phenomenon, first of all, of modern art (at the intersection of theater and dance), with some simplification it can also be considered an artistic sport. It should be noted that this practice can have a positive effect on health. It could well be called dance therapy. With the same ease, it can be identified as a communicative practice, which brings this type of art closer to psychotherapy.
The improvisation of contact like a dance and a practice allows you to free the body from physical tweezers, increase the sensitivity and freedom of body movements, expand the idea of your physical abilities, as well as explore your possibilities as creator, creator of Contact dance, now, at this time, with this partner.
The contact allows you to combine the pleasure of dancing, communicate with a partner, humor and immediacy of behavior, live human dialogue with body practice. A practice that allows you to be free and spontaneous, conscious and brave in dancing and in life. Contact dance is accessible to all without exception, because it is not about learning and imitating any particular style, but about understanding and practicing the principles of natural movement based on movement without tension in the body (even when we jump or lift a partner ) and conscious work with the center and the periphery.
Contact allows you to use your body experience to create dance and you have the opportunity to contribute your own dance or life experience to the dance. Any movement or its absence in improvisation of contact is a creative act. This is your song, your work of art.
Why practice contact dance?
This is a celebration of every moment. The sweet taste of surrender is when our bodies remain faithful to what is happening now and now and … NOW! Everyone learns to notice and distinguish the smallest impulses in the choice of movement for themselves and their partners. We begin to decipher the signals we give and receive, which tell us to lead or follow, to move up or down, where to touch, how to support us, when to slow down and when to be calm. In this way, everyone learns how to stay holistic in each election, never amplifying or accelerating. When the Body, the Mind and the Spirit are united in their intuitive mind, when everyone is “at home”, expressing in each moment their true nature.
A form of dance with a couple based on the physical principles of touch, inertia, weight exchange and, above all, following a single point of contact. This form was invented in 1972 by Steve Paxton. Combining his experience as an Art Nouveau dancer and practicing Aikido martial arts, Steve devised KI. This dance practice explores the skills of falling, balancing, counterweight, support with minimal effort and techniques on how to facilitate body support, center and breathing, as well as the ability to be sensitive to the couple and the environment.
Steve Paxton, was a dancer at the Judson Church Theater (New York), and previously worked with one of the most famous Art Nouveau choreographers, Merce Cunningham, in 1972. During his time at the Grand Union, a conference at Oberlin College, he showed a job in which he and 11 other dancers continually met, rested, jumped and threw themselves for 10 minutes.
This work was called «Magnesium», and it was what became the point of reference for a new type of art: improvisation of contact. Shortly after, Steve Paxton gathered 15 of the best dancers of both sexes who studied with him for a year or two, to study the principles and possibilities of communications identified in “Magnesium”.