Contact improvisation (CI) is an evolving system of movement initiated in ’72 by American choreographer Steve Paxton. It’s one of the best-known and most characteristic forms of postmodern dance, using techniques where points of physical contact provide the starting point for exploration through movement improvisation. CI is a wonderful way of allowing energy and intuition to be the guide for movement,  and is a nice complement to the precise alignment of yoga and bodywork. Contact Improv is practiced by both professional dancers and others interested in playful exploration of movement with others. There is no choreography, but techniques, principles and guidelines are there to support the dance improvisation.

The improvised dance form is based on the communication between two or more moving bodies that are in physical and/or energetic contact and their combined relationship to the physical laws that govern their motion. The body, in order to open to these sensations, learns to release excess muscular tension and abandon a certain quality of willfulness to experience the natural flow of movement. Practice includes rolling, falling, being upside down, following a physical point of contact, supporting and giving weight to a partner.

Contact improvisations are spontaneous physical dialogues that range from stillness to highly energetic exchanges providing an open-ended exploration of the kinaesthetic possibilities of bodies moving through contact. Sometimes wild and athletic, sometimes quiet and meditative, it’s a form open to all bodies and enquiring minds. Alertness is developed in order to work in an energetic state of physical disorientation, trusting in one’s basic survival instincts. It is a shared moment of movement that leaves the participants informed, centered, and enlivened.