Foundations to CI, 19day, July9-29,2017

Foundations to Contact Improv, 19 day workshop, July9-29. $1500 Tuition, dormitory, camping, all meals and transport on Lasqueti and taxes are included in the fees.

This 19 day workshop is the ‘Essential Contact Improv’ workshop. We will be analyzing the spiral movement of Tai Chi and applying it to Contact Improv for greater flow, smoother partnering, conservation of energy, moving without effort, and the spontaneity of lifts and aerials as they arise in the duet form. This workshop will be co-taught by Dorothee Daester, Jonathan Lilly, Kyle Syverson and Mark Young.

Dorothee Daester has studied Somatics and Contact Improvisation since 1993. She has studied with Alito Alessi and Emery Blackwells of Danceability, Diverse Dance Research Retreat on Vashon Island with Karen Nelson, Kinetic Awareness with Francis Becker, Intensive with Contraband and Sara Shelton Mann in 1995, martial arts in Indonesia, 2012 with Steve Paxton and Karen Nelson, and numerous Breitenbush jams throughout the years. Adding to the list of teachers is Daniel Lepkoff, KJ Holmes, Rusty Lester, Rochus Schmucker Nancy Stark Smith and Kirstie Simson.

Photo by Levi Gershkowitz

jonathanJonathan Lilly is a martial artist-turned-dancer based in Seattle.  After more than twenty years of training in aikido, he was introduced to improvisational dance, and was hooked. He has taken weeklong intensives with Andrew Harwood, Ray Chung, Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser, Kirstie Simson, and Darrell Jones, as well as courses or workshops with Peter Bingham, Karen Nelson, and Alicia Grayson, among others.He sees training in improvisational dance as a way to hone one’s ability to respond physically and emotionally in any situation.   His approach to teaching movement is also influenced by training in various movement awareness practices as well as by meditation.

Kyle Syverson is a passionate student, practitioner, teacher, and believer of Contact Improvisation. After years of competitive gymnastics and ballet, Kyle (thankfully!) found her way to modern dance and Contact Improvisation. While dancing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Kyle also travels to Europe, Latin America, USA, and Lasqueti (!) to work with generous and inspiring teachers, such as: Nancy Stark Smith, Martin Keogh, Daniella Schwartz and Eckhart Mueller, Yves Candau, Ray Chung, Katerina Eriksson. Kyle believes that every body, every dance is a teacher and that is the perfection of Contact Improvisation. Kyle loves the range of Contact- from super slow subtle to high speed high stakes adventure. She endeavours to teach individual pathways of softness and athleticism and to explore the infinite possibilities of connection with other sensing bodies. For Kyle, Contact is an art, a sport and a meditation.

Mark Young has been doing Contact Improvisation since 1997. What began as fun re-hab after a traumatic accident quickly became a serious study. He also began a serious study of Tai Chi and Vipassana meditation around the same time, these are the foundations of Contact Improvisation. He has studied C.I. with Nancy Stark Smith, Ray Chung,  Karen Nelson, John Faichney, Alicia Grayson,  and attended numerous conferences with the originators of the form at Breitenbush Hot Springs retreat centre. Also, he has attended numerous Contact Improv jams at Earthdance retreat centre in Massachusetts over the past 15 years. In 2000 he committed all of his resources to the creation of Leviathan Studio, a dance studio committed to the study of Contact Improvisation.

LeviathanMY_7-2015_by Rubens_0526 (FILEminimizer)


Photo by Peter Paul Rubens


‘From the Ground Up’ – Cultivating awareness of our own sensations by feeling the floor, feeling the alignment of our bones as we stand, feeling the difference between tension and relaxation. We will focus on the physical sensations that arise in proximity to another as we weave in and out of each-others personal space. What effect does physical intimacy have on my sensations? Coming into contact gives us a different set of sensations, not only our own but we can now feel another persons tensions and relaxation. This linking through a single point of contact is where we find our impetus for movement, by tuning into our own genuine sensations we feel the effect another has on us. As the week progresses we will practise lifts and pathways off of the floor with partners. Aerials should happen spontaneously in an improvised dance. However, it is nice to know that a pathway exists without going into fear and stopping the flow. We will practise these pathways in a slow, supported way. We will begin with Tai Chi foundation exercises as taught by Master Moy Lin-Shin. These exercises are to get us moving spirally while shifting weight in a fluid manner.  We will connect Tai Chi exercises to Spiral Rolls and then show how spiraling while dancing conserves energy, provides a more stable base, increases tone and provides more clear communication with our partner.

In exploring the concept ‘tension masks sensation,’ there will be three meditation times per day to reduce tension. Meditation is not being taught or guided and is not part of the class time. It is not compulsory to meditate but it is asked that participants commit to being contemplative and remain in a quiet solitude during the meditation times. One may choose to sleep or walk to the beach. Conversation and caffeine are discouraged during these three times throughout the day. The intention is to reduce tension in the body, hence cultivating a greater awareness of genuine sensation. Reflexes become faster, reactions become more appropriate, measured and connected.

The schedule will be 7-8am meditation, 8-10breakfast, 10-12 class, 12-3 lunch, 3-4meditation, 4-6pm class, 6-7pm dinner, 7-8 meditation, 8-midnight jam/sauna

Photo of Kyle and Mark by Peter Paul Rubens

Although suitable to new people and beginners, it is recommended that you be fit and willing to work through the discomfort of Spiral Rolls, Crescent Rolls and Aikido Rolls. This work and the partnering exercises we will use are accessible to all, you do not have to be an athlete or professional dancer. There will be higher level participants and for those willing to explore lifts and flying. The third week is intended for a smaller group of experienced and self-directed dancers, and attendance is by permission.

In this video Mark and Elise Knudson are ironing out the flow of ‘The Helicopter’.

$1500Canadian, go to ‘Contact Us’ on the right side of this page to inquire or register. Send a message with ‘JULY’ in the subject line.

Photo of Mark and Kyle by Peter Paul Rubens

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