Foundations to Contact Improv, June26-July9, 2016

Foundations to Contact Improv with Mark Young.

It was requested by several participants from last year that this workshop be made longer. It is 12 days long this year. If you can’t make it to this retreat in June, don’t worry, the workshop is being repeated at the end of August. If I get around to doing a thesis in movement, it will be this work: analyzing the movement study of Tai Chi to spiral movement and applying it to Contact Improv. Stu Phillips will be joining us in this workshop. Stu will lead us every other afternoon for 2 hours in his exploration of Contact Improv.

We will do a lot of Tai Chi in this workshop. It is more suitable to dance than yoga because of the fluid movement and balancing. Experience has shown that this is the most beneficial skill based exercise to train in for Contact Improv.
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.

‘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.

In exploring the concept ‘tension masks sensation,’ there will be three meditation times per day to reduce tension. Meditation is 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.

This is a long workshop, 12days. The physical work is exhausting. Stu Phillips will join us on alternate afternoons to guide us in his approach to Contact Improvisation. This is the 5th year that Stu is coming to Leviathan to teach. His work is special in its emotional depth. The teachers’ constant request is that you continue to delve, finding new ways, while breaking old patterns. 

Stu’s 6 classes consist of methods of being, particularly with self, and extending those out when “interacting” with others, by deconstructing, undermining and bypassing easily our usual or known mental and physical patterns, and allowing our true/real raw emotional energy to transform our dance movement, as well as ourselves, through behaviorally articulating who we are in aligning with how we are, perfectly.

Stu Phillips is a Professional Contact Improvisational Dance Performer and Teacher of 29 years, teaching and performing throughout the U.S., Canada and New Zealand, also teaching and performing Improvisational Dance and Theater for 35 years throughout US.  The focus is full expression, tuning to emotional and energetic reality constantly in personal flows, portraying that onto students with gentle psychic sensitivity.

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

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.
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. 

$850Canadian, go to ‘Contact Us’ on the right side of this page to inquire or register. Send a message with ‘Foundations’ in the subject line. You will be responded to within 24 hours.

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