From October 12-14, a diverse group of dancers from various backgrounds, both those experienced with and those new to contact improv gathered at Mile Zero’s Spazio Performativo to explore four themes with Andrew Harwood: sensations, space, time and our relationships with the other dancers.

We began with a warm-up guided by the sensations in our body and our skin against the floor and air. Moving my body listening to the sensations from within; What felt good? What felt tight? What was ready to act and what needed to be gently awakened? What was my relationship with the floor and the space around me? I explored these questions without intellectually asking these questions but simply by acting based on my sensations and seeing with my skin. After getting in touch with our own sensations, we got in touch with each other, lightly at first, slowly working our way up to a full sharing of weight, without losing touch with the sensations within. Various scores were offered not only to consider our duet dances in themselves, but also how they effected the space around us. How could my actions compliment or contrast the other dancers in the space? How could my actions limit or expand the possibilities available to other dancers? As well as considering the total space we were also prompted to consider time. I found myself exploring how timing can change the dance; What can I accomplish by taking the time and setting a theme? Or coming in with a bolt of inspiration and being gone just as quickly? I found myself experimenting with the different possibilities and how that changed my relationship with other dancers and the whole space.

Finally we explored all these ideas with some whole group improvisation scores. Considering the whole space, the time we had, and the relationships between us, we danced a few short pieces. Improvisation outside of contact improv duet and trio dances is still pretty new to me, but with the scores offered and the previous work over the weekend considering the whole ensemble came quite naturally. My confidence for general improvisation has definitely increased. Rather than getting in my head considering the infinite possibilities, I was able to draw on my own sensations, my relationships to space, time and other dancers to dance decisively. It was a pleasure to learn from Andrew and the wonderful group of dancers attending the workshop.

Written by Bryan Roberts.