As in previous years, we suggest to take three stances by being: a student during intensives, a co-researcher during labs, and a dancer during jams.
We will ask ourselves what are these stances differences and how they answer and nourish each other, what are their spaces and what are their foundation.
This year, each practice will have dedicated time every day. We hope they will create many opportunities to renew your vision on present instant and dancing together. Each participant commitment, availability and benevolent curiosity can nourish quality of attention in different spaces of practice. This will encourage dynamics of emergence for everyone.
We consider Contact Improvisation as a research process around possibilities offered by touch, shared gravity as well as shared attention.
Labs will be transitions between intensives and jams, a shared space, to digest experiences and reinvent collectively new ways to practice Contact Improvisation.
We have invited experienced dancers and teachers to open the way and inspire new ones ! This summer, we will have the great, great pleasure of welcoming Chris Aiken and Malcolm Manning.
who will embark us on a journey over 15-hour intensives. We are also joyful to invite Alice Le Guiffant, Marie Rousseau, Tommy Russo and Edo Ceder to support lab work. Finally Michèle Tarento will be delighted to come and share valuable knowledge on biotensegrity over a Conference-jam.
Open Jams during RiCI 2017
Jams: Tuesday 18, Thursday 20 and Friday 21 July, from 19:00 to 21:40
Conference-jam with Michèle Tarento: Wednesday 19 July, from 19:00 to 21:40
Carreau du temple, 4 rue Eugène Spuller 75003, Paris
Gymnase de la forêt noire
Cost per jam (if not participating to RiCI 2017)
Eco-Poetics of Contact:
This workshop offers dancers the opportunity to develop greater skills in their dancing, being in touch with others, and being aware of their surroundings. Rather than learning “moves” dancers will learn how to navigate the challenges and opportunities within the dancing so as to develop repertoires of solutions that can be utilized in the emerging dynamics of the dancing. These solutions include ways of changing levels, balancing on someone’s body, falling and rolling, supporting someone’s weight, removing your support, etc. They also include ways of being present, open, agile, and clear boundaried. We will examine how pre-movement tuning of the senses, the physical tone and the imagination can help to change the quality of the movement and its poetic resonance.
I view dance improvisation as a practice that is rooted in ecological and poetic worlds. A basic question I often ask is “what is perceivable?”. How can I be more in touch with what is happening? I am also asking, “What are the possibilities here?” and “How can I remain open to the unknown?” How can we safely and playfully be together?
Chris Aiken is internationally recognized for his performance and teaching of dance improvisation and contact improvisation. For many years his work has explored the development of physical intelligence, the poetic imagination and the capacity to make and perform dances in a variety of contexts. He has been influenced by long term collaborations and dialogues with Angie Hauser, Mike Vargas, Andrew Harwood, Kirstie Simson, Ray Chung, Nancy Stark Smith, Steve Paxton, Joerg Hassman, Olivier Besson and Peter Bingham. His teaching incorporates extensive research into the Alexander Technique, myo-fascial bodywork and ideokinesis as well as the study of neurophysiology and perception. He has received numerous awards for his work including a Guggenheim Fellowship and commissions from major presenters such as Jacob’s Pillow, the Walker Art Center, Movement Research, the Bates Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival. Chris is an Associate Professor of Dance at Smith College and the Five College Dance Department in Northampton, MA.
CI is complex and famously resistant to definition. A favourite, from Steve Paxton (who else?!), is that the CI is simply “a state of mind”. I understand that as a readiness and curiosity to engage in a physical inquiry into the possibilities of physical interaction with others.
As the practice has developed over the years, less and less seems unknown. The forms that have emerged from the physical investigation have become codified, written into our nervous systems, and our responses are often habitual.
As a practice develops over time then this is perhaps inevitable and not without value. But at its most mundane, dancing CI becomes an act of stringing together a multiplicity of known forms, the improvisational act reduced to the nature of their combination.
For me the questions arise, when am I truly improvising CI and what is that I’m inquiring into? How to keep my dancing fresh?
One route I have pursued has to been to investigate somatic movement practices such as Feldenkrais, Body Mind Centering and the work of Hubert Godard to get to know and grow the range of responses that I bring into dancing.
The other has been to work with oscillating between open dancing and scores that interrupt the familiar by limiting the range of choices; a common example would be head-to-head.
Restricting possibilities has two effects. We notice moments where habitual responses tempt us beyond the limits of the score and are compelled instead to try something else, something unfamiliar, maybe even something unknown.
On a more subtle and global level, practicing these scores supports us to notice in open dancing when we’ve arrived into a set of conditions that might be fertile to stay with and investigate.
In this intensive, we’ll work with physical and perceptual scores ranging from the obvious to the esoteric, awkward and downright weird. The emphasis will be on the mechanics of dancing with another though we’ll also touch how they can be applied to dancing together in a jam.
These scores set up moving puzzles that necessitate bringing all of our resources to bear on dancing our solutions to them in present moment. My aim in presenting them is to arouse curiosity, develop patience, and inspire commitment in the experience of our dancing. This to me has the character of a contact improvisational mind. One flavour of it at least.
I offer my work as a resource for performing arts professionals in dance centres, for dance companies, at festivals, and on higher education programmes. I also teach a workshop series for every body called BodySchool in which I apply my work to everyday life situations.
I am certified to teach the Feldenkrais Method® and the Body And Earth work developed by Andrea Olsen and Caryn McHose. I studied for two years at SNDO Amsterdam and have an MA in Dance Pedagogy. I have also made extensive studies of Authentic Movement, Movement Shiatsu, Body Mind Centering and experiential anatomy.
I was also part of the group of students who studied regularly throughout the ‘90s with Nancy Stark Smith, participating in her research into what she later named the UnderScore.
What is a Lab?
– a small group (10 people)
– a place where we start from scratch
– a space and time dedicated to co-creation and co-emergence, to responsibility and freedom
– a principle of no hierarchy (everyone can speak one’s language, and one’s viewpoint)
– a possibility of temporarily endowing some people with special responsibility and functions
– a place where traveling back and forth between verbal and non-verbal exchanges, a space for expression and listening.
Working in Labs is an opportunity for common research. It implies not knowing what we are going to discover while actively devoting ourselves to it.
At first sight, we may believe that willing something involuntarily is impossible. Indeed, they are two antagonistic internal movements, but it is made possible with indirect procedures. “It requires developing an intention accepting an unknown outcome and accepting not knowing in advance what is going to happen, and waiting for the answer with an open passive movement. I want something without the drive to produce an answer, but by letting associations work.”
We design laboratories as spaces supporting fragile dynamics of emergence to oneself and the unavoidable confrontation with others, leading to development, clarification and enrichment. Here are some items you may work with:
– explanatory tools
– active listening in pairs to let time for speech to emerge
– shared dance experience, scores
– varying viewpoints, frameworks, references, functions (idea of non-identification)
– common construction of an active and caring observation stance
The Lab team will be present to facilitate this emergence and to offer tools. They will responsible for maintaining a framework to help you to let go. Then each participant will be responsible for their research, discoveries and quality of the exchange allowing both discomfort and tastiness while traveling the unknown.
Alice Le Guiffant
My encounter with CI, in 2007, has been a revelation I still haven’t recovered ! What a chance to discover such a practice that allows everyone to express itself freely as well as create a rich and alive dialogue with other dancers. Touch, weight transfer, lifts : simples principles and infinite discoveries. I keep explore these matters, tirelessly, nourish with lightness and weight, speed and extreme slowness. I learn in it how to open space, to unfold time. I am lucky enough to keep training regularly (I organize many events in Rennes) and I did work with known teachers, in France and abroad as : Nancy Stark Smith, Nita Little, Ray Chung, Charlie Morrissey, Stéphanie Auberville, Franck Beaubois…
I teach for several years diverse public : adults, babies, children, teenagers… in different frames or structures : schools, nurseries, secondary school, parents’ association, dance schools, festivals,…
Marie practices CI for 12 years, gives a weekly class in Paris for four years, teaches in Festivals, performs, organizes classes, workshops and labs with the association “Explorations sphériques” that she contributed to found and make alive. Her work has been especially influenced by Stéphanie Auberville, Daniel Lepkoff, Lisa Nelson, Jules Beckman and Hubert Godard. Her main research now is related to her practice of Rolfing® Structural Integration, a somatic practice and therapy which main focus is relation to gravity. She conceives Contact Improvisation as a laboratory where to observe as closely as possible the physical, metaphysical and emotional aspects of being in relation.
« Come with your velvet gloves, but without your masks, and join us to help us give birth of ourselves and of the collective, go into the shadowy depths of our dances and bring back life and light ! »
Tommy Russo (USA/BE)
Is an American artist, dancer, and teacher, living and working in Brussels since 1993.
He studied psychology, theatre, and the French language (University of Massachusetts, Boston).
From a teenage passion for combat sports (boxing/karate) he took his first steps in dance at the age of 19. Ballroom dance (MIT Ballroom Dance Club), Tap dance (Fred Astaire Dance Studio Boston), Folk dance (Royal Scottish Dance Society). He thereafter fell in love twice and moved to Brussels, Belgium to raise a family and continue dancing.
Over the past 24 years he’s worked and trained in a vast array of fields and movement practices, all intimately related: Psychodrama, Drama therapy, Postural Integration, Shintaido, Clown Work, Body Mind Movement, Family constellations, Alexander Technique, Contemporary dance, and Contact Improvisation. In 2003 he opened a residential artistic complex (Tridance studios/Flywheel Dance).
He organizes workshops, classes, and jams in Brussels, as well as dancing, performing, and teaching Contact Improvisation and Contemporary Dance for adults and children both in Belgium and abroad.
Permanent spring cleaning.
Body listening, changing directions,
readiness, zone of not knowing.
Challenging set patterns,
Always a very beautiful process by which a temporary mico society can creatively develop group dynamics, structure, and content…….
Edo has been dancing Contact Improvisation for 17 years. He teaches weekly classes of CI and Improvisation, and holds a monthly Jam at Naim Studio in Tel Aviv. He created contemporary dance pieces and performed with them in Israel and abroad. He completed 3 years of study of the Grinber Method and has worked with people in personal processes. He carries a 2nd degree black belt in Jujitsu. These days he is completing a B.A. in Psychology and also works as a computer programmer.
“Choose a path that you don’t know, to end up in a place you’ve never been, and do something there that you’re incapable of.”
This is a somewhat provocative injunction, but it invites us to leave the shores of the comfortable… and we’re going to need it! Throughout the day, we will visit many movements, words, perceptions, ideas, coordinations, game rules… Our jams will be full of them, and they will be richer for them! (We will even willfully encourage the links between the classes, labs, and jams.)
But all the same, in the midst of these joyful explorations of known material, we will have to make space for what we do not yet know, or else we risk sidestepping the practice of Contact Improvisation. Indeed, we do not consider CI a form to be learned or to perpetuated, but a space to practice emergence, around the possibilities offered by touch and the sharing of gravitational and attentional relationship.
François Roustang speaks eloquently of the relationship between known and unknown; thus, we will give him the final word to inspire our jam practices at the RiCI:
“The first condition is trust. (…) being able to trust one’s senses and not being afraid to move into one’s senses, to reduce the body to being nothing but a sensing soul, to give one’s thought to one’s senses in such a way that they can think for themselves (…) If their movement is not hindered, the senses never cease thinking and renewing their thought, for thought is nothing but the act through which the different senses are gathered and ranked into an organized totality. (…) I am never certain that I’ve felt what there was to feel, because I had already interpreted and that there is doubtless no sensing without interpretation. Simply from having felt yesterday and far earlier, my senses have been both educated and engorged. Intact sensing is already thoroughly cultivated. I can only feel what the times and the place that raised me allow me to feel and perceive; and that which is my wealth also brings my limit and my stiffness. I will have to remedy it.
That is why the second condition of sensing is freedom. Freedom is the opposite of trust. As trust sticks to something, freedom detaches from it. (…)
Freedom rests on no referent, no reference, no certainty, no competence. A studied casualness, fruit of immense work, is the only thing capable of preparing the opening to sensing. In spite of years of experience, in spite of everything that’s been assimilated, everything that’s been gathered and stored, the hands are empty. To hold for certain nothing of what had hitherto been thought, believed or reckoned. The measue of freedom is that of little hope, of an all-out disbelief , of a radical immorality or amorality, for nothing is either good or evil, it is enough for it to be.”
– Extracted from La fin de la plainte (The End of Complaint), pp. 79/81, François Roustang.
What is a Talk and Jam ?
It is a tasty invitation to look at the world differently…. the time of a Jam!
Michèle Tarento presents a conference on Biotensegrity : an Innovative Approach to our Bodies’ Dynamism
Tensegrity is a fascinating architectural approach which was set forth in the 20th century by Buckminster Fuller.
The concept of biotensegrity, coined by the orthopedic surgeon Steve Levin, concurs with ostéo-éveil’s perceptive approach and conception of the body. It offers fresh explanations both mechanical and energetic, and opens up new perspectives for dynamically modelling the processes of life.
It can enrich dance and movement practices by promoting a multi-directional deployment of the fascias, with bones playing a vital role in the process. This concept brings an innovative approach to the body’s self-stabilizing mechanisms in relation to gravity, to the study of the mody’s masses, and to the transmission of information from the macroscopic to the microscopic scale.
Michèle Tarento, M.D., ENT specialist, phoniatrician, osteopath, dancer, bioenergetics practitioner, senior lecturer in histo-embryology, founder of ostéo éveil®, certified in biotensegrity, has long been working across the disciplines of natural sciences, movement, dance, and sound.
Contact Improvisation has been a part of her own contemporary dance teaching since she discovered it in 1979 with Didier Silhol, Suzanne Cotto and Mark Tompkins.
While weaving a relationship with Nature, she has been performing outdoors and in alternative spaces with Aline Lecler since 1984, which has led her to establish a dialogue with the body’s structure (in which focus is given to bone tissue, i.e. solid fascia, which offers surprising forms of safety and comfort), under the auspices of ever-evolving research around the interactions of our biological fabric with our environment.
Michèle’s encounter with Steve Levin, who coined the concept of biotensegrity, and her work within the Biotensegrity Interest Group (BIG) have opened new doors in her research on the body’s architectural dynamism.
Michèle is the author of Constructing your Body with Ostéo-Éveil and Biotensegrity, published in French by Les éditions Sully in Spring 2016.
We finally would like to close our week by meeting on the morning of Sunday the 23th for a contact and contemplation practice.
The proposition is inspired by different practices that we have approached, particularly authentic movement, intensive « Who am I ? » inquiry, and mindfulness. Those practices have shown us the value of shared attention and of postures that combine presence and non-reactivity, in order to welcome and allow words, movements, thoughts, images… to pass through us.
We will use three postures that each of us will explore in alternation :
- the dancer/speaker posture, contemplating our own question (which emerges at the time of the dance). We will go through it verbally or physically while our partner(s) witness(es).
- the witness posture, welcoming the expression of the dancer/speaker with an attitude of curiosity, benevolence and non-reactivity.
Here, we refrain from any comments or validation. We give our attention to the other’s expression, as well as to what is passing through us in resonance or in reaction to what we are listening to or looking at.
- The support posture, looking for means to support, with gentleness and curiosity, the verbal or physical questioning of our partner. Our role is more participative than that of the witness.
- Venue – Carreau du temple
Address : 2 rue Perrée 75003, Paris
Closest metro: Temple (M3), Filles du Calvaire (M8) and République (M5, M9, M3, M8, M11).
Exceptionally, the entrance on the monday, 17th of july will be at the 3rd, rue du petit thouars, 75003 Paris. Due to security instructions, the access for this particular day will be limited : please come between 4 and 4h30. For the following days, the entrance will be by the 4th rue Eugène Spuller.
Walk down the stairs and follow the signs Gymnase de la Forêt Noire, or Dojo du Pou Volant, or Studio de Flore according to schedule.
L’oeil et la main [Eye and Hand] was created to support the practice of Contact Improvisation in Paris. The festival, in its second year now, was built with the hope of offering the Parisians some taste of what is done abroad, and to the visitors an idea of our desires and styles of practices.
We envisage CI as a mode of research in movement, a dynamic questionning of the possibilities offerred by touch and weight sharing. We have the desire for each participant to our activities (festivals, workshops, jams) to acquire tools fostering autonomy and understanding of the gestual norms we work with. We are looking for a suspension of movement, where we can question the ways we learn and move and witness movement.