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  • What is contact?

    A brief history

    Crédit : Bill Arnold


    Contact improvisation (CI) is a dance practice in which physical contact points are the basis for an exploration through improvised movement.
    Beyond the simple points of physical contact between partners is the global contact (auditory, kinesthetic, perceptual, emotional) between the dancer with his or her partners and the environment (soil, space, gravity, etc.)

    Also called contact dance, it a kind of improvised dance, one of the best known forms of postmodern dance. Outside of classes or workshops, Contact improvisation is danced during free practice called "jams".


    Contact improvisation developed in the United States during the 1970s by a group of dancers, led by Steve Paxton and Nancy Stark Smith. The first piece presented as contact improvisation was Magnesium Steve Paxton in 1972. Paxton went on with the first performance of Contact Improvisation at the John Weber Gallery in New York.

    Daniel Lepkoff - Steve Paxton - Nancy Stark Smith

    Subsequently, workshops and jam sessions allowed to pool diverse and scattered experience, always with the central point of the body adaptability in a position of support or extreme or accidental contact, playing with strength gravity and the relationships between the protagonists. Gradually a common language is formed and a new practice of the movement was born, which uses dance, martial arts, gymnastics and "psychophysical".

    Priority is given to listening and trust between the partners: meetings must be done seamlessly, dancers must be available to the movements of others, partners must adapt their mutual movements and displacements.
    Contact improvisation can be done in duet or more.
    Many contemporary choreographers are also using contact improvisation as a central or secondary element in their rooms, while giving free rein to the creativity of the dancers.
    There is now an extensive network of contact improvisation, particularly intense in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Western Europe and also in Finland and Russia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, etc.

    Impressions, definitions and bibliography of contact

    Describe Contact Improvisation is not an easy exercice. It’s the reason why, this bibilography would help you to know more about it : the history, the context, the contents and research, etc.

    Also :
    Contact Improvisation, interact with the touch (French version)
    Definition according to some members of ACI

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What’s contact danse?

An invitation to let go in a haven of peace. Dancing, experience the laws of gravity, momentum and balance, that is the contact improvisation.

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