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Nancy Stark Smith, a great lady passed away.

Over time, we will become aware of the valuable legacy that she has left our community.

Nancy Stark Smith, 1952-2020

01. Nancy Strak Smith_Jam annuel Montréal-nov 07

She has inspired so many people around the world and here in Montreal, during her few passages, including those of 2004 and 2007.
Photo Joël Muzard - 2007 Annual Jam

She sowed powerful seeds of this dance form and it can be easy to forget how her improvisation and the techniques she had developed by practising have become "norms" of contact and ways that are now familiar to anyone who is in practice.

04. Nancy SS The braid flying is at Casina Settarte, Cisternino, Italy, 2003. photo by Tinu Hettich

As Chris Aiken said « She is the mother of contact improvisation, the one who, more than any other, is responsible for it becoming a worldwide phenomenon» and it will be remembered, but also, as said Keith Hennessy, «She was loved by many and her influence will live forever. For those of us who "grew up" with contact improvisation, who became who we are in and around this dancing practice of improvised relationship, Nancy was crucial, whether we knew her or not».

Photo of Tinu Hettich

02. Nancy Strak Smith_Jam annuel Montréal-nov 07

Here are clips from performances of contact including ’Fall After Newton’, ’Contact at 10th and 2nd’ and a performance from the Warsaw Flow festival. Sound clips from ’Poetics of Touch’ and ’Fall After Newton’

Dancers include Steve Paxton, Ray Chung, David Appel, Robin Feld, Andrew Harwood, Alan Ptashek, Peter Ryan and Kirstie Simson.

Facebook link

Photo Joël Muzard - 2007 Annual Jam

03. Nancy Strak Smith_Jam annuel Montréal-nov 07

For those who do not know her, you will find a wealth of information on her writing via Contact Quartely or otherwise her book« Caught Falling » available in the ACI’s library.

ACI link Library

Honoring Nancy Stark Smith from Contact Quaterly:
Steve Paxton, Lisa Nelson, Christina Svane and Daniel Lepkof testimonials, also with links to articles and videos from Nancy.

Photo Joël Muzard - 2007 Annual Jam

Letter from Christina Svane
May 2 at 12:53 p.m.

05. NSS mai 2020

Dear friends around the world, yesterday, May 1, 2020, our beloved Nancy Stark Smith left her wild and gentle dancing, unique, glorious, fearless body on Earth and made for home. She had been ill with ovarian cancer. Her collaborator and companion, Mike Vargas, pianist, composer and sound artist, was by her side at home in Florence, Mass. with her beloved flower garden beginning to bloom.

Photo by © Alfiya Rakhmanova

I never knew how she did it, but I know she held every person she ever danced with, taught, learned from, laughed, sang or shared watermelon with, in the unchanging place in her heart.
Our sweet soul sister, seen so often flying through the air, her silver braid aloft, was a bonafide Bodhisattva, a visionary spreading seeds of inner art and compassion.

A la la ho! Marvellous being, how blessed we are to have been with you here.
May we stay connected in the subtle spheres, and may all beings everywhere know their divine true nature!

Contact Quarterly has just created a special Facebook public group: Nancy Stark Smith Harvest. https://www.facebook.com/groups/253550916049874/permalink/254111199327179/

All are invited to share photos, written memories, and videos. It is also the place memorial events will be announced.
Love to all.

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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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