Simplifying Selecting Partners

    The CI exercises I describe involve group members repeatedly selecting partners. Trying the exercises with different partners is often illuminating. I like to use a kind of non-competitive "musical chairs" approach to simplify and foster ease in the partner selection process.

    Many contact improv exercises involve choosing a partner, and it is often illuminating to try each exercise with different partners to see how and how much the experience can vary. Here's a simple recipe for simplifying the partner selection process and mixing things up.

    Ask everyone to walk around the room, circulating rather than sticking with someone. When you feel ready (or you feel that the situation is ready) ask everyone to choose someone who is nearby for their partner in the next exercise. Allow a moment for everyone to resolve their choices. You as leader need to see whether you will participate with a partner, depending on if there is an even or odd number present.

    The aim is not to surprise or trick anyone. You can be transparent about the purpose. It doesn't totally simplify the process of inviting and accepting partnering invitations, but it can ease and simplify it, increasing the mixture of choices along the way.

    (Grazing and "Solo Contact Improvisation" sketches more general circulation and discovery of partnering in a jam context.)