Warm-up: Small Inspirations into Grazing

"Warm-up" typically means pushing your body to get the juices flowing. While that can be useful, you often don't have to push in order to open your senses and notice inspiration in your own movement and in what's happening around you. This warm-up offers a simple progression to gradually notice and increasingly engage with small movement inspirations.

"Tension Masks Sensation"

Contact improvisation is discovered through sensing inspiration, in what's happening inside and around you and between you and others. This group warm-up starts with settling into the floor and doing what you can to let it support you.

  • Notice any tension that isn't immediately useful, like holding your breath or clenching your jaw or butt or shoulders or whatever, and see how you can let that holding go.
    • Whatever doesn't go is ok – we're not trying to add stress, but to find whatever ease is available as you sink into the floor.

Explore Small Movements and Stillness

  • As you find whatever ease you can, notice movements that are going on in your body while you are still. Breathing, little shifts to make yourself more comfortable, even your heartbeat can create discernable shifts.
  • Search in your sensing for something you can move a little – a stretch or a shake or a lift – and when you find something easy, do it and then settle again.
  • Find something else you can move a little, and again.
  • When you're ready, find some small movement that leads to change your position resting on the floor – rolling to one side or another, curling up or uncurling, a small change. After settling again look for more small movements and position changes, always having a mix of stillness and moving as an option.
  • As you continue small movements and position shifts mixed with stillness:
    • Look for opportunities to glide in your movement, continuing until the glide runs out and you can settle again.
    • Another thing to include in the mix: allow variation in your movements between slow and fast and still.
    • Yet another thing to include, look for opportunities to change levels, rolling out of the floor into sitting or crawling and back into the floor, and changing levels further.
    • Another thing to include, allow your movements to sometimes become bigger, more full-body, when you feel ready for that, while still allowing small movements and stillness.

Beginning To Graze

  • While continuing to explore whatever of these variations that appeal to you, add one more ingredient: notice what might appeal to you in what others are doing, and allow that to inform what you're doing.
  • As you're exploring all that, if you find opportunities to interact with someone else see if you're ready to allow that to be part of what you're doing. Allow that while continuing to allow exploring your own movements.
    • "Grazing" is sampling all these things, without having to make any one (fast and slow, interacting with others and on your own, changing levels and still and everything) the sole focus.

Continue To Graze While Allowing Engagement

  • At some point you might find an interaction that you and your partner develop.
    • In the Underscore this is engagement. It can be another way to explore movement, as a complement to solo and grazing, part of a full mix of contact improvisation jams.

See Also

See also Warm-Up: Growing the Small Dance Into Grazing for another grazing warm-up organized around the principle of the Small Dance, and see Grazing and "Solo Contact Improvisation" for more context.