Exercise: Slight Counterbalance

An exercise for developing your ability to share balancing with someone.


Slight Counterbalance explores how to invest your center of gravity in contact points with another person in order to gently share dynamic balance.


  1. After demonstrating the following exercise with a volunteer, have the participants circulate to find a partner.
  2. Have partners stand face-to-face about an arm's length apart, relaxed and alert.
  3. Have each partner raise both their arms to mid-level with palms forwards and place their palms against their partner's. Ask them to stand that way for a moment without putting any weight into their partner's palms.
  4. Now ask the partners to lean forwards a little, in order to put slight weight into their shared palm contact.
  5. After giving several moments for the partners to experience this counterbalance, ask them to gradually reduce the pressure until they're back in a neutral stand.
    • If you tune in to it the gradual transition to neutral can be fascinating.
  6. Next, ask the partners to hold each other's wrists - left-to-right and vice-versa, so the arms are not crossed - and gradually lean back so they balance by holding one another forwards by the held wrists.
  7. After they have some moments to experience the equilibrium, ask them to lean forwards again to return to a neutral stand.
  8. It's useful to do a second round with the same partner, now that they've got some feel for it.
  9. After circulating again to find a different partner try the exercise again to discover differences.


After a few rounds invite everyone to share anything that stood out for them, including anything unexpected or puzzling. If nobody mentions it ask if anyone noticed differences between the experience with their different partners.

Rising and Descending Together builds on this exercise and The Finger Dance, putting it all together for full contact improv engagement.


This exercise is a specific approach to counterbalancing, which has almost always been part of Contact Improvisation.