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Contact Improv and Ensemble Improv

by Ken Manheimer last modified Oct 26, 2023 06:32 PM
Contact Improvisation is a collaborative movement practice that I facilitate, teach, and use in dance performance.

I've practiced Contact Improv since college. Along the way I've taken responsibility for facilitating local and regional gatherings (jams), teaching various groups, and I've performed in local and remote venues. As the scope of my involvement has increased my appreciation for the opportunities to explore and understand the dynamics of cooperation and play has also increased.

CI communities commonly gather to practice in contact improv jams - peer practice without leaders or followers. While CI is something that, ultimately, guidance can help orient you to more readily learn what the practice teaches. (What Contact Improvisation Does describes what I mean.) As often is the case when trying to teach something, I've found that getting clear about what's useful to convey has been very revealing, deepening my sense and enjoyment of the practice.

I find that understanding this challenge, which I describe in Contact Improv As a Way of Moving, can be quite helpful in finding your orientation in CI, and helpful in navigating the dynamics of collaboration in many other situations, as well. It can be useful not only in improvisation, but also in work and other collaboration contexts where more of material consequence is at stake, hence there is less latitude to freely experiment.

For these and other reasons I deeply appreciate these practices, and love to share them.

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