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Excerpts from Fall After Newton

Here are two excerpts from Fall After Newton (© Videoda 1987), a documentary about the development of Contact Improvisation.

In these clips, narrator and initiator of the form, Steve Paxton, is joined by dancers Nancy Stark Smith and Curt Siddall, and musician Collin Walcott. 

The full video is available in a collection that documents the first 12 years of the dance form. 

To find the documentaries at Contact Quarterly, click here

Terminus Stations

Here is one minute of a 20 minute duet with dancers Sole Medina and Sergio Palomares Vicente. This was at the Salt Spring Island Plunge


Here is what I notice:
• The soft tone in their bodies that allows for an alive responsiveness
• The ease looking into, and entering the backspace
• Their use of hands to map their partner (rather than manipulate)
• Sole’s use of sound to communicate her current state
• They don’t seem to be putting impulses into the dance, but rather are receiving impulses from the mutual conversation
• How they don’t have “terminus stations.” They let one moment, one motion, be the seed of the next

What do you notice?

(In my book, * Dancing Deeper Still: The Practice of Contact Improvisation * I talk about seasoned C.I dancers and their terminus stations or rather lack of terminus stations)

Embers in the Heart

Any time we risk really hearing someone, letting who they truly are   dance against the intimate core of our being, what we give that person
is the gift of themselves. When the space in us is an invitation,
we find things around us answering by coming alive. It is in the nature
of things that a beautiful opening inspires us to find something
of equal beauty to put within it.

— “The Creative Imperative” Charles Johnston

An old African proverb says, “When one flower opens, dozens open.”

There is a moment during a class when everything changes. Continue reading

Purpose of These Writings

I watched two contemporary dance teachers peering through a small window in a door in a large dance complex. Through that window they were observing a contact improvisation class. The students were sitting in a circle articulating their experiences with the previous dance.

One of the teachers said to the other: “I can’t believe they are…

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