Open Source Dancing

In the world of computers there is a revolution happening called open source programming. A piece of software is written and then anybody who wants to can improve the source code. The Linux operating system is the most well-known open source software. This process of creating software that nobody owns, that has no central control, that anybody can try to improve, creates programs that are the most useful, bug free, and elegant.

Contact Improvisation is an open source dance form. Everyone who enters the investigation of this dance adds their discoveries and improvements. And like open source software, there is no central control. There are means of communication so people keep track of what is going on in the network. We have the Contact Quarterly magazine, numerous web pages, and the simple fact that when we dance information moves between people.

This is not Graham or Cunningham technique, or Microsoft corporation, where information is imposed from the top down. Contact Improvisation is a constellation of dancers, each informing the others. Contact is an inherently unfinished dance form. Each person gets to complete it with themselves in each moment. This is the strength of the form and why it slowly keeps growing worldwide.

I hope C.I. never becomes trendy, because trendy things usually end. I actually don’t see that happening because it doesn’t have flash, it’s not out trying to colonize the world. However, there is an international group of committed practitioners each contributing their piece to the dance puzzle. As the dance enlightens us, we enlighten the form. Teachers are one of the means of communication as we conduit from place to place threads of what is being investigated. We are a vital part of the open source.