Conversation with Nancy Stark Smith

By some mystery, by some small miracle, by some technological blip in the space time continuum, without Nancy knowing, without me knowing, our second to last skype was recorded in full, all 1 1/2 hours of it.

I found the file after she died when I was searching in my computer for everything Nancy related. Because she was such a private person, I put together only the gems that I feel she would have been happy to have shared with everyone.

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)

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Dancing Deeper Still is a sourcebook on Contact Improvisation. This compilation of 30 years of writings is meant to accompany and support your investigation as you discover new pathways and dynamics in your dancing. It includes chapters on:

  •       Contact Improvisation in performance
  •       Boundaries and sexuality
  •       Political activism
  •       Dancing while aging
  •       Expanded teaching research notes
  •       Advanced skills

Whether you are the improviser who savors the slow rivers of sensation…or who delights in spontaneous acrobatics…or any of the bountiful realms in between, this book was written for you. 

Get your paperback or Ebook here