Contact improvisation started in the beginning of the 70s in the USA. A need reached out to escape from the restrictions of handed down dance forms, to break through the reduction on a purely physical aesthetics and to understand the person, the human being in his entirety.
Dancers were looking for a kind of movement what’s more physiological, perhaps healthier and got inspired by asian and brazilian martial arts, from there they developed New Dance.
The knowledge from old and new body methods (as for example Feldenkrais, Body-Mind-Centering, yoga, Tai Chi) their wisdom of body-mind connection and their principles of energy, attention and presence became part in dance.
“Based on the topical knowledge about unity, new dance introduces in the organical and structure of body and form, space and time, gravitation and movement, dynamism and rhythm, devotion and borders” (Joachim Apel, flyer in 1999).
In this period of searching the founders of new dance also experimented with ideas to integrate these new principles into the dance of two and discovered an unexpected variety in possibilities, this was the beginning of contact improvisation (up to now CI).
A constantly moving point of contact was meaned as a common base from which the dancers played with her strength, move each other and balanced, jumped about one another, rolled, melt and went away,… and with astonishing ease, carrying themselves into air.
The teamwork of two bodies changes physical legitimacies as for example the influence of the gravitation and centrifugal force, dynamics and much more.
This opens a huge field of new challenges and allows to experience with unexpectations like „the momentum“. The momentum is a technical term in the CI what describes the moment where a change of direction and dynamic happens, what nobody of the two dancers really have planned.
The dancers themselves are surprised and they are carried away by the movement. Every movement originates from the preceding, from the listening/ the communication of the bodies, from the play and the forces of the moment.
The dialog with yourself (perhaps also your physical or psychological limits), with your partner(s), with space, gravitiy,… allows and requires a growing consciousness of the dancing body for itself.
Learning CI means learning a deeper understanding of how the body is function and increase the sense of touch and movement.
In contrast to other dances you rarely learn long movement sequences, CI requires much more to understand the movement principles or basics of the CI like rolling, sliding, leaning, falling, pourring, flowing, flying,…to learn how to give or take weight, incorporating the ground in the dance, moving with less muscular strength as possible … etc.
In this physical communication everything is possible what is possible in the dialog of the two.
It is a matter of becoming awake, of following spontaneously, of taking and giving impulses, of listening to the body/partner/space, of developing new ideas and of being able to use it directly in a creatice way.
Contact improvisation means fun in the movement, warmth, contact, touch, romp like young dogs be at the same time awake and attentive. CI is jumping and creeping, high and low, movement and stillness, it is gambled away and serious, igiving and taking, being close and playing with distance, body and soul… and still even more what is not to be expressed in words and what is simply a matter to experience!