Contact Improvisation

Living Arts Collective is inspired to hold space for the practice of Contact Improvisation – a dance form based on play with weight-sharing, touch, imagination, and the physics of our bodies on earth.  We’ve found the practice to be incredibly effective at generating healing, fun, connection, community, and resilience.

Contact Improvisation is an improvisational art-sport with technique focused on touch, weight-sharing, momentum, and an ethic of experimentation with both physical forces and relational dynamics. It’s also a container to research perceptual flexibility, state-shifting, intimacy, mutuality, community, and embodied poetics. While duets are often the most known or visible aspect of CI practice, we practice partnering with physical forces, several people at once, the entire group, imagery, and the space around us. Professional dancers train in the form to improve their partnering skills and generate new material. Amateurs find community, strength, softness, agility, expression, and body-mind-spirit growth and integration. While anyone can touch and improvise without taking a class, the techniques presented in our programming will open the doors to more connected and athletic dances, give you basic fluency in a language of interaction shared by practitioners all over the world, and build the groundwork for a community of deep practice here in the Triangle.

Upcoming Classes

Our Our Spring Contact Improvisation and Somatics season has something for everyone!

Tuesday Night Series starts March 19th~

Starting in March, we are thrilled to be offering our signature Spirit and Technique of Contact Improvisation Series taught by *TWO* NEW teachers, Coda Badamo-Conners and Len Foyle. Coda and Len are incredible movers, visionaries, and space holders and we are so excited to feel the impact of their teaching rippling out into our community. This series is beginner-friendly, and will also have much to offer for CI practitioners of all levels. Students must sign up for the entire series~ We have found that these longer series are the ideal way to deepen your skill as an improviser and create meaningful relationships

4th Monday Jams~

On the 4th Mondays of the month Feb-April, join students enrolled in Ray Schwartz’s Study Group for Dedicated Improvisers for open jamming with live music!

Weekend Events~

On Sunday, March 10th, Coda and Len will be offering their take on Contact Improvisation Fundamentals. Come try CI for the first time or re-engage with the basics from a new perspective. This is an ideal way to try out Len and Coda’s teaching before committing to the 6-week series.

On Saturday March 16th, mark your calendars for a nourishing *full day* of practice with Ray Schwartz. Through deep body listening and community collaboration we will learn to balance the centers of wisdom of our gut, heart, and head.

Read on to find out which event(s) are right for you!

*** Please note that our CI and somatics events are capped at 24-30 participants and regularly sell out weeks in advance– please register early! ***

The softness and listening we can find in Contact Improvisation.

6-Week Spirit and Technique of Contact Improvisation, Open Level with Coda Badamo-Conners and Len Foyle

TUESDAYS, March 19th- April 23rd, 7:00-9:00 PM

This series provides an immersive dive into the fundamental skills, concepts, and techniques of Contact Improvisation practice, providing a solid foundation for a lifetime of play. It is a great opportunity to get your CI practice started for the first time or to deepen your engagement with the form. An incredible group of humans will come together to dance, grow, and learn together over the 6 weeks. Ideal for anyone of any skill or experience level who wants to move in safe and fun ways in contact with other bodies.

Location: Shared Visions Retreat Center

Register early!

Event Summary

Date: Tuesdays, March 19th- April 23rd
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Place: Shared Visions Retreat Center (LAC Satellite Space), 3717 Murphy School Rd

This series provides an immersive dive into the fundamental skills, concepts, and techniques of Contact Improvisation practice, providing a solid foundation for a lifetime of play and practice. It is a great opportunity to get your CI practice started for the first time or to deepen your engagement with the form. An incredible group of humans will come together to dance, grow, and learn together over the 6 weeks!

We will start from the ground up building awareness, listening, trust, and safety. By the end of the series you’ll be playing freely in solo, duet, and group improvisations, and finding your flow with weight sharing, momentum, and lifts. Over the course of the 11 weeks you’ll gain the skills you need to:

  • Navigate emotional safety, boundaries, and consent in touch-based dancing.
  • Share weight safely.
  • Move with more efficiency, ease, and creative expression.
  • Finding many doorways into a dance – working with the elements, body systems, and imagination to find fresh states and pathways.
  • Developing dances slowly from a place of listening through bodywork and specific practices of attention.
  • CI as a social form – bringing our whole selves to the practice and discovering the play, rest, and vitality that the form can bring.

Event Details

Please arrive 5-20 minutes early to be ready to start on time

No experience necessary. All body types, ages, and abilities are invited to participate. We will be rolling and moving on the floor and transitioning up and down off of the floor. If you have concerns about the physicality of the class, email us to ask if it seems like a good fit for you~ ci@livingartscollective.com

Wear comfortable clothing that covers your shoulders and knees (a t-shirt plus sweats or pajama pants is ideal). Layers are also nice since activities will range from quiet and meditative to vigorous.

Knee pads will be helpful for the class– there will be some for sale for $18/pair, or you can purchase here. https://dancekneepads.com/products/natural-kneepads-pair

Price
Class is $120/180/240 sliding scale for the 6 classes. $180 is the suggested amount, $120 is for those with less access to resources, and $240 is for those with more access to resources. Please pay the highest amount you can comfortably afford. If you’d like to come but cannot afford the lowest price tier, please reach out for a further discount. If you are moved to contribute to a scholarship fund, also let us know that.

Full Commitment
Generally speaking, you must register for the full series in order to participate– we’ve found that having a stable group builds safety and depth. Very advanced movers can drop in on a case-by-case basis. Email us to inquire~ ci@livingartscollective.com

Registration
Register early to secure your spot and get 15% off of the series. Earlybird discounts expire at midnight on Sunday, March 10th. Use code 15%LCSERIESEARLY when you check out via our online system, Acuity. Please register online in advance. Register early!

Covid and Cancelation Policies

About the Teachers

CODA BADAMO
Coda Badamo-Connors’ (they/he/it’s) earliest movement practices include climbing trees & rolling on the sands of Lake Michigan. After formal training from ballet to boxing, it came home to improvisational movement in 2014 through flow arts, fire dancing, and CI. Coda has been facilitating group movement in 2017, collaborating with dance communities in Galesburg, Madison, Chicago, Asheville, and now the Triangle. His movement practices are informed by the queer chaos of ecology, and his facilitation is in service of a strengthened cultural integrity within CI spaces.

Starting as an apprentice to practitioners of Thai bodywork in 2015, Coda studied functional anatomy and treatment of pain, obtaining Thai bodywork certification in 2018. He partook in residencies with the Subbody Butoh school in India, and the Toward Centre for Practice and Research of Contact Improvisation in Thailand.

LEN FOYLE
Len Foyle (they/them), BFA, is a dance maker, improviser, and farmer who engages with the moving body as a source of queer pleasure, social disruption, and self-sustainability. Their perspective is informed by their studies at the London Contemporary Dance School, Virginia Commonwealth University, workshops, jams, and residencies around the world, Aikido, and their years spent in communion with the land and elements, growing food and cultivating the regeneration of soil.

Len is fascinated by the inherent queerness of CI: the proposition and acceptance of failure and disorder, the opportunity to build and nurture worlds that disrupt patriarchal and colonial understandings of bodies and relationships, and the mercurially playful and whimsical nature of jamming.

Toni Craig Contact Improv Instructor dancing with a student
Opening to the moment in improvised play!

Contact Improvisation Fundamentals with Coda Badamo-Conners and Len Foyle

SUNDAY March 10th, 3:30-6:00 PM

This 2.5-hour workshop provides an immersive dive into the fundamental skills, concepts, and techniques of Contact Improvisation practice, providing the groundwork to safely continue learning the form in the context of jamming and ongoing classes. You’ll get some basic physical and emotional safety and techniques under your belt, and get a taste of the joy of the practice! Great for folks new to CI or anyone who wants to gently revisit the foundations of the form.

Location: Downtown LAC Space

Register early!

Event Summary

Date: Sunday, Mach 10th
Time: 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Place: Living Arts Collective, 410 W. Geer St, Durham, NC

This 2.5-hour workshop provides an immersive dive into the fundamental skills, concepts, and techniques of Contact Improvisation practice, providing the groundwork to safely continue learning the form in the context of jamming and ongoing classes. You’ll get some basic physical and emotional safety and techniques under your belt, and get a taste of the joy of the practice! Great for folks new to CI or anyone who wants to gently revisit the foundations of the form.

Event Details

Please arrive 5-20 minutes early to be ready to begin at 7:00.

No experience necessary. All body types, ages, and abilities are invited to participate. We will be rolling and moving on the floor and transitioning up and down off of the floor. If you have concerns about the physicality of the class, email us to ask if it seems like a good fit for you~ ci@livingartscollective.com

Wear comfortable clothing that covers your shoulders and knees (a t-shirt plus sweats or pajama pants is ideal). Layers are also nice since activities will range from quiet and meditative to vigorous.

Knee pads will be helpful for the class– there will be some for sale for $18/pair, or you can purchase here. https://dancekneepads.com/products/natural-kneepads-pair

Price
Workshop cost is $25/$38/$50. The middle number is the suggested amount, the lower one is for those with less access to resources, and the higher one is for those with more access to resources. Please pay the highest amount you can comfortably afford. If you’d like to come but cannot afford the lowest price tier, please reach out to CI@livingartscollecitve.com for a further discount. If you are moved to contribute to a scholarship fund, please also let us know that.

Registration
Register early to secure your spot and get 15% off of the class. Earlybird discounts expire at midnight on Sunday, February 25th at midnight. Use code 15%LCFUNEARLY when you check out via our online system, Acuity. Register early!

Covid and Cancelation Policies

About the Teachers

CODA BADAMO
Coda Badamo-Connors’ (they/he/it’s) earliest movement practices include climbing trees & rolling on the sands of Lake Michigan. After formal training from ballet to boxing, it came home to improvisational movement in 2014 through flow arts, fire dancing, and CI. Coda has been facilitating group movement in 2017, collaborating with dance communities in Galesburg, Madison, Chicago, Asheville, and now the Triangle. His movement practices are informed by the queer chaos of ecology, and his facilitation is in service of a strengthened cultural integrity within CI spaces.

Starting as an apprentice to practitioners of Thai bodywork in 2015, Coda studied functional anatomy and treatment of pain, obtaining Thai bodywork certification in 2018. He partook in residencies with the Subbody Butoh school in India, and the Toward Centre for Practice and Research of Contact Improvisation in Thailand.

LEN FOYLE
Len Foyle (they/them), BFA, is a dance maker, improviser, and farmer who engages with the moving body as a source of queer pleasure, social disruption, and self-sustainability. Their perspective is informed by their studies at the London Contemporary Dance School, Virginia Commonwealth University, workshops, jams, and residencies around the world, Aikido, and their years spent in communion with the land and elements, growing food and cultivating the regeneration of soil.

Len is fascinated by the inherent queerness of CI: the proposition and acceptance of failure and disorder, the opportunity to build and nurture worlds that disrupt patriarchal and colonial understandings of bodies and relationships, and the mercurially playful and whimsical nature of jamming.

Toni Craig Contact improvisation instructor dancing with her class

Putting them all in conversation through practices of movement and attention.

Exploring the Innate Wisdom of the Moving Body and the Three Brains: A Somatic Dimensions Embodiment Laboratory with Ray Schwartz

SATURDAY, March 16th, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM

The Somatic Dimensions Embodiment Laboratory is a creative approach to accessing the wisdom of the moving body. Using a series of gentle touch and movement exercises – and improvisational structures that focus on anatomical and physiological harmony – we will explore the Center for Body Mind Movement’s approach to the Three Brains: Gut, Heart, and Head. Through deep body listening and community collaboration we will learn to balance these multiple centers of wisdom.

Location: Shared Visions Retreat Center

Register early!

Event Summary

Date: Saturday, March 16th
Time: Part 1 10:00-12:30 | Lunch 12:30-2:00 | Part 2 2:00-5:00
Place: Shared Visions Retreat Center (LAC Satalite Space), 3717 Murphy School Rd

*The pioneers of Somatics introduced to the West an alternative vision of health and the body, one that emphasized an intimate integrity of movement, anatomical structure, intelligence and spiritual consciousness. These teachers encouraged respect for lived experience and the wisdom that can be found through “attending to” rather than “conquering” or “controlling” life processes. – Don Hanlon Johnson

*You may have forgotten how to balance your multiple centers of wisdom, and—like many others in Western culture—you may be attempting to navigate through your precious lifetime solely from the brain in your head. Most of us are not aware that we have other choices, that we possess other centers of wisdom, which, if we listen to them, can radically alter our way of being in the world. -Mark C Taylor, Director of the Center for Body Mind Movement

A spacious time for folks who would like to set aside a day for embodied presence. Using a series of gentle exercises and improvisational structures that focus on anatomical and physiological harmony, we will explore The Three Brains: Gut, Heart, and Head – as developed by the Center for Body Movement, an ISMETA approved Somatic Movement Education program with certifications and activities in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States.
​​
The facilitator, Ray Eliot Schwartz, draws on over 40 years of the influences of Body Mind Centering®, Authentic Movement, the Feldenkrais Method®, Modern Dance Studies, Contact Improvisation, Traditional Thai Massage, and Zero Balancing™. These modalities form the foundations of a creative approach to embodiment and movement education. Their principles guide us on a journey towards understanding the powerful wisdom contained within the substance of the human body as well as how this substance is expressed through patterns of movement.

While the workshop is open to anyone, people who have comfort with emotional safety, boundaries, and consent in touch-based dancing and movement practices are optimal participants. As well it would be good if you felt like you knew a bit about sharing weight safely, and the ability to move up and down off the floor. A capacity for self-generated experience, active listening, a spirit of playfulness and adaptability, and a desire for collaboration and communication are highly helpful.

Event Details

Please arrive 5-20 minutes early to be ready to begin at 7:00.

No experience necessary. All body types, ages, and abilities are invited to participate. We will be rolling and moving on the floor and transitioning up and down off of the floor. If you have concerns about the physicality of the class, email us to ask if it seems like a good fit for you~ ci@livingartscollective.com

Wear comfortable clothing that covers your shoulders and knees (a t-shirt plus sweats or pajama pants is ideal). Layers are also nice since activities will range from quiet and meditative to vigorous.

Knee pads will be helpful for the class– there will be some for sale for $18/pair, or you can purchase here. https://dancekneepads.com/products/natural-kneepads-pair

Price
Class is $70/105/140 sliding scale for the day. $105 is the suggested amount, $70 is for those with less access to resources, and $140 is for those with more access to resources. Please pay the highest amount you can comfortably afford. If you’d like to come but cannot afford the lowest price tier, please reach out for a further discount.

Full Commitment
Generally speaking, and in order to integrate the full content of this offering, we are asking folks to commit to attend for the entire day. If you have a conflict and would like to attend for ½ day, email us to inquire~ ci@livingartscollective.com

Registration
The retreat is capped at 30 and will fill to capacity. Register early!

There is a 15% discount for those who register by March 2nd: 15%MAR16EARLY

Covid and Cancelation Policies

contact improvisation dancers

Photo Credit: Kathleen Hunter

4th Monday Jams with Live Music!

MONDAYS 2/26 • 3/25 • 4/22
7:00-9:00 PM

20 spots are open for drop-ins to the fourth Monday jams during our Feb-April Somatic Dimensions Study Group for Dedicated Improvisers series. Spaces are limited because series participants will also be in attendance~ it’ll be a rich time to digest and integrate all the nourishment from classes with our teacher, Ray Schwartz. Live music will be provided by Aubru Roze and guests. We expect these events to fill~ Online pre-registration is required to secure your spot!

Location: Shared Visions Retreat Center

Pre-registration a Must!

Event Summary & Details

Date: Mondays, February 26th, March 25th, April 22nd
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Place: Shared Visions Retreat Center (LAC Satellite Space), 3717 Murphy School Rd

Usually our jams are $10/15/20 sliding scale. For these jams, the stated cost is $20, and dancers can use coupon codes as an alternative to the sliding scale. 25%OFFJAM or 50%OFFJAM. The space opens at 6:45, opening circle at 7:15. Suggested arrival is 7:00ish to drop into the body before circling together.

The jam is contact improvisation-flavored, but has space for solo and ensemble improvisation as well. There will be no instruction, so it may not be the best choice for a total beginner. That being said, it’s always welcome to spend time learning through observation and moving in and out of practice. Familiarizing yourself with these jam guidelines from another community is a good idea if you have less experience with CI jamming. We have our own unique jamming culture which we will speak about in the opening circle, and are also generally in agreement with what is presented here.

Covid and Cancelation Policies

Registration

Cancelation/Refund Policy

Multi-Week Series
In general there are no refunds available for the series and no make-ups for missed classes. We encourage folks who know they need to miss a few classes to pay at the lower end of the sliding scale and take advantage of early registration discounts to compensate for this. There are a few exceptions in terms of refunds: In the case of an injury or illness which means the student cannot return to the class, we may consider a pro-rated refund. We also reserve the right to terminate anyone’s membership in the class if their behavior is unsafe or disrespectful. We may or may not provide a pro-rated refund in this case. For those who may decide that the class is not a good fit at this time for whatever reason, we offer a 50% refund if you withdraw before the 3rd class. If you decide to withdraw before the series begins, we will refund your money minus a 20% processing fee.

One Day Events
If you need to cancel your reservation before class begins, email us your request and we will refund your money minus a 20% processing fee. There are no refunds available once the class has begun. We will process all refunds the week after the workshop and it will take another bit of time for the money to return to your account.

Covid-19 Precautions

Humans of all vaccination statuses are welcome. Masking is optional. Please follow CDC guidelines in the case of symptoms, exposure, and recovery.

CDC Guidelines

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