Posts Tagged ‘improvisation’

Podcast: Movement Research Studies Project “Overlapping Circles,” Mar 11, 2013.

Movement Research Studies Project: “Overlapping Circles” –
a conversation with Nancy Stark Smith,
K.J. Holmes, Jennifer Monson and Jen Rosenblit
March 11, 2013, at Gibney Dance Center

Listen to the Podcast here:

Improvisation as a practice, and particularly the rich history of CI, has spread throughout the world in various permutations and with multiple offshoots, evolutions, hybrids, specializations, etc. With improvisation in some form or another as a now ubiquitous presence in much of contemporary dance, how are people grappling with the various practices of improvisation in the context of contemporary performance? How do we situate our dancing in the larger world? Is it performance? Practice? Who is it for and how does it serve and/or inspire us and others? What tools and materials are we using — and toward what ends?


I’ve been having an ongoing discussion with Manhattanville College students in my contact improvisation class about improvisation and choreography. I am often troubled by how those terms are used. What do those words mean? Why are those terms habitually used diametrically? If choreography is “the composition and arrangement of dances” (from Merriam-Webster dictionary online) or “also know as dance composition” (from Wikipedia), does choreography equal composition? If improvisation is “to compose, recite, play, or sing extemporaneously” (Merriam-Webster online), is improvisation instantaneous composition? Is the defining difference between choreography and improvisation time of deliberation? Read the rest of this entry »

All Dance All Improvisation All the Time

Wednesdays September 22 and 29 there will be an open space for improvisational practice at Eden’s Expressway from 5:30- 8:30.

The idea for this came out of the Studies Project last May at La Mama on inter-generational improvisation practice.

It seemed like a good idea to create a space where improvisational practices could co-mingle and cross pollinate.

I am constantly referring back to my experiences at Open Movement at PS 122 in the 80’s and 90’s. That situation gave me an opportunity to develop my own practice up against, with, beside, in collaboration with a room full of amazing artists. I’m hoping that something like this can adapt and fit the current situation for artists interested in the evolving practice of improvisation.

So please come on by and bring your friends

Jennifer Monson- MR faculty


I have been reading Kevin Lynch’s book, Image of the City. He is an Urban Planner and the book was published in 1960. In the appendix he has some fascinating references to orientation and navigation. Some of the most highly tuned navigational skills have developed in undifferentiated landscapes such as the flat snow covered areas of land and sea in the Arctic and the vast, dry deserts of Australia.

This capacity to find meaning and significance in the perceived shifts between land and water, fog and ocean which can appear trackless and without landmark reminds me of improvisational experience.

There is a moment of orientation when the abstraction of the destination becomes a leap of faith. Sometimes there is a simplicity to the navigation of the physical experience of moving. An image arises, that draws on the body to produce something in the space that demands a response. The system is unstable, is inventing it’s own instability as it moves along. Unfurling and carrying along the accumulated purse of sensation.

It’s the small things that become significant. But within each of those details there is an attention to the shifting map of the entire landscape, either veering wildly off course or steering directly towards the destination.

Recently I have become more disoriented. Spending more time wandering in the wrong direction, but at the same time being exactly where I am. I am curious about how this is effecting my improvisational practice.

K.J. Holmes Saturday classes for this season end on May 22

Hi Everyone! We found a small mistake in our calendars. The wonderful Athletics of Intimacy/Improvisations class with K.J. Holmes will go on summer hiatus one week earlier than announced. The last class will be Saturday May 22nd, 11am-1pm, Eden’s Expressway. Be there!

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