(No)Contact Improv

Recently I have been pondering the idea of partners connecting without physical touch.

I was considering the ways in which we might (and often do) connect with other dancers in class/rehearsals/performance without any actual touch.  I feel this often when traveling across the floor with someone I kinetically connect with;  I feel it when walking in space, weaving in and around my classmates, keying into their energetic pathway and the imprint they leave behind;  I feel it dancing Shen Wei's Rite of Spring with a cast of bodies I know so well, never touching, but always feeling their presence;  I feel it at the barre connecting my breath and movements to those in front and behind me and across the barre from me.

As someone who craves touch and connectivity with other dancing bodies, I suppose I actually place equal value in the interconnectivity of energies in space.

This concept manifested itself for me in a truly magnificent way this past Sunday at the Contact Improv Club's Weekly Jam in Pomerene Hall.

After a few intensely connected partnerships that worked into a frenzied, risky energy (and resulting in me spraining my toe),  I re-entered the dancing space to play with feeling solo improv as a contrast to the work we'd been digging into.

Perhaps sensing my desire not to touch anyone at that moment (mainly as an exploration, but practically as a safe-guard for my newly injured big toe), Rachel approached me and began to improvise near me without ever making contact.  This progressed into a sort of spacial game playing the negative space and pathways around each other's bodies, as well as a game of matching trajectories (all without speaking or planning).  A third party, Amanda, joined in and picked up on our energetic interplay; seamlessly adding herself to the mix.  We continued this for quite sometime, developing tempo, momentum and rhythmic changes along the way.

Afterward, I felt the same elated feeling I experience after following a jam with actual visceral contact;  My nerves were humming and my senses heightened.

Something to think about.