Berkeley Winter Contact Improvisation Intensive
with Karl Frost
February 17-March 4, 2018
at the Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut St, Berkeley, CA
A 3 weekend series in the physical art and techniques of contact improvisation
- February 17-19 (3-day President’s weekend workshop): Core Explorations of Contact Improvisation: all levels
- February 24-25: Dynamic Contact and Physical Listening: beginning/intermediate
- March 3-4:Upside Down, Into the Air, Off-balance and Backwards: intermediate/advanced
All workshops are Noon to 6PM Saturday/Sunday (plus Monday Feb 20)
- One-on-One sessions: Karl will be available for one-on-one sessions in the weekdays in-between the two weekends. Click here for details
Contact Improvisation is a 40 year old art exploring the unique physical possibilities of bodies moving through contact: part “non-martial” martial art, part physical meditation and collaborative bodywork practice, part human roller-coaster. This series is meant as a “from the ground, up” workshop focusing on technical skill building for soft power, ease, efficiency and 3-dimensional dynamics. The workshops also explore the Passive Sequencing work — related to explorations from the internal martial arts and practices from somatic psychology, Passive Sequencing is a release-based approach to contact and a study of conscious and unconscious body-use, reactivity, and possibilities for more functional awareness in motion. We develop the possibility for safer and more dynamic states of abandon within the dance and a wider palette of exploration through physical contact.
The weekends build on each other and get progressively more challenging. Beginners are welcome for the 1st weekend, but the 2nd, and 3rd require progressively more established skill. For more specific explanations of level expectations for the weekends, see the notes at the end of the web page.
The workshop is open for participation in an individual weekend (especially the first), but they are structured and priced so that most will want to do more than one weekend and some will want to do all 3.
For those who did the workshops previous years, there will be plenty of new material at each level.
For information of what minimal skills are are expected for level 2+ and level 3+ workshops, go to contact skill levels.
Weekend 1 Core Explorations of Contact (All levels)
The first weekend is a fast paced review and integration of the core explorations of the classic off-balance contact dance. This weekend is intended both as a fast-paced intro for beginners and as a deepening for more experienced dancers. Most advanced skills in contact are really just understanding the fundamentals more deeply. We’ll explore
- Supporting, Giving, and Sharing weight
- Following a rolling/sticking contact
- 3-dimensional movement while connected through shared off-balance and mutual support
- Skills for movement into and out of the floor (falling, rolling, sliding, etc)
- Physical listening skills
- Use of alignment and off-balance for ease in support.
- Lift and weight sharing movement vocabulary (back to back lifts, fireman’s carry, various table supports, hip carries)
- off-balance and inversion
- Intro to Passive Sequencing (softening, becoming more present with interaction with a partner, and beginning to track our own less-conscious physical reactions to other)
- moving support and more dynamic movement into and out of floor with weighted connection to partner
- comfort in going higher with lifts
- … and falling comfortably out of lifts (aikido rolls, side rolls, shock absorption, landing gear available).
- comfort with back space and articulating the back
- comfort with “no hands” dance as an articulate and interesting dance.
- Constant readiness for weight and direction shift
- dynamic use of off-balance (including readiness to catch falling partner when coming out of a lift and ability to set partner down intelligently through off-balance)
- Deeper into the Passive Sequencing work including
- Sensing triggered reaction in oneself and in partners
- Beginning to soften these reactions to allow more moment to moment presence and decision making
Weekend 3 Upside Down, Into the Air, Off-balance and Backwards (Level 3+):
- continuous readiness to deal in a soft and articulate way with dynamic incoming weight
- ability to stay off balance
- wider array of lifts (shoulder lifts, catches, etc)
- comfort and awareness through inversions into, out of, and through contact
- continuous functional proprioceptive tracking of partner
- organizing into dynamic efficiency and power through off-balance and spiral tracking of partner’s structure
- moving into and out of contact through inversion
- subtle and sophisticated use of the whole body
- still deeper Passive Sequencing work, including
- comfort with non-forcing manipulation and allowing other to participate in the organization of one’s body
- offering adaptive support
- minimally triggering manipulation and deeper collaboration with a partner’s body
Cost… The costs are structured for people to do more than one weekend and be able to afford it. As I have trained in the martial arts over the years, I have found that my largest advances came from revisiting the fundamental skills from a more experienced perspective, so my thought is to encourage experienced dancers to take a workshop or two based in skill sets they have already been exposed to and one at the edge of their learning curve. Note that the first weekend is a 3 day weekend priced as a 2-day weekend. I think it is very important for people to have a good foundation if they can get it, so i want people to be able to do this workshop.
Sliding Scale fees for workshop… pay what you can. Lower end of the sliding scale is below, but if you can afford to pay a bit more, that would be appreciated. Refunds given, minus deposit ($50 one weekend, $75 for two, $100 for three), if cancellation is made before the workshop.
When registering, if you are not signing up for all 3 weekends, I will assume that you are signing up for weekend 1 or weekend 1 and 2 unless you say something otherwise. Mostly, I do not let people sign up for just weekend 3 unless they have already worked with me, and even then I am usually more particular about that. Please read the notes about skill levels, weekend participation, deposits before signing up, and feel free to write for clarification of skill levels.