Winter CI Intensive


My beautiful picture

Because of Karl’s more complex travel schedule this year for his anthropology work, the Berkeley Winter CI Intensive will not be starting on President’s weekend as it has for the last 5 years, but is going to be rescheduled for the late winter or early spring.  Dates should be announced by mid January.

The format will include the same 3 weekend series as the last years, and so the information from last year is included below.  However, for 2018, the plan is to add 3 days of week-day workshop between the weekends, so that the whole will be a densely packed 2.5 week intensive!

Berkeley Winter Contact Improvisation Intensive

with Karl Frost

A 3 weekend series in the physical art and techniques of contact improvisation

  • Weekend 1: Core Explorations of Contact Improvisation: all levels
  • Weekend 2: Dynamic Contact and Physical Listening: beginning/intermediate
  • Weekend 3:Upside Down, Into the Air, Off-balance and Backwards:  intermediate/advanced


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)

Weekend 2 Dynamic Contact and Physical Listening (Level 2+):My beautiful picture 

We’ll explore…

  • 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+):


We’ll explore…

  • 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 and Registration

Fees for 2018 are TBA, once dates are set.  Below is the information from 2017, just for reference…


2017 cost and registration information

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.

alternate lower end of sliding scale
Regular Very Very Early Very Early Early
# of weekends paid by day before the workshop paid by January 13 paid by January 29 paid by February 3  paid “at the door”
1 $200-$300 145 165 180 225
2 $315-$415 225 255 285 340
all 3 $390-$490 280 315 355 425



To register, send in fees via paypal via the link here (or directly to

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.

Further notes

  • If I sign up for weekend 2 or 3 and send a deposit, am I guaranteed to be able to do it? No.  Ideally, you will have read the skills being described for the previous weekend and have a sense that you already have integrated them.  In the case that I see your technique and judge that you don’t have sufficient technique and I think it will be problematic, I will ask you not to continue. Weekends 2 and 3 require comfort with and integration of the skills of the previous weekend and permission of instructor.  It is not necessarily the case, for example that doing weekend 2 will be sufficient to prepare someone for weekend 3, though it may, depending on movement experience and ongoing practice.
  • What skills are expected of participants in the weekends?  Weekend 1 is open to beginners, though all should already be comfortable with movement and being in physical contact.  Those with absolutely no experience of contact improvisation are recommended to take a class or two and/or attend a jam before the workshop. It is also quite appropriate for people with experience in contact improv to do weekend 1.  It will be at a fast pace and have things to work on for all skill levels. Referencing the level descriptions at Contact Skill Levels (0-7), weekend 2 expects that all participants are at least at level 2, and weekend 3 expects that all participants are at least at level 3.  Level 3 participants may, if they wish skip the first weekend and level 4 participants may, if they wish, skip the second weekend.

for more information, write to

PS if you are coming from out of town and want to do a couple of weekends, the SF Bay area has a vibrant dance community with lots of opportunities to fill out the days between with dance training and practice: jams, classes, and a very contact-friendly ecstatic dance are some of those.

Karl Frost has been teaching and performing contact improvisation and related work in body-based creative process for over 25 years. He is known internationally for his dynamic and articulate movement style, his rigor in physical research and teaching, and for the edge-pushing nature of his work in both practice and performance. His work, influenced by studies in contemporary release technique, Alexander technique, and martial arts as well as paratheatrical work and somatic psychology, has been showcased across the states, Canada, Europe, and Israel. His performances take the body and emotionally and physically felt experience as their reference points. Some of his recent projects have included the Dancing Wilderness Project, the blindfolded participatory performance works AXOLOTL, PROXIMITY, and BODY OF KNOWLEDGE, and Contact Camp at Burning Man. He has an MFA in Choreography from UC Davis and is currently a candidate for the PhD in Ecology, emphasizing cultural evolution theory and human ecology.

Of his performance work…

“ utterly compelling!” Brett Fetzer, The Stranger, Seattle, April 2004
“ extremely interesting” Ann Wagner, The Stranger, Seattle, Sept 2004
“ the most surprising performance experience i’ve ever had and … one of the most rewarding.” Brendan Kiley, The Stranger, Seattle Oct 2005
“…something startling and strangely beautiful to behold.” Molly Rhodes, SF Weekly August 2007

 Posted by at 10:36 pm