Falling into… contact improvisation

For the last year or so I’ve spent many mornings at the Western Front training with EDAM (Experimental Dance and Music) learning and practising contact improvisation. EDAM, led by Peter Bingham, is the nucleus of contact improvisation in Vancouver, and stepping onto that smooth hardwood polished for decades by moving bodies is stepping into Vancouver’s dance history, to participate in a legacy that has greatly influenced the dance landscape in Vancouver.

I’ve discovered a deep love for this soft, subtle, challenging dance form, which has pushed me and molded me in many ways in only a short time. I feel such gratitude towards the other dancers, who have taught me with patience and an infinite reservoir of experience.

Each morning as we move and warm up, from the front of the room Peter inserts observations and information into the class, which helps us to open our bodies and minds and get going. These continue throughout the class, as duets form and the energy increases in the room.

 

“notice what you are paying attention to”

“tension masks sensation”

“ease increases range”

“lead by following”

“don’t be in a hurry, even when you’re moving fast”

“don’t try to fix things, resolve them”

 

Every day, a new organization of the same words hits me as if for the first time, and I discover a new tool (or an old tool) that allows the dancing to improve, or succeed, or fail, or find itself in the failing.