IDOCs » why compromise. mind the dance. CHAPTER 6
A personal way of documentation in several chapters by Márta Ladjánszki (H) Translation by Zsolt Varga Connected to: Contact Improvisation Discussion by Eryn Rosenthal (US), Michael Kimmel (?), Defne Erdur (TR/FR), Kevin O’Connor (CAN)

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As my next program started with an almost 15’ delay I had the chance to recheck the main topic of the next sharing/presentation.
Contact Improvisation Discussion by Eryn Rosenthal (US), Michael Kimmel (?), Defne Erdur (TR/FR), Kevin O’Connor (CAN)
“Touching the (not) touching is the title of this sharing/presentation. Three research projects that apply Contact Improvisation (CI) in settings that range from socio-political and pedagogical to cognitive science meet up in this session. They show how systematic-reflexive approaches advance the understanding of CI principles and the contributions it can make to interaction theory (regarding topics like autonomy, collaboration, and participatory sense making) and its wider socio-political import. Facilitated by Kevin O’Connor.
Defne Erdur’s PhD focused on psycho-social and socio-political implications of implementation of CI in Turkey where body, touch and sexuality are still taboo; gender inequality, power relations in daily life are problematic and personal boundaries are frequently violated. She reflects on the changes amateur dancers went through in relation to concepts that framed her research.
Cognitive scientist Michael Kimmel investigates expert CI duets in very thin slices of interaction – often shorter than a second – describing in detail which perception skills, micro-actions, and body habits contribute to success, and how they are interwoven. This analysis also shows how complex coupled movements need not emerge from somebody’s inner design, showcasing a new, interactive approach to creativity.”

Kevin invited the participants to the space. They sat on prepared cushions and chairs and Kevin (Eryn was not present) did a sum up. Contact Improv as a tool was the main topic, like in TR the cultural-political situation, Kerstin Kussmaul joined as well (instead of Eryn).

We were starting with the exercise “Touch the palm of your partner and push away” followed by a verbal sum up by the members of the spontaneous duetts…

Kerstin–Michael started.
Kerstin worked in dance and science as a contact practitioner, introduced sensory mode action (physical ground of decision in CI) and she was reading about teaching contact – teaching concepts that were relevant to teaching contact.
From here Michael continued (he was practicing tango, shiatsu, bodywork).
He was introducing the Micro-genetic explication methods, which they were researching and after a short introduction Eszter Gál and Kerstin joined him to demonstrate briefly. They made a short “pretending of improvisation” in which they should repeat an action but first Eszter should put in words what did she do while getting in dance with Kerstin. Became a long standing and focusing on the action as she wanted to point out when the connection starts and ends.
“Preparation – Action – Rebound”
“When were you clear they accepted your invitation. What was the change?
How were you leaving the possibilities to open for other possibilities?
What is a saying yes and a mean to do?”  – Kevin echoed Michael’s notes.

[On a point I felt that words and focused brain-work tired me, I didn’t listen so much to what Michael showed on the slides, was I loosing the track?]

Some key words Michael was pointing on: How do I work with the informations to make the first step? Collecting more infos and then to make a decision. How do we make decision in real time? Micro-coordination works through dance. Key notion: Synergy. What is improvisation? – an axial model…

Kevin gave the mic to Defne to continue, who first introduced herself and told where she came from and what she did until now. (The best is to check her bio on 30th page.)
She nicely mentioned Nita Little who was present and who learned from Steve Paxton. Then she invited her to show how she learned to fall through aikido. She actually introduced her PhD, how she got close to the theme and how the own work became a so called “multiply work”. She mentioned names who she studied/researched with during the last 3 years and who helped her to establish the Turkish CI.

The research was probably an interesting work (unfortunately in Turkish)

[Right now I was in the middle of reading Cynthia J. Novack (1990): Sharing the Dance. Contact Improvisation and American Culture. This work clearly described the roots.]

The main thing now was how CI appeared in the Turkish circle.
She introduced another Turkish girl who took part in the CI lab that was working on a weekly base. Together they made a 4-days research based on Defne’s guidelines and themes. It was 8 people who accompanied Defne during her work. Defne reunited the group also in Istanbul two months later (2-days session). The most important summary for her was “BEING A COMMUNITY”.
Defne continued with mentioning how hard it was for her to write her thesis as some words – such as “body–touch–sexuality” which are common in CI – had to be replaced because of Turkey. She was advised to censor herself to use intimacy instead of sexuality etc.

[Defne had a very clever way of facilitating her own speech by including present people on an international scene as well. One could feel her hard work and also a kind of career behind.]
Defne was quoting Nita Little: “responsibility OR response ability”.

In the sumup Kevin was putting the question “Who is this research for?”. He addressed Kevin who was working with Kerstin on this study which was soon to be published. I think there was no direct answer.

[Are we here really to teach techniques? Do we hope for participants (dancers) to practice with us (teachers) to dig into ourselves and discover our own-selves hopefully with great pleasure and beside or most of all to live our lives in a known and maybe happy body?]

As Nita was invited to grab the mic and to add some words to Defne’s work she draw parallels between Turkey’s present situation and the one in the US during the Vietnam war. Actions – reactions.
Defne talked about living in France but being in a difficult situation because of standing for the community through CI and being politically active. She called to protest and she felt responsible with her research that was published online and on purpose in Turkish. It was important that the ones back home understand and know what is happening. But what will happen to those continuing her work?
The responsibility on our teaching process was in the air and Kerstin pointed out that it works just in case you are empowered!

Unfortunately I was not able to visit Scratching the Script by Sabina Holzer (AT) THIS IS A REFLEX EVENT
But I found an essay at so I hope by reading it we get the point.
This was an invitation to radically connect your dancing experience with writing.

(… to be continued :-) )

IDOCDE 5th Becs2017 51 KerstinKussmaul MichaelKimmel k
IDOCDE 5th Becs2017 53 DefneErdur TR FR NitaLittle USA k
IDOCDE 5th Becs2017 54 DefneErdur TR FR k

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