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IDOCs » Contact Festival Freiburg 2019 Teachers Meeting Gravity of Watching Lab
Game Theory Lab session held in Contact Festival Freiburg 2019 Teachers Meeting, facilitated by Jurij Konjar.

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Title of the LAB: Gravity of Watching

Facilitator(s): Jurij Konjar

Date - time: 06.08.2019 17.00-19.00

Inquiry of the LAB (Questions, Propositions):

The initial interest and naming of the lab came from an interest in investigating the performative nature of the jam. What does it mean to perform? Jurij suggests that it is "to accept being watched". 

Participants: Michelle, Ana, Lewis, Shura, Catarina, Simonetta, Trinidad, Teti, Konstantinos, Georg


Flow (scores, exercises, discussions…):

 Jurij: read a correspondance of Steve Paxton about CI in performance

Circle: everyone spoke to their interest in the subject - interest varied between an interest in watching and how the watching influences the relation between two dancers.

Jurij: differentiates between watching and witnessing. witnessing acknowledges influence.

solo warm up for 10 mins looking for when you are following something

Take turns watching in duo - witnessing

have a duet following your interest

have a witnessed duet (one pair witnessing another pair). The dancers name when they feel a shift towards performativity or want to propell themselves into performativity "Now I'm performing". 

Closing circle: discussion with the group 

Reflections (discussions,writing, drawings…):


by Jurij:

Gravity of watching – lab report ; from my own working_diary, notes to myself (slightly edited)

6.8.2019, Freiburg teacher’s meeting

This was the 2nd lab on this subject that happened at the Contacfestival Freiburg. The first happened in 2017 with the descriptive title “Embracing performance as a part of a CI jam”, and it included CI performances in jams during the whole festival, which blended into the jams. Before that, there was the Gravity of Watching performance at the 2016 edition of the festival.

This lab addresses the situation of a performance, such as could take place in a CI jam, or in a contact duet (where the dancers are also the audience of each other). How does being watched change us, what can be felt by our partners, how do we practice engaging with sensation and reflexual movement while a part of our attention agrees with the audience, taking the outside view?

Prior to the lab I’ve read my notes from 2017, the section of “were I to do this lab again, what would I do differently”. And so this time I made a longer introduction.

While waitinfg for late-comers, I started by reading out-loud our correspondence with Steve Paxton, on performance. Then introduced the terms performance-auditor/audience-performer. Explained this is about performing in CI jams. That it’s not about what is CI performance, and what is not. Narrowed down the scope of research to the sensation of performing. Said it’s about the How, not about the What.

Anyway, we each worked alone, staying engaged with what we’re doing; then, being observed by our partner; then in duets (“can be a CI duet, but doesn’t have to be”), then one duet observing another, and change. Every time I’d encourage them to name “now I’m performing” whenever they felt it OR for to say that to propel them into performance. Each time I would also ask them to name what advice they would give to their partners about to perform for them, or to themselves going next. In short words.

I said, I can feel a tension rising in my partner, when we are performing (CI). And that’s the state I want to observe. Those transitions.

I said what we’re doing today is half of the work; the other half is observing the position of the active observer, moving…. And shifting roles continuously (btw dancer and observer), as the roles become more alike.. In the end you no longer know which role your partner is doing (but they know it), as you are dancing with them. As watching happens through space (and movement mostly through touch) the air in such a jam becomes tactile, dense…  and communication runs through the air.

I said I speak of “watching”, since this is the main thing that tends to happen in jams… rather than witnessing. It has a weight, I said. And the CI we build in jams is the CI we have.

What I’ve learnt – it’s alright if the sensation of performing is there, one doesn’t have to shun away from it, or find ways to eliminate it. It’s rather about staying continuously engaged with what one is doing continuously.


7.8.2019, The 2nd lab of Gravity of Watching – continuation

Practiced in duets, one duet doing the other duet watching it. The role of the watcher – they are able to move through space, discovering limits of their role.

When we performed for the other duet with Ana, my partner, I secretly suggested to her, that each of us to knows at any time if they are an observer or a doer. Very interesting duets emerged, with the dancers started feeling the liberties of being a watcher inside of the duet, the multiplicity or roles, the benefits of observation and “being” as oppose to (a hectic) “doing”.

Talked about it. Themes being mixed – what is improvisation, what is performing, and such.

Then did it once again, as a group of eight, always choosing to be a performer or an observer.

Did 12 mins of everybody watching and observing, as a group.

Lots of interesting improvisation and conversation happened. People naming how strong it was for them to watch, to be watched, to watch from the inside.. I name I was crossing borders of doing = moving, and naming my tendency of observing mainly with my eyes. I explored all roles.

In the talk, what was named could only be the gravity of watching. How strong the eyes were, how we organized according to watchers. I asked them a rhetoric question, of how they’d dance this if there was no-one watching?

I also named in the conversation, that it’s not on us, performers, to have a good time, and that we never know what the person watching us is thinking, and that we of course also watch from the inside, and that we never know when we do a good show – all we can do is try.

I said I enjoy very much dancing as an observer. And that I suggest doing that, rather then performing the observation. Which can be a tendency.

I said, sometimes when I dance CI with people I feel they’re dancing not with me, but that they are dancing with Contact Improvisation. In CI, the touch is what tells what the other person is focusing on. The quality of touch. In solo improv, it’s the quality of presence.

I was stressed again about time, and people speaking for too long.. Ana advised me to relax, and just let it happen, since I’m just the facilitator. That helped.

It was a very nice, participatory 2nd lab. Surprisingly, finally I was happy we did it. And they were very happy with it.

In the presentation of the lab for the whole group of teachers:

I’ve said we first defined the terms; in order to locate the area we could research in two hours, which was the sensation / state of performing, and the sensation / state of observing. How do I feel them, how dot they shift?

I said the performance situation was such as it happens in a CI jam, or in a contact duet, where each is an observer of the other.

I said, this is the 3rd lab presented that is on Watching (one was on performance, another on Tuning Scores); and that that in itself is memorable.

I asked the participants to contribute what they’ve experienced, or what they’ve learnt. Only Ana did.



This document is created based on the consent of all the participating teachers during the contactfestival freiburg Teachers Meeting 2019. 

If for some reason you (as one of the participants of this meeting) changed your mind and wish some or all parts of this document not to be published, please contact


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