user avatarDilek Üstünalan // Teacher
user avatarDefne Erdur Eligible Member // Teacher
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user avatarDaniela Schwartz // Teacher
IDOCs » Contact Festival Freiburg 2019 Teachers Meeting CI as performance language discussion
CI as performance language discussion during lunch on Wednesday 7th in Contact Festival Freiburg 2019 Teachers Meeting

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A conversation 06 August 2019 at the Freiburg TM on

Title of the LAB: Contact Improvisation in Performance making

Proposed by Irene Sposetti

Date - time: 07.08.19

Praticipants : Markus, Bradley, Mileen, Tim, Natividad

Documentor: Defne

Inquiry of the LAB (Questions, Propositions):

How can we efficiently use CI as main language for a performance based on Instant Composition?


How do we overcome the shift of awareness and physical availability that often happen when confronted with performance making ?...I do experience evident shifts in the quality of listening, in the somatic intelligence and its ability to make CI dialogues when performing.  The tone of the body becomes “monotone”, the tempo of movements speeds up and arise a necessity of producing actions, indeed spectacular or meaningful ones.

There is a tendency as well to choose space as main reference for relating rather than the contact between bodies.

Bradley – he calls that “getting Performance Blind”,

a state of anxiety associated to the fear of being judged due to the presence of a defined audience that arises in the frame of performance.

He develops many strategies in order to overcome this “performance blind syndrome” considering it a very serious and necessary thing to be addressed in order to assure quality in performance making. He is moved by a will of considering Instant composition as a fine art which requires a certain level of engagement and responsibility.

He demands for accountability to dancers during performance making over lack of listening and physical blindness, in the same way we could address a lack of choreographic precision when working with set sequences. 

He takes a lot of time pre performance for dancing, practicing and tuning in with partners in order to inhibit the stage fear symptoms.

Tim – Is out of Contact the end of Contact?

The conversation unfolded in common resonance about the issue experienced mostly by all and we shared a series of ways to create a ground of trust, ease and awareness in order to keep focus and ability in listening and dancing CI while performing.

Some strategies:

Clear short frames,

  • setting ahead intentions and agreements on physical focuses during the dance,
  • focus of the content not on form,
  • Inviting the vulnerability of movers as a part of the performance,
  • clearly naming and acnwoeldging during the process of investigation the anxiety which arises linked to the fact of being judged and pressure to produce and act on it directly
  • inviting the audience regularly during rehearsal time as a sort of “exposure therapy”,
  • breaking the barrier with the audience by including them energetically while composing, or let say inviting them in your composition.


Extra notes and reflections on the theme after the conversation:

Somatic intelligence and presence in CI dialogues are deeply linked to a state of Trust, to a sort of “detachment from the outcome”,  free from inner/outer expectations and demands, apparently so inherent of nowadays CI practice, its frames and philosophy.

Bringing CI on the stage while keeping subtle embodiment and a fresh creative Improvisation mindset is a further step in the research of the practice for those who are willing to integrate it actively in performance making.


Video is from the speed sharing labs session.


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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