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Daria Voronina // Teacher
IDOCs » ECITE 2019: Reflections on "Sensitivity, Sensuality, Sexuality and CI Teaching Ethics"
I was part of the group research "Sensitivity, Sensuality, Sexuality and CI Teaching Ethics". Below is what came up for me.

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The primary focus of contact improvisation – is to explore movement and dance. Socializing, emotions, sexuality come second. That’s the approach that I like.  Knowing that other people also come to a jam/ CI event with this intention -  to focus, first of all, on dancing - gives me freedom to move and touch as I really want to while respecting the others. It also gives me some peace and trust that we have a shared reality here – we all came here wanting, fist of all, to dance. Therefore, I trust that my movement and my touch would be interpreted as, first of all, part of a dance. 

That’s why I like reminders like “We’re here to dance. We can make love outside the space”.

At the same, sometimes I come to this dance space and sense “Actually, at the moment I don’t want to dance. Actually, now I just want to receive some caring touch”.

And yes, we’re complex beings, and I still have my sexuality, my emotions, my physicality, my mind. And the choice to focus primarily on the dance cuts away all that “other stuff” a bit.

And yet, sometimes this “other stuff” kicks in. And when it does, it doesn’t ask for my permission. It doesn’t say “Hi, I’m your sexuality, I plan to drop by on Tuesday, is that okay?”.

It just comes.

And I’m confused, frustrated. Or disappointed, lost. Maybe sad. Hopefully, not hurt. Still, sometimes hurt, too.

“Other stuff” just comes. I was “just dancing” – and suddenly, I am amidst lots of things going on.

How do I establish my inner clarity again? If I manage to – by asking myself:

  • what do I want – from myself, from this person, at this moment?
  • what kind of touch/dance do I want?
  • what do I want from this person? Is it just an enjoyable dance? Or am already wishing for some kind of intimacy?

Some ideas of how I could react:

Say “yes”

Say “no”:

  • remove
  • say “stop”
  • explain why
  • go away.


Check with the other (verbally/non-verbally)

Express myself: here’s how it is for me.

Suggest something different (bodily/verbally)


Other thoughts:

Sensual – could mean simply “pleasurable”. And a sense of pleasure is the body’s way to indicate – yes, that’ what I need.

If you don’t enjoy your contact dance – why do it?


Reminding myself: I can lead. I have a power (and a responsibility) to take the dance in the direction I want to take it – be it slow / fast, sensual/not sensual… Our dance is part of our choices, and my choices are part of ours.

If I don’t like what is happening in our dance, I change. And I trust – and hope – that you will do the same.


If something is not okay – say in words. That’s also an option.


Exercise to differentiate between different qualities of touch (proposed by Sergei Semichev)

Partner A puts their hand on B's leg (for instance; could be other body part).

While keeping their hand at the same spot, A shifts between different focuses. So, the position of the hand is the same; it's just A's mental focus that changes. The focus could be:

  • touching the skin
  • touching the muscle
  • touching the bone
  • touching B as a person
  • touching an attractive body...

Partner B is asked to say if they notice any change in the quality of touch, especially if they felt a time when the touch switched from "physical" to sexual. A says if that was indeed the moment when their focus changed. Also both share about their experience in the roles.


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Ivanna Smolyana // Teacher
thank you for sharing!

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