a wayward/activist archive of contact improvisation

Elements (37)







Oo Ga La Dance

video, photograph, poster, postcard, text

Ishmael Houston-Jones, Fred Holland

Cathy Weis


School of Sensitivity


Dieter Heitkamp

Lisa Schmidt, Brigitte Streseman




Steve Paxton

Steve Christiansen


Sex and Gravity

article, photo, score

Jess Curtis

Stephanie Maher, Jess Curtis


Our Own AIDS Time


Keith Hennessy, Ishmael Houston-Jones

Claudia LaRocco


Unsafe Unsuited

article, photograph

Keith Hennessy, Patrick Scully, Ishmael Houston-Jones

Deborah Jewitt



photograph, article, video

Ishmael Houston-Jones

Chris Cochrane, Dennis Cooper, Alvaro Gonzalez Dupuy, Johnnie Cruise Mercer, Michael Parmelee, Jeremy Pheiffer, Kensaku Shinohara, Michael Watkiss, Hentyle Yapp


improvising while black

practice, article, performance

mayfield brooks

Karen Nelson




Andrew Suseno, Dean James Beckwith, Cecilia Fontanesi, Funda Gul, Richard Inkyu Kim, Javaka Steptoe

Nhu Nguyen, Farai Williams, Kimberly Tate, Gabriel Gomez, Ryuta Iwashita, Kylee C. Smith, Kris Seto, Kara Nepomuceno




Andrew Suseno

Ishmael Houston-Jones, Richard Kim, mayfield brooks


Questions to Nancy Stark Smith by Keith Hennessy


Keith Hennessy

Nancy Stark Smith, Ronja Ver, Jen Pollins


Questionning Contact Improvisation


Keith Hennessy

Scott Wells, Megan Low, Shira Yaziv, Kaitlin Guerin, Robbie Sweeney


Male Breast Feeding

practice, photograph

Antonija Livingstone

Stephen Thomson, Mich Cotta, Peter Pleyer, Nadia Lauro


Anqua Danse avec les roues

image, website, practice

Isabelle Brunaud

Sylvie Tiratay, Arnaud Grelier, Aga Miley, Emmanuel Sala, Daniel Franchini, Azucena Suncais, Alain Faure, Daniel Motta, Serge Pauchon, Annie Quentrec, Barbara Mangano, Ioana Violet, Marie-Laure Kaminski, Sylvie Fleurot


Contact Improvisation Consent Culture


Kathleen Rhea

Sarah Gottlieb


Dancing Queer


Emma Bigé

Antonija Livingstone, Diana Thiellen, Paul Singh


Queer CI Lab & Jam


Paul Singh, Kristin Horrigan



Queer Contact Improvisation Laboratory for Men


Peter Pleyer

Stretch Festival, Village Berlin


The Ponderosa Trilogy

video, webpage

Peter Pleyer




paper, drawings

Nancy Stark Smith

Ann Cooper Albright


contact Gonzo

video, article

Yuya Tsukahara

Masaru Kakio, Keigo Mikajiri, Takuya Matsumi, NAZE


Training in the Contact Zone

chapter, audio

Donna J. Haraway

Joe Dumit, Asaf Bachrach, Emma Bigé, Defne Erdur


The Uses of the Erotic

audio, chapter

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde


Consent and Contact Improvisation: A Dialogue

zoom, video

Karen Nelson

Rosemary Carroll, Stephanie Auberville, Charlie Halpern-Hamu, Sasha Lasdon, Kathleen Rea, Sarah Schaffer


On being neuro-a-typical in the contact improvisation community

zoom, video

Rosemary Caroll

Kathleen Rea


Respect des limites / Coexistence des genres


Brooks Yardley

anonymous women


Stinson Beach

gay commune

Nancy Stark Smith



The Feet



Susan Manning




Ishmael Houston-Jones, Fred Holland

Pamela Moore, Defne Erdur, Léo G. Gentil


Olympics of Contact

performance announcement

Felix Ruckert

The Meeting Point, Mireia Aragones Carol, Malin Astner, Susanne Martin, Maya Lipsker, Litsa Kiousi, Fenia Kotsopolou, Alessio Castellaci, Maia Urquiola, Thomas Brian, David Brandstetter, Jorgos Fokianos, Felix Ruckert, Heiko Senst, David Bloom, Erikk


On CI Intersections

cq article, article

Ann Cooper Albright, Keith Hennessy, Geneviève Cron, Daniela Schwartz, Kent Alexander, Zach Arfa, Taja Will, Kathleen Rea, mayfield brooks

Asaf Bachrach, Colleen Bartley, Richard Kim, Ming-Shen Ku, Sasha Lasdon, Yeong Wen Lee, Angelique Niekerk, Steve Paxton, Heike Pourian


Tribute to Oo Ga La Dance

video, photos, texte

Pauline Balayila, Rosalie Sarda, Ina Rose .O. Atoyebi-Alapini

Ishmaël Houston-Jones, Fred Holland


Les déséquilibristes

Video, photos, texte

Ina Rose Rosalie Sarda

Victor Mizrahi




Radical Faeries

Radical Faeries


I am touched by absence

audio recording

mayfield brooks

Karen Nelson, Anya Cloud, Charlie Morrissey, Alejandra Garavito Aguilar


Touchdown Dance

article, photographs

Steve Paxton, Ann Kilcoyne

Kate Mount, Tony Rahim, Eleanor Tew, Bill McKinlay, Karen Nelson, Gerry Overington, Caroline Waters, Gill Adams, Mala Sikka, Richard Spicer, John Cutts, Lee Parkinson, Helen Simmons, Sharon Higginson, Graham Tranter


Caring Banquise

performance, video, text

Mathilde Monfreux, Claude Boillet, Virginie Thomas, Clémence Diény, Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot, Jérémy Damian

Raphaëlle Dupire, Trecy Afonso, Léa Kieffer


A W-Archive of Contact Improvisation

A W-Archive of Contact Improvisation (WACI) is a practice-based archival project that investigates the counter-hegemonic potentials and wayward histories of Contact Improvisation, a movement form that emerged in the 1970s in the US and is now practiced in many places around the globe.

Initiated in the times of pandemic turmoil and social unrest that shook the globe in 2020, the project aims at gathering Contact Improvisation practitioners around the investigation of the activist and social justice legacies of the form, asking: How has Contact Improvisation attempted to contribute to the political struggles of its times? How are they at play in the micropolitics of Contact Improvisation communities? And conversely: What are the minor stories that Contact Improvisation doesn’t tell about itself? Who are its own invisibilized folks? What are its own seemingly wayward undercurrents of practice, and could we learn to celebrate them?
A W-Archive of Contact Improvisation is inspired by many key moments and endeavors of Contact Improvisation history: from Ishmael Houston-Jones and Fred Holland's Wrong Contact Manifesto, to Keith Hennessy's Questionning Contact Improvisation, to Karen Nelson's Contact Improvisation interrogates its history and currency, to Kathleen Rea's Contact Improvisation Consent Culture, to the collective work around Parcon Resilience and many other forms of articulating CI with social justice movements. Taking inspiration from these fugitive/resistant practices who set at to be unruly and question the seemingly “right” and obvious ways of practicing being a Contact Improviser, we ask: Could we track the wyrd & oblique forms of Contact that have sought to undermine the “obvious”? Could we trace the imaginary and real legacies of all those who have willingly queered, wyrded or hijacked Contact Improvisation?
SF as anArchive
A W-Archive of Contact Improvisation offers SF and anArchive as practices of wyrding the archive. Acknowledging fugitive ancestors is a delicate balancing act : how can we celebrate them and at the same time not force them into a form of visibility that would only re-stage the very categorization they sought to elude? How can we make resistant practices visible while simultaneously refusing to be complicit with the capitalist imperatives of identification and transparency? The W-Archive mixes Science Facts and Speculative Fictions, historical archives and anachronistic anArchives, in order to make visible the present of the archivists next to the past of the archived, and to blur the identifiable.
W is for
W is for Wild, Wyrd, Wrong, Wayward, Wacky, Wonky.
W is for interrogating whiteness, and the West, and other forms of racialized geographies.
W is for (Love) Warriors.
W is for Women and otherly queer-gendered folks.
W is an inverted M, an antidote to the Major, a study in the minor.
W is for Who is here and Who is not, Who has access and Who has not, Who can read these lines and Who cannot.
W is for We, and not knowing who We are, and dwelling in the unknowability & potential of our dissensus.
W is for Water and its hydrofeminist lessons (for example: the refusal of solids as the only kind of reality, & the embrace of fluid, and viscous forms of being).
W is for the Whales that are extinct right now, and for our ceremonies of our Mourning and Loving them.
W is a letter that doesn't exist in Turkish.
W is for Memories upside down, a practice of SF as archive: an archive of the future, an archive of the present, an archive of the past as they could have happened.
W is for the insistant Will to honor our ancestors inspite of a culture of forgetfulness.
A short history of WACI
WACI was constituted as part of the Round Robin Project, an international adventure initiated in 2008 to serve the dance form Contact Improvisation (CI) and all the people worldwide who are engaged in that work—dance practitioners, performers, researchers, teachers, and any other interested people. This project aimed at giving tools to Contact Improvisers worldwide to celebrate and make public their work without depending (too much) on Big Tech companies (such as Fb or Ggle...). This led to the creation of the CI Global Calendar under the supervision of Eckhard Müller (and many more) on the one hand, and on the other, the beginning of a project for a Global AnArchive of Contact Improvisation, curated by Nancy Stark Smith, Dieter Heitkamp, Emma Bigé and Defne Erdur.
After the passing of Nancy Stark Smith and the full-digitization of CQ's archive, Dieter, Emma and Defne were left orphans, &also wandering: what kind of archive would two queerdos from Germany and France and one woman from Turkey who now lives in Europe make if they were to retrace their lineages in the practice of Contact Improvisation? if they were to look at ancestors working with social justice, queer & feminist frames & consent practices? At a moment of global turmoil, in the midst of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movements, it became urgent to celebrate the runaway and fugitive tendencies that have been a motor in Contact Improvisation's development. And so instead of starting Global, the anArchive decided to start in the minor, and celebrate the part of Contact Improvisation histories that have presented themselves as insurgent and that have offered tools for countering hegemonies of all sorts. We hope this first stone in the Archive of the Wyrd Contacts will open new ways for sustaining all sorts of mischiefs.
Wanna become a W-Archivist?
The W-Archive needs you to submit Archives, from real or fictional events, relating to your histories or dreams of past, present and future events in the worlds of Contact Improvisation and its activisms, whether you authored, witnessed, heard about, or dreamed these events
please fill out this framaform
[[ Note : the W-Archive is a hub, not a host ; if you create an Archive, you should be able to refer to another place online where the information is stored; only exceptionnally might we be able to upload content on our servers, as they are very small ]]
Please use and circulate this W-Archive
Share it with your students and colleagues and friends, invite them to contribute.
[[ Note : The question of access is quite unsolved for us, we do not know how these materials and fugitive histories might reach those who might feel alienated by the form // we simply have some hope that putting them together might help give some historical depths to the diversity of involvements in the form since its inception]]
Dancing the W-Archive
Our base is practice. Our desire is to dance together and figure these stories in the flesh. The W-Archive thus started as a gathering of movers, in the dance studios of Larret (Périgord, France) with a mixed group of dancers living in Europe: Defne Erdur, Emma Bigé, Ina.O Atoyebi, Pauline Balayila, Léo G. Gentil, Ton Bogotaj & Jana Burianova. Paul Singh and Karen Nelson joined us online for interviews. And Dieter Heitkamp, Daniela Schwarz, Sarah Konner, Colleen Bartley, Kristin Horrigan, Rosemary Caroll and Abril Lukac offered us some precious feedbacks from afar. Immense thanks to all of them.
If you want to be informed of our next events, online or in person, please write to danses [-] tordues @ riseup [dot] net


Wanna become a W-Archivist?
The W-Archive needs you to submit Archives, from real or fictional events, relating to your histories or dreams of past, present and future events in the worlds of Contact Improvisation and its activisms, whether you authored, witnessed, heard about, or dreamed these events
please fill out this framaform
[[ Note : the W-Archive is a hub, not a host ; if you create an Archive, you should be able to refer to another place online where the information is stored; only exceptionnally might we be able to upload content on our servers, as they are very small ]]



Queer CI Lab & Jam


Type of document


People involved






2020 Queer CI Lab & Jam (online edition)

With Kristin Horrigan & Paul Singh
May 30, 2020 - 12:00pm to May 31, 2020 - 3:00pm

Embodying queer solidarity in a time of pandemic

In this container, we create time and space for queer voices to be heard and for queer folks to explore movement and embodiment.

In two focused, online three-hour sessions (with ample breaks!) we’ll share:

Movement imaginations to create future landscapes for queer living/relating
Discussion about what it’s like to embody being queer in daily life and dancing
Time to connect with each other in solidarity, joy, and conversation
Glimpses into the work of queer theorists who can inspire our practice 
And of course, dancing in our wild, beautiful, queer bodies!

For anyone who identifies as Queer, Trans, Lesbian, Pansexual, Gay, Asexual, Nonbinary, Two-Spirit, Agender, etc. No experience with dance or Contact Improvisation necessary.

Detailed Schedule (all times in EDT on Zoom):
Here is a map of where we think we’ll travel this weekend. Of course, in the spirit of improvisation, we may make some changes along the way. We also invite you to dance through and around this schedule of offerings in whatever way suits you, just as you would at an in-person jam. XO — Kristin & Paul

Saturday, 12–3pm
Welcome, introductions, and setting the container for the weekend (30min) — including time for participants to share access needs
Movement Session: Feeling queer connection from a distance (20-25min)
Breakout Room Discussion: Dancing with other queer folx (10min)
BREAK (10min)
Movement Session: Pleasure in movement & Desire Lines (55min) — last 15min dancing in small groups in breakout rooms
BREAK (10min)
Envisioning Queer Futurity in CI (35min) — including 10min discussion in breakout rooms, 10min discussion as a large group, and 10min to either move or discuss further in breakout rooms
Wrap up (5min)

Sunday, 12–3pm
Arrival and orientation (10min)
Movement and Discussion: Layers (45min) — includes some freewriting, a 20min stretch of movement, and the last 10min will be spent in breakout room conversations
BREAK (10 min)
Movement Session: Polyattentiveness into Jamming (55min)
BREAK (15min)
Breakout Room Discussion: How does queerness inform our dancing? (20min)
Harvest and Farewells (15-20min) — includes some reflection and some group discussion

Kristin Horrigan has been questioning gender for more than 20 years and dancing Contact Improvisation for nearly as long. The two explorations have been deeply bound together. In recent years, Kristin has been creating workshops and events that help CI dancers unpack the conscious and unconscious ideas about gender that live in their bodies and come out to play in their dancing. Begun as an exploration of the queer potential of CI as a gender-fluid dance, her research unearths the habits and histories that limit us to gendered stories in our dancing and queers our potential for embodiment and expression in CI. Kristin has also been involved in creating CI spaces for queer-identified folks, as an alternative for those who feel unsafe or unwelcome in the atmosphere of heteronormativity present in some mainstream jams. A CI teacher since 2001, Kristin has taught and performed CI around the USA, as well as in various places in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Australia, and Argentina. Kristin’s CI teaching explores pedagogy that preserves the accessibility of CI for people of all body types and abilities, the skill of being interested in the moment, and the relationships between play and composition in CI. A professor of Dance and Gender Studies at Marlboro College, Kristin directs a curriculum that is oriented towards social justice, creative process, critical thinking, and interdisciplinarity. Kristin also holds an MFA in Choreography from Ohio State University, and works as a community-based artist, drawing together untrained and trained dancers to collaborate around issues of mutual interest or concern.

Paul Singh is a dancer that lives and works in New York City. He earned his BFA degree in Dance from the University of Illinois, where he focused on a variety of dance techniques including Alexander Technique, Ballet, Modern, and Contact Improvisation. He began his studies in CI with Chris Aiken and since then has studied with Angela Dony, Yaniv Mintzer, Ray Chung, and others. He has traveled the world to all the CI festivals in Israel, Russia, India, Spain, Germany, Finland, Canada, etc. He has led intensives at many of these contact gatherings as well as assisted others in teaching fundamentals of falling, flying, failing, and laughing. As a student and teacher, he uses his understanding of Bartenieff Fundamentals as well as his innate sense of spatial awareness to explore more deeply the ideas of being grounded, becoming softer, and forgetting the difference between up and down. He is currently on faculty at The Juilliard School, Sarah Lawrence College, and Movement Research in NYC. He specializes in Contemporary Partnering, Floor Work, and CI.

(source: https://www.earthdance.net/2020queerjam)

photos © Kikuye Sugiyama, featuring Spirit Joseph (bottom)