Contact Improv
Jess Curtis
June 10-12, 2016

Per/forming Contact Improvisation
Intensive Workshop with JESS CURTIS

Director/Choreographer/Performer (San Francisco/Berlin)

June 10-12, 2016
Studio Urbanraum, Berlin

Friday, June 10th: 3-6pm
Saturday, June 11th: 10am-6pm (1h break)
Sunday, June 12nd: 10am-6pm (1h break)

How do we per/form Contact Improvisation (CI)? From its outset, CI has been inextricably entwined with the act of performance. Whether in the performance experiment, Magnesium, or the early performances at the Weber Gallery in New York (both led by Steve Paxton.) The doing of CI has gone hand-in-hand (sometimes literally) with specific practices of perceiving and receiving. From its influence on partnered acrobatics on the largest stages, to the way we watch and feel and listen to each other at a jam, CI and the concept of performance are inextricable. CI was and is part of a movement that both questions the values of spectacular commodified performance and sometimes mobilizes different values in the ways it is performed.

In this workshop we will work from the most basic building blocks of experience, unpacking sensation, perception, impulse, affect, cognition, reflex, and reaction in order to create more space between them in which to locate our performing skills. Layering synesthetic sensory-motor skill sets we will ground in and surf through twisting topologies of flesh and blood to enact perceptual acrobatics that bring us into new dimensions of world. Is freedom the state of having choices, or a state beyond choosing?

How do our senses in/form, support, interrupt confuse and enable the (inter) actions we call performing? What is in the space between sensing and doing, or is there any space there? How does doing create sensing? How do we enact our perception(s)? How might we perform our perception? How can this way of thinking about experience inform our dancing in a jam or the making of a body-based performance?

How do various architectures and social spaces affect the dancing we do? How does something as simple as sitting in a circle, change the way we watch each other? How does my awareness that you are watching me change both of our experience?

+ We will also address issues of presence, connection with a partner, dynamics, virtuosity, utilizing scores and musical accompaniment.
+ We will develop movement as both virtuosic, performative action and as meaningful theatrical image.
+ We will examine the physical actualities of touch, manipulation, counterbalance, force, resistance, and surrender, both as physical states and as metaphors for interpersonal and intercultural relations.
+ We will examine and practice the state and quality of improvising, looking at a variety of relationships between imagination, action and time.

This workshop will be an embodied exploration of cycles and scales of sensing, observing, and consequential action in physical practice. Working from the cellular to the global, we will examine how we sense each other, take action and make meaning while we move. We will give particular attention to the tension between the concepts of presence and performance as lenses through which to observe/view/feel/listen-to/activate the body.

Bring curiosity, a desire to dance and a willingness to be seen.

This workshop is open for movers with at least basic Contact Improvisation skills that want to increase the awareness and precision in their dance; exploring the use of those skills as both a compositional tool and a performance form.

Not necessarily just for dancers, but focused for makers with a body-based performance practice. The material is accessible to folks with diverse physicalities and THE LOCATION is wheelchair accessible. Please contact us with any questions regarding access accommodations.

Advanced levels of curiosity and attentiveness required.
The workshop will be taught in English (translation to German possible)


Jess‘ Video Channel:

Living and working in Berlin and San Francisco, Jess Curtis has created a body of work ranging from the underground extremes of Mission District Warehouses with Contraband (1985-1994) to the formal refinement of European State Theaters with Jess Curtis/Gravity (2000-present). Known for his interdisciplinary and cross-genre work, Curtis has collaborated with some of the most innovative artists working today, including Sara Shelton Mann, Keith Hennessy, Maria Francesca Scaroni, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Jules Beckman, Jörg Müller, Claire Cunningham, and many others. Along the way Mr. Curtis has co-created ground breaking circus works with the Franco-American Circus project Cie Cahin Caha, Cirque Batard; collaborated with the renowned FabrikCompanie in Potsdam Germany; and been commissioned to create works for companies such as Artblau ContactArt (Italy); Blue Eyed Soul Dance Company and Croi Glan Integrated Dance (Ireland.) Curtis teaches Dance, Contact Improvisation, and Interdisciplinary Performance throughout the US and Europe and has been a visiting professor at UC Berkeley and the University of the Arts (UdK/HZT) in Berlin. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from UC Davis.

Early bird 140€ (money transfer until May 7th, 2016)
thereafter 170€

For registration details and workshop questions please contact me bye-mail at


Urbanstraße 93, 10967 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
1st backyard, 2nd floor
Wheelchair users take the freight elevator at 2nd backyard.

subway/metro/U-Bahn: U8 + U7
station: Hermannplatz
350m by foot,+Urbanstraße+93

Robbie Sweeny
(The dancer’s are Jess Curtis and Jörg Müller)

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