This week I have been in Warsaw (Poland). I was visiting my dear dancer friend Marta because we are starting a new project together.
I have decided not only to see the city and the typical monuments but to join as an observer in a open class in which Marta participated: a Contact Impro Jam only for women. And I could not resist the fact to take photos (with the permission of the assistants, of course).
For those who does not know what contact improvisation is, I am going to summarize it: Contact Improvisation is a dance technique in which the exploration of the physical contact is the main point to move. The movements are improvised and it is practiced by two people minimum who attempt to keep a physical contact with each other while moving freely with or without music. The dancers must have physical reflexes and consciousness of both their own body and the others’. The sessions of this technique, sometimes organised periodically, are called “jams” like in jazz music.
I first discovered Contact Improvisation by watching a Youtube interview and I liked the idea, though I have never tried it myself. I realised that even if there is no specific level required to start, the more you have done it and the better your body is prepared, the more “acrobatics” you can do in a safe way.
Getting back to Warsaw, I thought it was curious that this jam was only for women. A lot of times these sessions are mixed, men and women dance together and mantain body contact. However, listening the expectations and thoughts of the participants before starting gave me the answer. A young woman said that it was the first time she was about try a Contact Impro and if the sessions had been mixed, she would not have come because she would not have liked to be touched by men she did not know. Another inexperienced woman said that she felt more comfortable if all were of the same gender. And a third participant added that in some sessions, some people go just to have contact with others rather than dance, quite often with a sexual purpose, unfortunately.
The jam worked out very well. Women without a large experience in dance enjoyed it and laughed of joy while dancing. They all finished very tired.
I enjoyed a lot testing my eye and watching the evolution of the people: how they were meeting and gaining trust on each other, how they were becoming friends without speaking.