// INVESTIGATIVE MOVEMENT PRACTICES (IMP) //

IMP Classes and workshops are taught by leading movement practitioners and reflect current developments in the field of contemporary dance. Each series takes a multi-faceted approach that integrates technique and creative process.

Wednesday Workshop Series / 6-8PM Kawasaki
$15 drop-in / buy a class series for just $10/class 


JAN 8 – FEB 12

Seattle Contact Improv Lab: Come on Up to the Lab and Dance to the Greatest Hits

 The Seattle CI Lab has been exploring, expanding and evolving the form of Contact Improvisation in Seattle for the past six years.  Based at the Grassroots Studio in West Seattle, the lab is a group of committed Contact dancers who weekly,  taking turns to facilitate explorations and experiments, gathering data and evolving their approaches to this incredible dance form.  Current members include W. Scott Davis, Louis Gervais, Mike Hodapp, Alex Kewitt, Cyrus Khambatta, Michal Lahav, Lisa Lightner, Nadia Losonsky, Liz Mattson, Kaitlin McCarthy, Sheila Skemp, and Christian Swenson. In preparation for this IMP series, the Lab has compiled a Greatest Hits series to share. Each lab will be facilitated by a different member of the group.

A “dance lab” is similar to scientific laboratory.  Exchange beakers for bodies and chemicals with kinesthetic experience. The goal is to ask questions about who we are and what we seek as we dance and to observe how certain approaches to contact improvisation bring us different results. It’s an on-going adventure.  Participants in thisIMP series will be invited into the exploratory approach to improvisation — we will be labbing ideas together.  The intention of this series is to help you find your inner dance scientist, to help you transform and expand your ideas about contact improvisational dance.  Join us!


FEB 19 – MARCH 26
Cyrus Khambatta: Improvisation Performance Lab

This IMP lab facilitated by Cyrus Khambatta will follow up on the work on trios presented in the first two sessions by the Seattle CI Lab in the preceding IMP series, focusing on partnering in duets and trios. Cyrus will share some of the methods and strategies he uses to help dancers create evocative movement, using each dancers’ physical personality signature and architectural dynamics. It will include the heavy influence of contact improvisation in Cyrus’ work as well as mutual observation of each other’s traits to assist one another in bringing out both movement qualities and dynamics that we can use to turn our personal movement strategies into a physical “game,” that we can play with others.

Cyrus Khambatta graduated from New York University where he founded Khambatta Dance Company (formerly: Phffft!). He has created both improvised and Contact-inspired choreographed works presented in nine US states, throughout Europe, Russia and Latin America by many companies. He has taught with improvisers such as Chris Aiken, Nina Martin, Karen Nelson, Katie Duck among others and performed/taught at Freiburg CI Festival, The New York and Washington D.C. Improvisation festivals, Seattle Festival of Dance and Improvisation, Dartington College (UK), Bialystok Dance Festival, Kontakt Budapest and others. He runs the Wild Meadows Farm CI Intensive, previously advised the Washington D.C. Improvisation festival, produces The Centrum Jam in Port Townsend, WA as well as the Seattle International Dance Festival –For more infowww.KhambattaDance.org


APRIL 2 – MAY 7
Sheri Cohen: Seeing, Dancing & Your Kinesthetic Imagination

How do we experience our eyes when dancing? Is our vision feeding us? How do we experience our eyes differently in everyday life vs. on stage, or when improvising vs. when dancing set choreography? If our eyes are the windows to our souls, what are we communicating through ours? In these classes we’ll begin by playing with some Feldenkrais material, sensing how the movements of the head and spine are organized by the eyes and vice versa. We’ll grow this out into moving through space, in both solo and group explorations. We will explore vision phenomenologically, looking for direct experience of color, texture, form, motion, etc. and find how the kinesthetic imagination — the body’s pathway to movement — is affected by and inspired by our vision. We’ll also visit other senses and body systems (breath, hearing, touch, bones, etc.) to enrich the dancing and keep it full and flowing. Occasional visits to our journals and drawing paper will help us see how we translate “vision” to “envisioning”. Wear lots of warm layers to start class that you can remove as we get moving.

Sheri Cohen has been researching somatics and the movement arts since the late ’80′s. An award-winning choreographer, she has taught dance improvisation in Seattle and abroad since the early ’90′s. Major influences on the material she will present in this workshop are Lisa Nelson and her “tuning scores”, Karen Nelson and her transmission of Lisa’s work, John Dixon and his collaborations, Julyen Hamilton, Joan Skinner, and all the dancers who experimented in her company and in her more recent open-ended research. Sheri is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner.

MAY 14 – JUNE 18
Sara Shelton Mann Project

Sarah Shelton Mann has spent a life-time in the art of her craft. Her IMP will guide attendees into her uniquely developed material by tuning our kinesthetic perception and unveiling “the Morse code of our collective body”. From many years of research Sara has created a training that integrates the physical and energetic body. Opening systems of the body from a trance/relaxed space we find the body that is both grounded and expanded into a multi-dimensional reality. We dance, solo, in partnership and with creative puzzles from this platform. The training includes chi cultivation and lots of breathing as a way to both detox and invigorate the whole being. We address a segment of the body each day and through function and research. This may include writing and image creation. We work the imagination muscles. We play and invite new possibilities each day. We dance.

Sarah Shelton Mann will lead the first two classes in this series. Beth Graczyk, Alice Gosti and Alia Swersky will continue the trajectory of the work SSM has introduced by synthesizing her workshop material and the work they will be delving deeply into while in residency with each of their own personal processes with Sarah Shelton Mann’s teachings and their own long standing research in dance, improvisation, healing and spirituality.

Sara Shelton Mann is an already legendary dance artist whose choreography and teaching has played a significant role in shaping contemporary dance performance aesthetics and choreographic process. Her protégés (Curtis, Epiphano, Hennessy, Hermesdorf, de Hoyos, Erdman, among many others…) tour internationally. Herself a protégé of Alwin Nikolais and Murray Lewis in NYC in the 60s, Sara was also deeply influenced by Contact Improvisation. From 1979-96 Sara directed Contraband, a ground breaking troupe of artists working at the leading edges of contemporary dance, performance, ritual, and music. She has received 5 Isadora Duncan Awards and was a Guggenheim Fellow in Choreography in 2000. Sara collaborated and toured internationally with Guillermo Gomez-Pena 96-99 and has created commissioned work across the US, in Europe and Russia as well as at UC Davis and other universities. Sara’s work has been supported by Djerassi Artist in Residence Programs, ODC commissions, NEA, NEFA, SFAC, SFF, Zellerbach Family and Gerbode Foundations.

 PAST 2013 IMP series

JAN 9 – FEB 13, 2013
Lucia 
Neare: RINGING THE BONES: Exploratory Sound-Making
Jump into the New Year by ringing your bones! Explore sound-making from a playful, whole-self perspective. Discover your unique and powerful vocal instrument. We’ll dive into vocal anatomy, body mapping and the athletics of moving air, we’ll unearth resonant territories, we’ll map the geography of vowels and the choreography of words. Let’s get lost in sound and find our voices by ringing our holy bones. This class is not about making pretty sounds (though there may be some of those); this class is about exploring your voice. These holistic, experimental, and sound-loving classes are open to all, including the vocally curious, shy, and terrified. All are welcome. Please bring a journal.

Lucia Neare is the Mayor’s Arts Award Winning creator of the beloved site-specific theatrical wonder, Lulluby Moon. Her free, large-scale, site-specific works have inspired thousands. A classical singer, sculptor, designer, director, performer, and producer, she is artistic director of Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders. Neare has received commissions and support from organizations such as 4Culture, Artist Trust, the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park, On the Boards, Seattle City Light, SAFECO, and Seattle Parks and Recreation. Lucia received the 2008 Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship, Seattle Magazine’s 2008 Spotlight Award, and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs 2007 CityArtists Award. Neare studied theater and contemporary performance at Naropa University and is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College.

FEB 20 – MAR 27, 2013
Louis Gervais: Exploring Contact
In this class, we will explore the interpersonal relationship that arises when we dance with one another. Whether we are dance partners or life partners, a highly personal sense of self is being communicated when we move together. Exploring intimacy, sensitivity, listening, and curiosity, we will dive into this inner landscape focusing on partnering from the inside out.   Working from inside to outside, we will discover how the inner connection is reflected in the dance that comes out into space. This class is great for beginners and even non-dancers who are interested in exploring  Contact Improvisation and partnering skills.

Louis Gervais, former member of Compagnie Marie Chouinard, has been exploring the intersection of improvisation, intimacy and  spirituality for more than 20 years.   His explorations have led to numerous course offerings such as: Chakra Balancing, Dancing Energy Systems and Men in Contact.  With a focus in somatic studies, Louis received his MFA in dance from the University of Washington in 2009.

APR 3 – MAY 8, 2013
Alia Swersky: Sensation into Play into Design
Moving from sensation we will follow our instincts and be guided by what is already happening in our bodies.  We will tap into what is primal to access multiple layers of our innate creative wisdom.  In essence, engaging our inner world to release the subconscious into physicality, play and compositional design.  Through a dynamic physical collaboration of the senses, along with attention to image, space and touch, we will gently interweave internal and external awareness to create solos, duets, and ensemble dancing.

Alia Swersky is a movement artist, performer and teacher, engaged deeply in the vital act of dance improvisation. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in 1998 with a BFA in dance and now teaches as part of the creative process curriculum at Cornish as an adjunct faculty member since 2005. Swersky has taught at Velocity’s Strictly Seattle Festival and the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI). She was a long time Co-artistic director of Dance Art Group (DAG), a non-profit organization that promotes the practice and appreciation of dance and somatic education in the Seattle area, including the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation. Alia has taught yoga continuously for over 10 years and invites this influence into her dance work and teaching. Other influences include contact improvisation, release/somatic techniques, Authentic Movement, Tuning Scores, Aikido, Buddhist meditation, and many pivotal dance partners and teachers. Alia danced and toured nationally and internationally as a member of the LeGendre Performance Group. She has also collaborated and performed in the works of many Seattle artists including The Maureen Whiting Company, Khambatta Dance Company, Jurg Koch, KT Niehoff of Lingo Dance, and Salt Horse. Alia has been actively performing, and creating improvisational and choreographic works in Seattle since 1998.

MAY 15  - JUNE 19, 2013
Alice Gosti: Say Yes
A movement and imagination workshop against self-censorship and judgment. We will be working on the idea that one’s body has inspiration of it’s own and it is connected to one’s imagination. What if we think about our signature movement not as something that we need to avoid and get rid of, but as an unfinished sentence that we never allowed ourselves to deeply and completely realize? What if we give permission and say – yes – to all of the random impulses and images that pop into our imaginations? What if instead of tricking the mind into being distracted, we trusted the bodies’ mind? No, I am not a ‘non-conformist of the 1960s’, I am a punk that loves airplanes and airports and thinks that we give too much power to our minds, that’s all. Come to class.

The exercises and tools that will be used in this class are the same that Spaghetti CO. has used in the creation of the first two chapters of the Spaghetti CO. saga - Something just happened at 1:19 pm and Are you still hungry?. This class is open to people interested in movement and imagination, dance experience is not necessary.

Alice Gosti is a 27 year old space transformer, dancer, choreographer, performer, filmmaker. She was born and raised in Perugia, Italy, and is the daughter of the dynamic art duo Sandford&Gosti. She trained in her hometown at Ass. Culturale Dance Gallery with Rita Petrone and Valentina Romito, and graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in Dance from the UW.  Alice has performed in works by Paige Barnes, Carolyn Carlson, Bruno Collinet, Jane Comfort, Laara Garcia, Mark Haim, Tonya Lockyer, Keith Hennessy, Monica Mata Gilliam, Tiffany Mills, Amy O’Neal, Fritha Pingelly, Jennifer Salk and Ellie Sandstrom. This year she has received – the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Dance 2012 and Dance Web Scholarship 2012 for ImPuls Tanz in Vienna.

SEPT 11-OCT 16, 2013
Louis Gervais: Dancing Energy Systems
When we look beyond our visible, physical bodies, we can  see ourselves as energy and information.  From this alternate standpoint, we resemble a chain of interconnected centers or chakras that are in constant motion as our life force energy flows in, out and throughout our bodies. Through improvisation, visualization and somatic exploration, we can create powerful personal relationships with the invisible and ever-changing energetic Self.  Working with gesture and story, we describe shapes and pathways of these centers.  Through rhythm and breath, we can sense the distinctly different qualities of energy throughout the body and beyond.  Creative exploration and knowledge of the chakra system not only enhances self awareness and movement quality, it can also vitalize yoga and other practices as well.

Louis Gervais brings 40 years of dance experience and creativity to his teaching.  Louis has performed with Compagnie Marie Chouinard among many other professional companies. Louis’ teaching work combines improvisation with transcendent dance practices and Eastern philosophy within a somatic framework.

OCT 23-NOV 27, 2013
Christian Swenson: Becoming Animal
“For art to appear, we must disappear.” – S. Nachmanovitch
Who or what are we when we’re not ourselves?  How can we imitate the Other with accuracy and deep regard for the spirit of each different being?  In this class we will practice the ancient art of animal imitation as movement artists, scientists and shamans.  We will carefully morph ourselves (hands, spines, faces, eyes and voices), enact predator/prey relationships, create creature-characters and observe their behavior and interactions.  Learn how to disappear yourself without costume or make-up, and notice how and why this is humorous, beautiful and scary.

Christian Swenson has an uncanny ability to shape-shift his body and voice to imitate creatures from this world and beyond.   For 30 + years he has been performing and teaching around the Northwest and the rest of the world. He is known for his pioneering work in what he calls “Human Jazz”, a global fusion of dance/drama/music for body and voice. In 1977 he received a BA in Theater from the University of New Hampshire and moved to Seattle to work with the Bill Evans Dance Company.  Further training has included work with Tony Montanaro; Diane Schenker; Ruth Zapora; Korean shaman, Hi-ah Park, and with the late Pakistani master-singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.  He has performed with Bill Irwin, The Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and The Jay Clayton/Jim Knapp Collective and in Europe with Jim Nollman of Interspecies Communication Inc. He presently teaches in the Theater programs at Seattle University and Bellevue Community College. Christian has received Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State Arts Commission and Artist Trust of Washington.  He resides happily in Seattle with his wife, Abigail, and two children.

DEC 4-18
Stephanie Skura: Open Source Forms (OSF): Freedom + Rigor + Courage

Fluidly expanded from Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT), Skura developed Open Source Forms (OSF) after 12 years as a member of the SRT Institute’s core faculty, and decades of radical performance practice.OSF is about cross-fertilizations and deep commonalities of SRT and creative process: a technique that includes shedding outer layers, finding primal energy, agility navigating subconscious realms, and imagery as powerful tool for transformation. Skura draws on her research and practice in improvisation and innovative composition techniques, and her extensive background in SRT. Her teaching derives from a rehearsal process that celebrates diversity, collaboration, and individual empowerment.  These sessions offer methods to access conceptual and creative freedom, specificity, courage and honesty in movement, vocal practice and performance. With juicy experiments finding surprising pathways between conscious and subconscious, movement and voice, witnessing and participating. Bring paper and pens for writing and drawing.

Stephanie Skura,  ”reliably irreverent” Bessie award-winner, is a choreographer, director, performer, mentor, teacher, teacher-trainer, writer, innovator. She has toured professionally for three decades in 13 countries and 30 states. Her current work takes an innovative approach to language and voice, continuing investigations of boundaries and intersections of dance, theater, poetry and performance. Her involvement with permaculture and naturopathy supports a dedication to catalyzing creative process in a holistic and collaborative way, with a deep respect for individual diversity and subconscious realms. She holds a BFA and MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch, and directs Open Source Forms Teacher Certification Program.stephanieskura.com