Contact Improv - a Spiritual Dance Essay

Submitted By happyom
Words: 1002
Pages: 5

Contact Improv

What if there was a way to move and play with another person that could temporarily take your mind away? Like a drug, it leaves you altered, but clearer, more balanced... leaving pleasant endorphines and a drive for creating deeper connection as the only side effects. What if you could find this connection with anyone, regardless of language, size, race, age, or religion? What if you could find the deepest possible intimacy with someone in the seconds that you meet them, and a minute later be through, having not gotten their name, not removed any clothing, perhaps not even having opened your eyes for more than a moment. You may never see them again, and yet the trust and love and divine presence were real. The experience strengthened your knowing that love is possible and that we can come together and support each other and create amazing things. And despite the momentary nature of that one interaction, what if your wife comes up to you after and says "Wow, that was amazing", and proceeds to engage with you in the same way, as you love to do each day, building your committed relationship deeper and deeper all the time. Whether single, married, polyamorous, or celibate, I believe this new age Tantra, full conscious immersion in our experience, will prove to be a key element in our evolving world. As a relatively unexperienced lover of this dance, I have reached a full on boil of excitement and feel compelled to share it with the world.

Improvisational Contact Dance (CONTACT IMPROV) is an art form and spiritual exercise in deep listening and weight sharing*. One learns to surrender their center of gravity into the support of another, who is doing the same thing and give over to a falling, playing, dancing spirit that is newly emerging each moment from the temporary union. Thinking gets pushed right off the screen and raw awareness stands vulnerable and revealed as a new joint mind explores possibilities. The fewer taboos and discomforts among the dancers, the more spirit can move the bodies and reveal new thrilling possibilities. The experience of shared breath, once only available to lovers and nursing mothers, now unfolds in an open space between uncommitted people, sometimes with one person lifted off the ground in a deeply surrendered position with immense sensation throughout body and spine. The profound depths of kundalini tantric union so difficult to achieve through sex with all the variables of control, anxiety, and release -- suddenly becomes accessible, with no fears or even thoughts of an outcome. Simply surrender and open, and learn to let your cup be ever more deeply filled.

In 1972 a man named Steve Paxton offered the first performance of Contact Improvisation and soon began to teach what he was doing. As time passed, many veins of this game began to develop, some more for performance, some very casual, and some looking at a deeper psychological value. While very captivating to watch, and fun in a social sense, it is this deeper value that I feel so moved to underscore. Here is a sample video I love to share of playful unchoreographed contact dance.

Simply the process of learning to contact dance can change your whole experience of life. Very few contexts in this life teach us to listen deeply to another person in full presence. Becoming a safe and skillful contact dance requires time and exploration with different people, but once we have, our relationships transform. We become aware of how much burden we are putting on one another, what the affect of our touch is, and how we can offer ourselves vulnerably and authentically in an interaction. Although much of the unteachable wisdom we gain from contact dancing applies in all areas, some of it only finds expression with others who have opened to that degree, and another layer only opens when sharing