Contact Improvisation

If you want to open your heart, start with your body.

The way I teach it, intimacy wouldn't be complete without movement.  In order to access the wisdom of our hearts and and the power of our sexuality, we need to first get into the body.  Contact Improvisation (CI) is one of the most powerful doorways I know to do that.

Contact Improvisation is a non-sexual modern dance practice in which two (or more) people share a moving point of connection, which often leads to sharing a common center of gravity, moving in and out of the ground, up and around in air, feeling limitless in space and time, with unlimited possibilities for FUN!!!

The thing with CI is, just like intimacy, you have to show up for it.  In this case, "it" is the experience of leaning into your partner's body or having your partner lean into you. In CI we call this "giving weight".  It's a literal expression.  As we move, we literally allocate a portion of the weight of our body into the body of our dance partner(s).  Like a back leaning into another back.  Or a shoulder leaning into a side body.  Or even a whole torso leaning over a hip.  It means that we become less entirely responsible for our own weight and receive the possibility of allowing someone else's weight to become our base, temporarily.

It's an act of trust, balance and playfulness.  It's also an act of surrender.  Sounds a little bit like intimacy off the dance floor, right?

Giving weight is also an act of sharing. Because in turn we receive the opportunity to take some of the weight of our partner into our own movement body.  We take turns in a dynamic interplay in fact, receiving and giving, giving and receiving.

One thing I have noticed is that if we can practice letting go and sharing weight on the dance floor, not knowing where it is going to go but staying with the connection with curiosity and non-attachment, then intimacy off the dance floor looks a little more hopeful.

And, it's all a practice.

This is one of my favorite videos by a contact teacher in the San Francisco Bay who describes the practice, have a watch!

In 2014 I started a weekly Contact Improvisation Class at Karmany Yoga in Dallas, TX.  So that I could train a group of other bodies to practice this work with me (hint: one cannot do CI by oneself!).  Though I no longer teach in Dallas, I am proud to report that the classes continue guided by a skilled facilitator and movers in DFW continue to have access to the benefits of CI.

Stay tuned for more information about my CI offerings in the Pacific Northwest.

"Before we met all I felt was anger and confusion. Like someone half deaf reaching for a sound. Every once in a while there was a flood of emotion then it would pass, and I would be dead again for a year. When I started doing contact (which I only did because you were teaching it) I started feeling with my body and expressing with my body. It allowed me to share myself in a way that I never had."  - Matthew Earthspirit

Consent in Dance Workshops

In response to the need in every segment of our world to raise awareness about boundaries and how to have healthy, safe, embodied relationships on and off the dance floor, in 2017 I started teaching "Consent in Dance Workshops".  These events are aimed at anyone who regularly frequents dance floors who wants to strengthen your ability to engage in non-verbal spaces with respectful consciousness about yours and others' boundaries.

During these events I guide participants through verbal exercises to give you a living taste of your own, authentic "yes" and "no" in connections to others.  No previous training is necessary to attend. These events are designed to assist any group to grow together in awareness of the challenges involved in identifying boundaries as well as the necessity for care in community connections.

The next workshop will be in Seattle on Friday, January 12th from 7-9:45pm. All details HERE.

Contact me to schedule a Consent in Dance workshop in your dance community.

Dance of Intimacy

JessLaughingwAaronImagine combining the best of intimacy coaching and therapy with a playful, romping, present-moment based dance form that involves physical touch, and you have, the Dance of Intimacy workshops!

Since 2014, I have been merging Contact Improvisation and principles of intimacy in events across Texas and on the west coast. Students in my Dance of Intimacy workshops learn how to use Contact Improvisation as a mirror for their patterns in intimacy, as well as a tool for having greater satisfaction in their personal dance of connection.

I also offer private Dance of Intimacy sessions. See my Couples Intensive link for details.

Read more on my events page and be sure to sign up for my newsletter to stay current on upcoming workshops in your area!

Dance Camp Northwest

Dance Camp Northwest 2018

August 19th-26th | Ft. Flager on Marrowstone Island

www.DCNW.org

In 2016 I began teaching at the regional dance camp on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state. At the time I was living in Dallas but flying to Seattle each fall for this week-long dive into conscious community.  And what I discovered was not just a camp with juicy dancers and dance floors.  But an entirely different model for leading dance.  

You see, Dance Camp Northwest (DCNW) is run by a collective of leaders.  So no single style or personality governs.  

Every night at camp, a different DJ and a different facilitator shared their dancing, musical medicine. Workshops were geared for all bodies and all levels of interest and capacity.  I spent time on the luscious green Earth in ritual; eating organic, locally-sourced meals prepared by a thoughtful and highly skilled kitchen staff; and in deep dialogue with my small group who met every day and gave me a "home base" for integrating into the camp community.  

Dance Camp Northwest organizers understood that a dancing community can be a site for social change. And so care was given to counter systems of oppression so that camp becomes a welcoming, safe place for dancers of color, queer and transgender dancers as well as families and folks of all ages.

I couldn't resist the pull of this community.

At the end of 2017 I moved from Dallas to Port Townsend to join the Board of Dance Camp and help develop the newly formed Consent Committee for camp, called "Safer/Braver/Sexier".  

Dance Camp Northwest 2018 promises to the best camp yet, in its six years of existence.  I hope you will join us!

All event information HERE.

Services

Conscious Orgasm

 I specialize in teaching a simple, 15-minute partnered sexuality practiced called Conscious Orgasm, or CO for short. Through CO I have woven together mindful communication practices with the sexual potency of OM to create a transformative tool for singles and couples.

Couples Coaching

We all want relationships that thrive. The ones where you are equal parts friend, partner and lover, and can stay connected through the ups and down. I believe that you can have it. That we all can.

Dance

If you want to open your heart, start with your body.  Movement practices are a vital doorway into discovering what is true inside of us so that we can connect authentically with others.  I teach dance events at the intersection of intimacy, consent, improvisation and community.

Communication Games

Ever wanted to feel the freedom to say just exactly what you always felt? Feel like you are always hiding behind the “polite thing” or the “safe guy or girl strategy?” Most people do. You are not alone. What if you had the tools to unlock the thoughts that live in your head and express yourself freely to others?