Friday, April 01, 2016

Easter Treasure

It was a couple of weeks before Easter that I went to a contact improvisation class one evening on a business trip to New York. "Contact Improvi-what?" you ask, and like my colleagues you realize you're happy not to be this weird. Well, off I went, and it started slow - very slow, in a "we're going to connect to the center of the earth" kind of slowness. But then it developed into interesting and ended in pure magic as I connected really well with one of the other dancers and we had a short but oh so sweet contact dance together. I just knew that I had to find more of this magic. I wouldn't have guessed that Germany would be the place for it (no offense), but as it happened there was a big contact improvisation festival taking place in the town of Göttingen during Easter. I knew that I just had to throw myself into it.

The festival turned out to be more than just dance. It was a life style, a philosophy, a culture, built around a dance form. Highlights from the festival include me having:
  • been around 200 people 24/7, surrounded by flowing robes, healing theories and pan flutes
  • started every day in a singing circle after yoga and breakfast (in that order), singing lovely, loving songs that I've never heard before
  • rolled my body over countless other bodies, and had countless other bodies rolled over mine, a.k.a. body surfing
  • danced blindfolded in a hall full of other blindfolded people while musicians moved between us playing intense, tribal music using instruments from the deep jungles
  • seen people spontaneously wave their fingertips as praise instead of applause
  • witnessed people break into spontaneous ohmming as even higher praise
  • felt stupid after applauding
  • lifted other people, several of them far heavier than myself
  • bruised myself head-to-toe and broke one rib learning the hard way how (not) to move on the floor
  • met a shocked Swedish girl exiting the swimming hall where apparently she had found everybody to be naked. "This is just... We don't... We just don't do this in Sweden!!"
  • slept on a very hard floor for four nights
  • tried really hard to be liquid in my skeleton
  • been hugged, touched and smiled warmly at by random people
  • felt loved and accepted by strangers
  • last but not least: learned some basics of the wonderful dance form of contact improvisation and danced more or less 24/7
It is too early to say if there is going to be a lasting effect, but at least at the time of writing, I find myself seeking eye contact and smiling at strangers, almost like an American. And I feel a certain responsibility to spread the word - I mean, have you heard about contact improvisation before? You simply must try it! There would be no wars in this world if people were exposed to and able to practice contact improvisation. Maybe no depression either. Go, try it!

Oh, and here is an example of what it might look like:


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