Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson is a dance improviser for 4 decades of touring, performing and teaching worldwide and collaborating with many influential artists including Steve Paxton/Material for the Spine/Contact Improvisation; Lisa Nelson/ Tuning Score/perceptual improvisation; Nancy Stark Smith/Contact Improvisation; and many others including those of diverse abilities and ages. Karen initiated the Contact Improvisation mutation DanceAbility, along with Alito Alessi, Bruce Curtis and other mixed abilities dancers using Contact Improvisation as a basis for equality. Karen initiated the community sustained Diverse Dance Research Retreat, a “bring your own research” leaderless experiment attracting international mixed abilities participants annually for 7 years. Throughout the 90’s she was part of Image Lab, an original Tuning Scores group, with Lisa Nelson, Scott Smith, K.J. Holmes and guests including Nora Hajos and Ray Chung. She initiated Cobrew a meeting of Seattle tuners and John Zorn’s Cobra musicians overlapping the two compositional mediums. Gaggle (1988) a pre-tuning, evening length piece marked a devotional shift for Karen’s choreographic work exclusively towards improvisation. Joined by Nora and K.J. in DanceBand they performed Gaggle under the stars in the Eugene Planetarium, . Her work Deal (1996) explores the nature of collision, composition, and dealing reflexively with unknown impacts using Contact and Tuning. Karen worked for 8 years in early 2000’s as a multi-tasking caretaker of a Buddhist meditation retreat facility-under-construction. Her writing has been published in a new collection Dancing with Dharma as well as Contact Quarterly. A graduate of the Embodied Life School, Karen began studying with founder and lifelong Feldenkrais trainer Russell Delman in 2011, a mix of Feldenkrais, zen and "embodied listening-speaking” or Focusing. Karen lives on Vashon Island in Washington where her community activism includes work with All Island Forum. explomov.weebly.com

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