Improvising Return: Approaching Contact with Nervous System Support

Join us as we re-enter into dancing together, attuning our nervous systems and desire for connection. Facilitated by Daniel Bear Davis & Alyssa Lynes

June 20, 2021 -
10:30am to 2:30pm

Programming category: 


This workshop will create a context of mutual care to support developing our agency and choice as we re-engage with Contact Improvisation in intimate dialogue with the needs and timing of our unique nervous systems. Our explorations will be informed by Somatic Experiencing® and various resiliency/consent practices. We will discover pathways to dancing together - at whatever distance we are ready for - with a priority on minimizing override, maximizing listening, and facilitating reparative experiences for each other.

We will acknowledge the gap that may exist between what we desire in our dances and what we can stay present to and integrate into our larger life contexts. We will support this through caring preparation, attuned practice, and intentional after care. 

The CDC says it's safe to go back to what we used to do. People are getting together and hugging and dancing together. Do you want to jump right into contact and forget the whole thing? Do you want to run the other way at the idea of dancing at a jam? Maybe both? Perhaps it feels hard to ask for what you want in order to feel safe - or to move slowly enough to even understand the options. 

If you are navigating any of these or similar complexities, you are not alone! During this time, where much of the world had so little movement and connection for so long, we could understand it as a sort of global freeze response. It’s no surprise therefore, that this process now can be disorienting and bring up strong feelings and sensations! Let's support each other to move through this moment in a good way together. Let’s come together as a community, with our diverse experiences of pandemic life, into a space for tender listening, playful shenanigans, attuned human connection, and good old-fashioned play!

  • This will be a masked event.
  • Everyone is welcome.
  • You may come with someone to work with the whole time if that supports your sense of safety.
  • All exercises and explorations will be invitational and will be designed to support dancing together at any distance. 


The workshop is from 1030am-230pm. You are welcome to arrive a little early to ground
(10:00-10:30 arrival with light structural support available)

The fee for this workshop is sliding scale $45-$125



The maximum number of participants is 25, the minimum is 6


Financial information:
In recognition of the diversity of individual economies we choose the honor system as it asks you to participate in your consideration of payment exchange.
We acknowledge the wide range of impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and understand the importance of accessibility. If the suggested fee structure is not accessible to you right now, we invite you to email us for other options of financial assistance. Please contact us at

Equally, for those that have the ability, we welcome generous donations to subsidize other attendees, or to support Earthdance.

Fees are waived for self-identified BIPOC participants.
Reparations and Accessibility for BIPOC folks:
Earthdance is in a process of taking accountability for past and recent patterns of white supremacy culture inside the organization. As an organization that is led by white folks, Earthdance is leaning into reparations in several ways. One way is to make programming more accessible to BIPOC folks who may feel an anxiety around emotional labor connected to the content of programming that is facilitated by white practitioners. 

"Racialized culture is embedded in our daily experiences...A safe space for a white practitioner is not the same as a safe space for a BIPOC practitioner" Taja Will, for CI Intersections CQ Summer/Fall 2018


Other Important Information:

  • While this workshop will take place in the Umbrella studio and outside, the rest of the Earthdance building will be closed. 
  • Anyone taking the workshop is invited to stay for the Live music with John Hughes at 330pm for a small donation of any amount.
  • Please bring water, a snack, or lunch to picnic with outside if you stay for the music.


Daniel Bear Davis SEP, MFA (he/him) is a movement educator, Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner, and interdisciplinary performance maker dedicated to support humans to step into greater aliveness and resilience so we can more fully inhabit the details of our lived experience. He sees one-on-one clients on-line, in the office, and in natural surroundings. He has taught Axis Syllabus, Contact Improvisation, Composition, and Acrobatic Stilts in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and throughout North America. Whether in movement class or therapeutic contexts, his work is to foster tools for resilience, informed choice, and increased possibility.

Daniel has brought understandings from Somatic Experiencing® into consistent dialogue with his performance work. He worked with veterans and non-veterans in collaboration with Krista DeNio and EchoTheaterSuitcase project, and with men and women in jails and prisons creating performance work based in their unique experiences. His evening-length work, On Contentious Grounds, explored intersections between the experiences of students at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the experiences of oppression expressed in interviews he conducted with Palestinians in the West Bank. 

His performance work has been presented at Performaticá (Mexico) in the Imagining Bodies Symposium (Estonia), Dancing in Place Festival (Malaysia), SummerWorks (Canada) the San Francisco International Arts Festial, SoWat Now Contemporary Performance Festival, and Looking Left Festival in California, the SEEDS Festival and E|MERGE Residency at Earthdance Center, MA, and at danceh0l0 in Brooklyn.,

Photo Credit: Anna Maynard


Alyssa Lynes (MSed, BA in dance)(she/her) is an internationally known Contact Improvisation teacher and life & relationship coach. In addition to her experience teaching in a wide range of international CI communities and festivals she brings to this workshop her experience of Community development in Touch and Play (2012--2018), movement pedagogy (Contemporary & partner dance forms), Nonviolent Communication, and her passion for differentiated instruction and learning. She co-directed the first anthropological film on Contact Improvisation, “Five Ways In,” exploring communication, intimacy, and community culture. She is published in the dance and improvisation journal, Contact Quarterly, “Awareness, Engagement, and Resilience” and co-authored the book Getting Along: Skills for life-long love. Her writing includes topics on verbal and non-verbal communication, polyamory, long distance relationships, uncoupling, and finding a partner. Learn more about Alyssa’s work and her identities and cultural background at

Alyssa believes in life-long (un)learning, especially around cultivating more just and inclusive communities. She worked within a company called “White Folks Soul by Any Dance Necessary” that explored embodied ways to confront racism. At Earthdance, she acted on the diversity Committee, volunteered onsite and facilitated community jams. She recently began training in Trauma Informed Community Building, through Community Resilience Initiative and completed a training in Waking the Heart of our Human Family, a 13 week trauma-informed training for personal and cultural liberation with Zahava Griss. 

Alyssa works as a certified Life Coach, trained by The Academy for Coaching Excellence.  She supports big-idea creatives to take meaningful action with clarity and grace as well as lovers to design and show up to their relationship/s in ways they are proud of. Regardless of the creative medium, Alyssa loves investigating how human expression and inquiry in personal & community growth can support visions to become livable realities.  She is honored to return to Earthdance at this unique moment to explore re-entering into Contact with this community she calls home. 


Above Photo Credit: Daniel Bear Davis