Contact improv and Circling! Both are practices of presence; of simultaneous attunement to self and other; of expression and connection. Both support us in building a culture of authentic connection. Both develop in us a receptivity to each moment, and the freedom to respond creatively and authentically. With Circling, one might say, we extend the principles of CI from the physical into the verbal mode of connecting.
When authentic relating (AR) is offered at CI jams, people frequently reflect that it helps them drop more fully into the jam space—these kinds of tools support us to feel more self-connected and present! Thus the thought arises, “Why not emphasize this kind of practice: as an excellent complement to CI, and as a part of Earthdance’s motto of creative living?”
So, we’re bringing it in more fully, for Earthdance’s first Circling+CI jam!
If AR games are like contact exercises (posting/sloughing, lifts, spirals, etc.)—in the sense that they are structures for training skills and principles— then Circling is like a jam, where those tools and principles get applied freely, with much less structure.
Over the course of the weekend, we’ll have guided mixed CI/Circling activities, small breakout circles, and contact jams, exploring and playing with the parallels, overlaps, and complementarity of the two practices.
*Note* For those new to CI, we just want you to know that there will not be a formal intro to Contact Improv. That being said, you are welcome to join. The jam times are open to any kind of movement that is attuned to the space/other bodies, so you don’t necessarily need to know CI to participate.
Here’s a draft schedule, to give a rough sense of the flow of the weekend (subject to change)
Dinner: 6- 7
7:30 pm: Opening gathering: Orientation to Circling & CI Jam
7:15-8:30am Contemplative+Dance+Circling Practice (20min, 20min, 30min)
10-1 Morning session – Circling basics and movement
3:30-6 Large group exercise into Small Group Circling
8:00 Contact/Movement Jam
7:15-8:30 Contemplative+Dance+Circling Practice
10-1 Morning session(s) – Building on the Movement and Circling blend
2:30-4 Afternoon COCO time
8:00 Contact/Movement Jam
7:30 Contemplative+Dance+Circling Practice
10-1 Culminating Circling+CI Jam into Closing
2-3 Final clean and leave
Arrival, Onsite Check-In, Opening Circle and COVID testing
Arrival and Onsite Check-In: The welcoming will commence from 4:00pm-7:00pm on Thursday, June 1st at the Farmhouse of Earthdance. Please contact the Site Coordinator at email@example.com if you will be late. Dinner 6-7pm.
Opening Circle: Thursday June 1st at 7:30pm. All participants are asked to attend.
Depart: Final house clean at 2pm, depart at 3pm, June 4th.
COVID Testing: Please make sure that you have tested for COVID on the day of arrival. If needed, participants may purchase tests from Earthdance for $10 each.
Our Fees Explained
Earthdance offers a sliding scale payment for participation in this event, please take a moment to reflect as you decide on where you best fit.
Your level of contribution is self selected and does not need to be advocated for. However we invite you to remember this contribution is currency and we ask that you stretch where you are able so that those who cannot stretch as far of a financial distance may also have potential access to community events. As you choose your rate please consider the following factors:
- Your access to income and wealth, as connected to family and partnership, both currently and anticipated in the future.
- The historical, systemic impacts of wealth accrual based on culture, race and other intersection marginalizations for you and your family.
- The regional ease of your attendance, while some community members can drive to Earthdance, others will need to consider tuition based on their ability to travel longer distances.
- Earthdance is a community and rental funded organization which recently, historically and uniquely through the Covid-19 pandemic has struggled to have viable income.
$525 – Financially Wealthy
$450 – Financially Abundant
$375 – Financially Stable
$300 – Financially Coping
$250 – Financially Strained
Equity & Access Tickets
Although we’re not able to offer any full scholarships this year, we’re excited to offer up to 3 highly reduced Equity & Access Tickets to individuals who feel part of an underrepresented and/or marginalized group in CI, have a relationship with CI, and who have (ideally) not attended an Earthdance seasonal jam before. We know that for those who come from marginalized populations showing up to spaces filled with primarily privileged groups can be a challenge, and can feel vulnerable. “Apply” and see more details here.
For those who do not identify as marginalized and are in a represented group of CI, we invite you to stretch in your payment to help support those who cannot stretch and create a more diverse jam experience for all.
Note: While Earthdance is making efforts to better support Equity & Access at all its events, the Gratitude Jam offers particularly strong support for diversity, equity, and inclusion through:
- Reduced pricing offered to people self-identifying as being underrepresented and/or marginalized in CI (more info linked below)
- classes and discussions that aim to bring up the level of awareness and inclusion at the jam as a whole
- affinity spaces (jams, discussions, etc.) for particular groups of people—e.g. PoGM, LGBTQIA+, differently-abled, immigrant—to connect, share CI space together, and rest from the pressures of being in a minority status at the jam
Tickets include room at the Earthdance Dormitory and full board. The Gratitude Lodge (a.k.a. the Earthdance dorm) is the main lodging facility, connected to the Farmhouse by a short wooded trail. The lodge includes large and small rooms featuring dormitory-style bunks and beds (twin & queen size) and is included in the base Jam cost. Beds are available on a first come basis.
***Nine Mountain is not available for this jam.***
Refund available up to 10 days before the event less a $75 processing fee
No refunds available less than 10 days from the start of the event.
Partial refunds might be given if a cancellation takes place under extenuating circumstances (e.g. a death of a 1st or 2nd degree family member, serious non-preventable illness or accident requiring hospitalization). Refunds in such cases remain at the discretion of the local organizers and will be decided on a case to case basis according to the timing of the cancellation and other factors.
No specific requirements on vaccination status are needed to attend the Spring Jam. However, all registrants are required to take an antigen test on the day of before arriving on Thursday, June 1st at Earthdance. If you need a test, Earthdance will have them available to purchase for $10 each.
Please take adequate measures to limit your exposure in the days before arriving. If you are feeling sick, or have a known close exposure to someone with COVID in the past 5 days, please sit this one out to keep the community well.
Participant Community Support
Earthdance runs as a community, thus part of the participation is that all individuals contribute to 1-2 work shifts (typically meal cleans) throughout the jam/workshop and participate in a final house clean on Sunday. These are great ways to connect more with your fellow participants and Earthdance staff, and to feel more at home in the Earthdance buildings & grounds. Your contributions to this collective caring of this space are invaluable!
Earthdance’s buildings are ADA accessible. More info here.
John Adams is, among other things, a transdisciplinary academic, structural bodyworker (Rolfer), Circling facilitator, IFS-informed coach, and breath therapy practitioner. He’s taught contact improv across Texas, including for Texas A&M University’s dance program. He has a BS in ecological restoration, focusing on agroecology. His highly integrative graduate thesis shows how the quality of the relationships to our own bodies, to other humans, and to the more-than-human world, is a core determinant of human health and function; in so doing, it provides a framework for understanding whole-systems well-being. John’s been a regular at Earthdance for over 8 years; he currently lives next door, applying his thesis to his own life.
Michelle Huber is a Circling Facilitator and Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner based in Northampton MA. She originally fell in love with Circling as a place to practice expressing truth that she had habitually held inside in social interactions. She completed a Circling facilitation training with the Connection Institute in Boston in March of 2018 and assisted in the consecutive training in 2019. Over the past 5 years she has led numerous Circling groups, day-long and weekend Circling retreats. She also lived in a communal household for 4.5 years utilizing the tools of Circling to work through conflict and explore connection.
In addition to her private Circling groups, she has been honored to teach Circling tools to the staff at Windhorse Integrative Mental Health Center, the graduate Mental Health department at Westfield State and the Smith College Summer program.
She delights in the discovery of unconscious patterns of human behavior and is fascinated by the never-ending connections of body, emotions, mind and the collective. She is dedicated to increasing awareness, learning to open her heart and supporting others in softening.
She is also a dancer and has been a member of the Earthdance Community since 2014. She is very excited about bringing together Circling and movement at the Coco jam.
More information about upcoming workshops in-person and online: www.MichelleHuber.me
Paul Vidich is a person, he lives in a treehouse, he studied Circling with Peter Benjamin for a year at the connection institute and practices radical honesty in all his relationships except with his parents, where he practices moderate honesty. He has harborred many big time aspirations but not acted on them. He was an apprentice at the Monastic academy for 4 months from which he gained the exceptional capacity to perpetually feel like everything he does is a waste of time. He organized and ran a monastic inspired community house for a year – hosting retreats in circling, meditation, movement, and theater. He spends a majority of his time decapitating trees in the hopes of creating a layered canopy orchard.
In his twenties, Michael spent quite a bit of time sitting on the floor meditating by himself. Then, in 2018, he discovered Circling, Authentic Relating, and Contact Improvisation, and life became a lot more fun. He’s been doing a lot of this, in addition to lots of other things, ever since.
For more information, wave to him, or gently place your hand on his shoulder, and ask him, “what’s it like to be you right now?”
Originally from San Diego, CA, Rosie holds an MA in Positive Psychology and a BA in Business Leadership. She has five years of meditation and circling experience including two years of full time monastic training. In 2018, she worked as a kitchen manager in Vermont. In 2019, she managed the Ecodharma Retreat Center in Colorado. In 2020, she trained at a soto zen monastery in Oregon and sat and supported multiple vision quests and sweat lodges. In 2021, she apprenticed with a medicine woman and certified as a circling facilitator through circling Europe. In 2022, she worked as a mental health counselor in Massachusetts and certified as a circling coach through The Relatfulness Company. She loves being 10-15 minutes late, moving multiple times a year, singing, dancing, wrestling, and screaming. She is passionate about community grief work and death care, holding people while they cry, connecting to wonder, and pursuing embodiment as a pathway to liberation.
Khemā recently left behind her life at a Buddhist monastic center in rural Vermont, where she trained for three years. She’s now following a call to be of service in the world through offering circling, grief ritual, coaching, and energy work. She’s been teaching, facilitating, and playing in the realm of circling for the last six years. In that time, she completed two facilitator trainings, the first with Peter Benjamin and the second with Circling Europe (SAS). She’s pretty sure circling can change the world and has personally found profound healing, growth, and aliveness through the practice. Right now, her passion is exploring the intersection between embodiment, Buddhism, and surrendered leadership.