Fissure: Openings, portals, and breakages in CI and Dance Improvisation practice

with mayfield brooks, Ray Chung, and Karen Nelson

May 19, 2019 - 5:00pm to May 25, 2019 - 3:00pm

Programming category: 

Stepping beyond knowing, how do we proceed? Opening to the unexpected, ready for change. Breakages occur; how do we meet them? Offering grounding, embodied practices, 3 classes daily, POC only + Allies spaces, questions into dancing.

Apply Here

*Special Discount: Sign up for both Queer CI Lab & Jam + Fissure and get $150 off!
Email if you're interested.

(Photo on right: Mark Koenig, Nuria Bowart, & Ray Chung, credit Theodora Litsios)

Class Descriptions & Teachers

We Got Soul: Improvising While Black as Movement Practice with mayfield brooks

This workshop will explore mayfield's ongoing dance practice and project "Improvising While Black/IWB" using voice/body, somatics, contemporary dance, contact improvisation, afropessimist theory and practices specifically from mayfield's upbringing in the pentecostal church. mayfield queers "praise dance" by using speaking in tongues, trembling, catching spirit, as secular collective worship--participants investigate movement that moves the soulful body. There is an awareness of ancestors, ancestral land and an interplay with what the body remembers and forgets. We acknowledge our privilege, oppression, joy and trauma. There is play, dynamic partnering, deep belly laughter, wandering, reading, writing, questioning, critiquing, seeking, democratizing, deconstructing, and whatever else we find in the wildness of improvisation.

mayfield brooks improvises while black, and is currently based in brooklyn, new york. mayfield is a movement-based performance artist, urban farmer, writer, and wanderer. they studied contemporary dance at the school for new dance (sndo) in amsterdam, moving on centre in oakland, ca, and holds a mfa in interdisciplinary performance from uc davis and a masters in performance studies from northwestern university. mayfield is currently a 2017 artist in residence at movement research nyc, was a 2018 WOW/UNY Artist in Residence at Governor's Island, NY, was recently featured in Gathering Place: Black Queer Land(ing) at Gibney, NYC, The Prelude Festival at City University New York with Jaamil Kosoko and a featured performer at MoMA's retrospective of Judson Dance Theater's "The Work is Never Done.” (Photo credit: Amar Puri​)


Mind The Gap with Ray Chung

The process of embodying and incorporating unintended events, interruptions, and disturbances into our experience of dancing will be practiced. Learning to be ready for the unexpected. With Contact Improvisation as a reference, we include a focus on releasing and extending the body, sharpening the senses and developing an awareness of internal and outward spaces. We will integrate the language of Contact Improvisation into a larger improvisational milieu so we can freely move in and out of partnering while developing a readiness for surprise.  We’ll also engage in developing perceptual skills grounded in varying levels of sensory awareness that can inform our ability to engage in decision making and learning as we play in the field of the unexpected.

Ray Chung, performer, teacher, engineer, father, has a passion for dancing which he likes to share with other people. His main focus is improvisation and works with Contact Improvisation as part of improvisational performance practice while integrating other movement forms into his work, including martial arts, bodywork and Authentic Movement. Ray has worked with the leading proponents of Contact Improvisation and regularly collaborates with dancers, musicians, and other artists. An ongoing interest in integrating art and science informs his teaching, practice, and performing.  His work has been featured at numerous national and international festivals and venues, and has performed in works directed by Anna Halprin, Judith Kajiwara, and George Coates Performance Works. Currently based in San Francisco & Sweden, Ray regularly teaches abroad. (Photo credit: Chris Randle)


Edge for Action // Tuning Scores with Karen Nelson

Tuning Scores (originated by Lisa Nelson) is a dance practice that unveils sense desires as motivators; movement as collateral choreography; time as music and rhythm; space as palette and environment. Tuning promotes collaboration between individuals willing to engage, play, and occupy shared space. A collaborative communication process, Tuning proposes ensemble creation where each participant embodies their unique responsibility for action/non-action. Friction between consorting images provides feedback for the groups’ collective learning, discovering, inventing. Relying on our life-long underlying movement skills— like CI experience or expressions such as singing, spoken word, object puppeteering, space design— we will use our resources to serve and tune the images revealed as we improvise. Class will include rigorous sensory warm-ups, physicalizing thru CI, and playing with a cluster of scores to grow edges.

Karen Nelson is a long-time Contact Improvisation and Tuning Scores practitioner, teacher, performer who also explores interrogating CI history and currency centering on intersections of practitioner experience, and interrogating whiteness in her own embodiment and larger community. Her approach brings classic origins of CI (originated by Steve Paxton) and Tuning through exercises, images, practice and discussion along with a view (influenced by her teachers Paxton and Nelson, respectively) towards engendering individual possession and evolution of the forms through one’s own experience. Her instigations include co-founding Breitenbush Jam, DanceAbility and Diverse Dance Research Retreat, and 8 years as caretaker of a rural Buddhist meditation retreat facility. Embodied Life™, combining Feldenkrais + Focusing-influenced movement + listening additionally  inform her somatic approach. Karen’s dance writing has been published in Contact Quarterly and the collection Dancing with Dharma. Her website is (Photo credit: Derrick Fore​)

Tuition, Room & Board All Inclusive:
Professional Rate: $745  
Full Price: $695 
Subsidized Rate: $645  

Above pricing include meals and dormitory-style lodging.
Camping: $5 off/day  |  Commuting: $15 off/day

Work Study & Scholarship Opportunities
Earthdance Cancellation Policy
Earthdance Nudity Policy
Earthdance Pledge

Our Sliding Scale: The fees to attend Earthdance Jams and Workshops are priced on a sliding scale. Please pay at the highest level of the sliding scale that you can afford. This allows others who need to pay less the opportunity to attend.

Professional Rate: for those comfortably paying their rent or mortgage.The Professional Rate also helps us offer lower prices to those who could otherwise not afford to attend.
Full Rate: for those who have a regular income and are paying their mortgage or rent. Prices at this level contribute to the range of Earthdance's operating costs.
Subsidized Rate: for those with an income low enough that making ends meet is a challenge.

Participant Community Support
As Earthdance runs as a​ community, all participants contribute to chore shifts (typically meal cleans) throughout the week and a Final House Clean on Sunday, May 25th. These are great ways to connect more with your fellow participants, Earthdance staff, and to feel more at home here. We will be welcoming you into this collective home and thus so appreciate your contributions to our space!