The Future of CI

A 3-day international online conference

April 23, 2021 - 9:00am to April 25, 2021 - 11:00pm

Programming category: 


Join in a global conversation about the future of contact improvisation!

CI is nearing its 50th birthday. The world has changed in many ways, as has dance itself. 


Nancy Stark Smith left us this year.
The dance field has been deeply affected by COVID-19. 
Most CI jams and festivals have been stopped for nearly a year.
Many CI artists and teachers saw their practice disappear entirely.
People and institutions have had to change and adapt. 
The dance field that emerges after the pandemic will not be the same as before.
We cannot go backwards. 
So we must lean forward.


We have a tremendous opportunity right now. COVID-19 has paused our dancing together and given us time to reflect. Will we step back in right where we left off? Could this be a pivotal moment to make a change?

With presenters from around the world, this conference will offer ideas and reflections on major topics like Equity and Access and CI in a Changing World. From presentations to panels, movement workshops and facilitated conversations, together we’ll broach topics on Consent, Race, Queerness, Equity, New CI Forms, Climate Change, the Pandemic and more.  


Please Follow These Links Below To Learn More

Overview Schedule & Descriptions Fees & Registration Organizing Team


Conference Themes:

We can no longer ignore that CI spaces have been unsafe and unwelcoming for many dancers who fall outside the norm of white, middle class, able-bodied, heteronormative, cisgendered dancers (including individuals who identify as BIPOC, trans, non-binary, and differently-abled). How can we address traumas surrounding consent, sexual harassment, inequality and social hierarchy - hierachies from broader society as well as hierarchies within CI communities?

RACE/EQUITY: What issues of racial inequity, injustice, or oppression play out in the CI community? What other inequities are prevalent in CI settings (around class, disability, language...)? What would a new CI look like based on the experiences of those who’ve suffered from oppression?

CONSENT: In the #metoo era, we cannot continue to allow the boundary crossings that have long been a shadow side of CI. How can CI culture develop new norms around consent? 

QUEERNESS: How are Queer CI and shifting definitions of gender influencing the CI landscape? What can the global CI community learn from ideas and practices in Queer CI?



PANDEMIC: How do we step back into our CI practices as the Coronavirus pandemic fades? What safety measures are needed to protect our jams and vulnerable dancers, now and in the future? 

CLIMATE CHANGE: How will climate change affect CI, travel, and festivals? What new vision of CI infrastructure might we create that supports the healing of our planet?

NEW FORMS: Where are people taking CI next? Researching CI, adapting CI to therapeutic and academic contexts, blending CI with other practices (Parcon, contemporary dance applications, mixtures with martial arts, connections with kink/sexuality work, etc.)?



While English will be the primary language for this conference, some sessions will also be another language. Whenever possible, sessions will be subtitled in English. Alternate language translations of this page are below:

Versión en Español 
中文翻译 Chinese translation
Text en Français
Translation in Russian


Conference Timing

Recognizing the challenge of welcoming dancers in different time zones around the world, we have planned program offerings across 3 timeslots per day. Our hope is that most participants will be able to comfortably access 1-2 slots daily. As much as possible, programming will be recorded and made available to registered participants. 

The three time blocks are:
Session 1: 9am-12pm EDT (UTC -4) 
Session 2: 2pm-5pm EDT (UTC -4)
Session 3: 8pm-11pm EDT (UTC -4)









This project is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Photo Credit (top): Sze-Wei Chan