My profession and passion is to dance and to share the dance with others. That’s what I do through teaching, performing, writing and organizing. In the beginning I was mainly driven by creating dance and theatre pieces, bringing improvisation on stage. A while back teaching CI has become my main field of exploration, which I began in 1995 – and now it let’s me travel the whole world. Developmental movement patterns, an anatomical focus on the skeleton and the fascia system, Capoeira, Release Techniques and many kinds of sports have guided my understanding of the moving body.

I never thought of becoming a dancer, since dancing was one of the things I was scared of the most. But from my childhood onwards I had a great need and passion for movement and to figure out how to move more efficiently. My fields of exploration were many kinds of sports like football, gymnastics, volley ball, running, cycling and swimming and later capoeira among many others.

In ’92 a girlfriend lovingly forced me to once come with her to a Contact Improvisation class. This was the scary and surprising starting point for my dance passion. But rather soon CI moved for a good 10 years into the background. I was too fascinated about release based dance technique and instant composition work. Especially Lilo Stahl, Julyen Hamilton, David Zambrano and Frey Faust gave me deep inspirations. Once I re-connected more with Contact Improvisation learned a lot from the beautiful people I have been co-teaching with like Mirva Mäkinen, Christine Mauch and Daniel Werner. My main teacher will probably always stay the practice of the dance, the teaching itself and labbing with who ever is around.

I started teaching in 1995, first movement technique & improvisation, later also theatre improvisation until I found my main passion in teaching CI. In 2007 I began together with Daniel our CI Training Programmes in Berlin, where we developed our systematic approach to contact technique. Till now this work helps me to constantly re-define the technical basis of this dance form. But it is essential for my development to teach in other constellations and of course on my own. So, I hope to stay fortunate enough to continue teaching all over the world for another 25 years.

Performing was a strong part of my practice until 2007 with more than 300 performances altogether and I once even won a first price with a CI based duet in 2006 with Jenny Haack in Kalisz/ Poland. I am still intrigued by the question how it is possible to reach and hopefully touch people with my dance even when they only watch me dance. This question makes me randomly perform improvised bits and partly evening long pieces connected to CI festivals or workshops.

As the artistic director I am involved in organizing the annual Contact Festival “contact-meets-contemporary” in Goettingen/ Germany. I am fascinated to find out what is needed for such a complex group of teachers, musicians and participants to gain a common momentum for exchanging, performing and exploring the dance together with enough space for individual needs and curiosities. With this intention I also supported for many years the annual Contact Festival in Madrid as a mentor (and also teacher).

The practice of writing appeared 2004 when someone gave me an old laptop as a gift, while I was dancing and teaching in Boulder/USA. Writing became a tool for me to clarify what I do and what my deeper motivations are in all parts of my profession. It turned out to be another way to share my dance with others, especially my students and colleges. I experience dance as rather resilient to be squeezed into words, though. So I combine my analytic needs with a partly poetic language because the essence of the dance is beyond words. Most text you’ll find in my blog.

At some point my writings lead me into giving lectures, which is sweet, since I studied in former times to become a school teacher. I clearly benefit from the analytic thinking that I got from those six years at University, where I confronted myself with the two very different world views of Biology and Theology.

And by the way: I was born 1970 and spend another major part of my life with my wife and my son mainly in Berlin.

Joerg Hassmann

 

About my teaching

I am driven by curiosity and discovery and intend to infect my students with this spark.

My aim is to create alive spaces, where people find enough trust to manoeuvre themselves towards the unknown, where the learning and the growing happens in a safe environment, partly with a smell of disorientation, discomfort and excitement.

Even though I like performing Contact Improvisation and Instant Composition, my art form is ‘teaching’. I feel a good workshop as a piece of art. I improvise on a gradually growing and changing vocabulary. Teaching is an instant composition into a proposed direction that integrates all the layers of space, time and the needs & intentions of the engaged people. I see more and more that the core part of teaching is to set the right tone – content and methods then easily unfold organically.

I foster the polarity of detailed and precise work that brings us to the edge of what we can perceive and on the other hand rather open frames where the new information can unfold by letting it go. I also see the benefit from very concrete movement material and the eagerness ‘to get things right’ in frames, where ‘getting it wrong’ is embraced as an essential part of learning.

My work has grown from a strong love for movement technique, where a key part is the ability to sense movements and connections in the body, with efficiency and physical delight as a base line. The other foundation of my work is the communication between the dancers, with a particularly deep exploration of the touch. These fields are my main doors to enter the dance that includes all other facets of us as human beings.

Contact Improvisation has become my main field of teaching, but my research also informs a lot solo movements and improvisation. I am happy if this branch of my work continues growing.

I am used to teach groups between 20-30 people. In festival frames I don’t mind if the groups are up to 100 people if the space is big enough.

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