What’s the point? What am I trying to do here when I teach Somatic Improvistion classes online – instead of Contact Imrovisation in proper studios? What do participants get out of this and what do I expect from them?

I never wanted to teach online classes. Teaching into a flat screen without being able to sense the space, the energy of the people, having these subtle or direct feedback mechanisms that nurture my teaching so much…    But I am endlessly grateful that Marting Hughes dragged me into it with his enthusiasm – exploring the dance and its ability to connect us on many levels in completely new ways. For me these experiences are very strongly based on all the knowledge we gained in regular studios practicing Contact Improvisation.

I want to offer a space, where people can dive into a somatic exploration, that nurtures them on multiple levels. Somatic exploration means, that the focus of the mind is in the body, harvesting sensations, wondering what creates connections in the body that makes one feel more alive, full, complete, differenciated, easeful, stronger …

I wish that the offer contains foci, that are clear enough to be revisited in every day life.

I like the idea of exploration, where it is less about being giving answers and either I get it or I don’t. Instead I like the idea of trying out, being inspired to play around in order to create sensations and experiences, that raises new curiosities, directions and questions. I want to trust that being in the zone of passionately wondering and experiencing will have a valuable outcome, even though it is unclear what it might be. Trusting the body or body-mind system to find and create what it needs.

For that I believe in a zooming approach, where people are supported to find clear foci, looking and sensing into things as deeply and precisely as we possibly can in the moment. And on the other hand to zoom out, to let the body do, to noodle around and allow random things to happen with a gentle witnessing awareness of the mind. It is the cycle that Eva Karczag introduced me to, something like:

getting lost in movement –

finding an interest – diving into that – developing it –

letting go & getting lost in movement again

Encouraging self responsibilty is essential for my approach. We all have different timings. To a certain degree we can follow instructions, while keeping our own curiosity going. I want to encourage participants to be aware, when they get really into something and valueing these moments by following the emerging curiosities. If my voice and suggestions can be used as background music, quite a bit of what I say will still be heard and unconsciously intergrated. And if not that’s also fine. People can find their way back into the teaching proposals at some point. It just needs trust from both sides. Me as the teacher and from the students side.

Another reason for doing these classes is to experience connections to others. I am still amazed how much of the sense of „We are dancing togeher!“ we can experience by just seeing each other on the screen. And that includes to trust the connection to eachother, while not looking at the screen. We found a way where we can work with one partner, while still being able to hear instructions from the teacher or having music as a support. Being seeing, seeing the other and diving into a dance, where effeortlessly inspirations spill over from one living room to a space on different city or continent …

And we also connect to the whole group. Acknowledging that we are sharing time and focus is already supporting the sense of inter-connectedness. Looking at the screen in Gallery-view while people sense themselves might help to have a clearer picture of the ‘us’. And the sharings at the end support a sense of ‘we are in this together’ through random familiarities & inspirations or through a common topic.

Thoughts from Joerg Hassmannn – July 2021

The last years I was in the privileged situation to mainly teach Workshops experienced Contact Improvisers. Whenever asked to teach beginners or open level classes I got quite nervous. It is amazing to me, that new teachers usually have to cope with these much more difficult teaching frames.

Now living in Australia and starting to teach in my local community ‘from scratch’, I am going through quite a learning and growing experience. Especially lately I had extremely satisfying workshops with people from total beginners level to very experienced contacters.

I was very busy with some questions: Read more

“If you want to reach the maximum of your technical abilities you need to work on jamming and improvisational skills.”

A recent workshop with our experienced Half Year Programme group in Berlin led me to this statement, which is refreshingly provocative for me.

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Irgendetwas ist anders, es passt – fast, aber nicht so ganz … naja, nicht so wild, geht ja trotzdem.

Bei meinem letzten Workshop habe ich das Anerkennen von Irritationen als einen Schlüssel für lebendige Räume erkannt. Es sind feine Momente, undramatisch und es scheint nicht wirklich wert groß Aufhebens drum zu machen. Aber in diesen Momenten entscheidet sich Richtung und Qualität von gemeinsamen gelebten Situationen. Read more

In meinem letzten Workshop tauchte der Wunsch auf an einer spezifischen Form zu arbeiten: Vom Beckenlift jemandem rückenaufwärts auf die Schulter zu rollen – und ich war überrascht wie vollkommen involviert und emotional ich einige Teilnehmer begleitet habe, als ginge es um Leben und Tod. Als würde sich in der Art, wie wir diese Form angehen entscheiden, ob wir den Wesenskern der Contact Improvisation nähren oder zerstören. Ich musste zum Glück auch ein wenig schmunzeln, denn es ist ja nur eine bestimmte, oft genutzte Form, die am Lauf der Welt so gar nichts ändern wird.

Was trieb mich so an und hin und her? Read more

I am more and more intrigued by the mystery of focussed spaces. I guess it is a mayor part of my dedication to Contact Improvisation. I am almost getting used to being in a space, where people follow their own interests, diving into a personal investigation that is still in touch with the group. Moments when this dense and generous atmosphere disappears make me realize how special and also fragile a focussed space is.

In a good jam or a well created dance frame in a workshop I feel the space to go for what I need and the freedom to do what I want. I guess most contacters share this experience. But how aware are we, that it is actually not true? We are very much not free to do whatever we want! Read more

Recently I got asked several times about how I approach my teaching and if that has changed over the years. So, I felt like looking at my own process of how I prepare workshops, and how my attitude and my values might have shifted.

Maybe one thought beforehand, that I discovered pretty early in my teaching career:

A crucial part of filling the teachers role is to know what I know and what I don’t know and to be honest about it with my students. Read more

Am 24.2.2016 war ich zu Gast bei Katja Münker zum Somatischen Salon zum Thema ‘Lernen in und durch Bewegung – Kooperation und Skepsis zwischen Körper und Geist’.

Mit voller Begeisterung dozierte ich über den fruchtbaren Dialog von Geist und Körper in meinem Lernen. Diese irgendwie mittelalterliche Trennung von Körper und Geist, die wir in der somatischen Arbeit meinen endlich überwunden zu haben – ich krame sie leidenschaftlich wieder hervor, nur mit verkehrten Vorzeichen. Read more

CI workshops for advanced contacters. Intensives on a CI festival – level: intermediate/ advanced. To follow this workshop a basic knowledge of Contact improvisation is required …

How open are we in this heartfelt and open Contact Community? Is it ok to have those exclusive events, dividing the practitioners into beginners, intermediate and advanced contacters? What are the criteria? Who decides, which experience level someone has?

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Ist mein selbst errungenes Wissen verallgemeinerbar?

Mit welcher Lernhaltung ist man bei mir gut aufgehoben?

Inspirationen und Fragen durch den Besuch einer Schule für Alexandertechnik

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