Contact Improv Melbourne: connecting with community

Brad LarsonShintaidoLeave a Comment

I had a great time at the Contact Improv group in Melbourne tonight — it’s an improvisational movement I’ve been practicing a few months in Providence. And even though I’m still kind of a beginner, parts of it remind me of some of the partner exercises I’ve been doing for years in Shintaido, where you become aware of your partner’s physical experience — do they seem tired? Energetic? How do I work with that? Does the physical experience support a positive “life exchange”? (Shintaido and Contact Improv apparently have some common roots in Aikido).

I was welcomed and connected from the start. And I appreciated new tips from my multiple partners: lean into my partner, give him/her my weight so they have something to work with…extend and reach as I move through a roll on the floor. I heard instructors talking about developing empathy through people’s movements. I was in the right place.

One other thought on contact improv: because I’m not so good at it yet, I kept “thunking” my partner down on the floor — it’s supposed to be more graceful than that. But she’d laugh and say “this is the first time I’ve experienced this”. It inspired me, to see and feel how we can respond to new/uncomfortable situations with a feeling of love toward experience, not fear. As in Shintaido, we learn through our bodies. I’m going to try more of this…

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