Steve Batts

Steve Batts

I am Artistic Director of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, which I set up with Ursula Laeubli in 1991. The company is based in Derry in Northern Ireland. In our company the practice of Contact Improvisation is very important and it is a strong influence on our performance and touring work and on our broad participation programme. I teach internationally when my responsibilities at home allow it. Contact Improvisation is my folk dance. It is a practice that I come to primarily as a participant. Through it I deepen my understanding of the human movement world that surrounds me and I re-discover the deeply poetic and touching possibilities in pre-verbal, non-verbal and beyond-verbal communication and creativity.

Intensive, 18-22 may

When we practice Contact Improvisation we are usually focused primarily on remaining adaptive and flexible to the outcomes of the interaction of our movement choices and those of our partner. This is of fundamental importance but I have become interested, also, in the details, qualities and content of the inputs that we choose. These inputs are what the adaptive principle is applied to. I have noticed that dancing becomes much richer when we are not just satisfied with the automatic interplay of unconscious habits but rather have an ongoing fluid awareness of the choices of tonus, direction, phrasing which we continually make and an interest in the values that are embedded in those choices.

My intensive course will draw attention to what we bring to the dance as much as what we get out of it. It will encourage participants to see beyond the idea of Contact Improvisation as a series of accidents that need to be survived or dealt with towards a view of Contact as a spontaneous, collaborative, poetic, compositional process.

In this frame we will investigate phrasing, the “telling ways of the torso”, tonus, and the emergence of intent.

The workshop is open to everyone but it will be most interesting for people who are happy exploring ideas and observations without being given a lot of guidance on what exactly to “do” and who already feel confident in improvising in physical contact and close proximity with a partner.