Embodiment and Connection
in Athens, Toulouse, Lisbon and Berlin
Owning Your Space
Embodiment and Connection
Nurturing Personal Choice and Fulfillment in
Partner Dancing and Group Improvisation
with Kurt Koegel
This workshop focuses on skills for listening and communication in group improvisation and partner dancing. The practices will develop:
· our awareness of our self, other and environment,
· the choices we make for self agency and fulfillment,
· and the ability to express and communicate these choices in moving partnership.
The goal is delicious dancing that satisfies our desires for both freedom and connection.
The course offers practical listening and choice-making strategies: crafting the performance of perception and emphasizing the gateways of change.
We will also learn precise, easy to use, techniques for creating a sense of safety, trust and fulfillment in our danced interactions. These ‘unseen skills’ of contact improvisation are not flashy - yet offer delicious results.
Further, we’ll consider our craft of expression: realizing our bodies as not only the container of feeling but also the generator of imagery.
· Inner Space - Physical training: Embodiment practices and solo movement inquiry that provides us with a set of skills for listening to ourselves in space and interaction with others.
· Inter Space (The Space Between): Charging the space between ourselves and others. Working in duets or small groups, exploring ways to source movement from spatial and movement cues - and how our inner state changes through encounter with others in space
· Materials for Deepening Connection: Developing connections through proximity, orientation and touch. We will reference and sometimes use skills from contact improvisation, physical theater and real-time composition – however, our aim is a dance that is not defined by any of these styles. The emphasis will be on connection rather than technique, refinement rather than acrobatics.
· Viewpoints of Instant Composition: This physical theater toolkit is a menu for making choices about how we locate and orient ourselves in space and in relationship to others; a method for generating movement material based on listening and response; a way of facilitating us making intuitive compositional choices.
· Compositional Sets: During longer sets of dancing, we will improvise in duets, trios or small groups. There will also be opportunities to reflect and integrate with partners. The intention throughout the weekend is on increasing our sense of presence, spaciousness and fulfillment – savoring the experience as we live it.
This workshop/performance/filmmaking project will be the third part of a residency in St. Petersburg this September. We will be making site-specific films at the Petershoff residency arts center in the rural outskirts of the city. Invited are dancers, actors, filmmakers and architects/designers. So looking forward to it!
Read more about the project on my website if you're interested.
Embodiment and Connection in Performance
Trust and Connection:
Tools for Expanding Choice with Partners
Performance Showing from Repertory Dance Theater Summer Workshop
Developing skills of observation and decision-making
for movement research, choreography and performance
Salt Lake City, June 2013
The theme of this workshop series is nurturing a greater sense of personal choice and fulfillment in improvisational dance situations.
The work will present two complementary approaches:
The workshop is for movers wishing to expand their skills, beginners to improvisation who wish a broad set of tools to explore this kind of dancing, contact improvisation practitioners who want to expand their frame of reference, and practitioners of other partnering forms looking for something new.
Kurt Koegel has been teaching contact improvisation and partnering technique for university and professional dance companies as well as the general public around the world for over 20 years. He specializes in teaching workshops that satisfy and inspire both beginners and professional dancers.
Still from The Social Organization of Public Space, site-specific video study
Mercer Slough, Seattle March 2015
More about the workshop...
Every session has three parts. First, we take ground by bringing into play one aspect of solo improvisation, embodying it in a focused score. Next we inhabit the space – engaging with others, overlapping kinespheres, building trust and partner relationships through proximity and touch. This phase of class emphasizes listening, communicating intention and consent, and sensitivity to feedback. Finally we harvest the days work, raising the solo and partnering materials onto a platform of interaction and play. The concluding improvisation score is an opportunity to immerse in meaningful expression and exchange. This structured framework creates a refuge where we connect to our curiosity and vigor, a window into our choice-making process, and the prospect of fulfilling our interests while dancing with others.
A personal biographic note |
23 September 2015
This workshop stems out of the desire to share this work with people I have had the chance to dance with over the past two years, with others I haven’t met, and the desire to get to know like-minded souls in this region I’ve transplanted myself into.
This work has been my life and career for over 30 years, for twenty of these teaching quite intensively in workshops, festivals and university environments in Europe and Asia.
In the past years, however, I’ve moved from Europe to the United States and have been orbiting away from actively teaching. During this period I’ve been gathering new information and learning new tools as I pursue graduate studies in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington. My aim being to bring these two fields of study together: exploring the exchange of influence between human movement, spatial perception, social interaction - and the design of the built environment.
Now, after two years of full-time study, I feel it is time to return to a more active dialogue with the movement arts.
Therefore, this autumn I will be doing a variety of dance research projects and teaching. This workshop is one of those projects. In this workshop I’m digging back through my favorite areas of teaching – re-discovering and re-working exercises, sequences and themes that I’ve been developing over the past twenty years. As I work lately on planning and sharing of this work, it's exciting to experience the new learnings, themes, approaches and pathways that are being revealed. I'm also grateful to see the evolution arising from my intensive work in architecture school during this two-year hiatus from teaching.
Finally, returning to more dancing, teaching and engagement with these ideas, I realize more fully: that whatever I might have to contribute to the realm of built environments must come from my background and from a listening to the resonance of the body.
Caught during a pause while guiding the workshop:
Seoul, South Korea | August 2012
A reflection on styles of improvisation and partner dancing
Throughout my years of performing and teaching improvisation, I’ve grown more and more interested nurturing a sense of fulfillment and finding ways to inform a greater range of choice in the work.
Although I appreciate observing and dancing in a wide range of movement improvisation formats, in most of these situations there is something further I’m longing to see realized.
At a contact jam, I imagine the spatial clarity and coherence that one finds in well crafted works of contemporary theater or in developed open score improvisation. Too often, I’m also missing the respectful sensitivity that one might see at a milonga. However, while watching a tango or salsa event, I’m longing for more freedom of choice and expression and a more challenging relationship to the music. I also find myself imagining the possibility of entering this space as a solo mover, changing partners at anytime or working with multiple partners. Yet, though I may see this while watching contemporary performance improvisation, in this setting I’m often yearning for the resonance, coloring and deep emotional communication that two bodies dancing in partnership can express.
It is this constructive discontent, and a belief in potential of open-score improvisation as a tool for personal growth and expression, that drives my teaching.
Video Still from end of semester Performance of Masters students at
Choreography Kurt Koegel | Seoul, South Korea | December 2011
Video Still from
Spatial Negotiations in Partner Dance
Mercer Slough, Seattle, March 2015