Teachers, facilitators, musicians

Afternoon workshop teachers

Daniel Mang
London, United Kingdom

Contact improvisation has been my primary movement practice since 1986. I have studied with Bruno Stefanoni, Dieter Heitkamp, Ka Rustler, Kurt Koegel, Howard Sonenklar, Nina Martin, Benno Voorham, Nancy Stark Smith, K J Holmes and many others. I also practice aikido and am strongly influenced by the Feldenkrais method, Body Mind Centering and ideokinesis. My teaching is informed by my background as a professional bodyworker / physiotherapist, my studies in osteopathy, my experience with communication tools such as co-counseling, and by my politics. I see my interest in radical social theory and my love of contact improvisation as two aspects of the same desire. One of my main projects is making contact improvisation available as a way of exploring body politics, as a tool for communication and personal change, to radical left, feminist, queer and antiracist activists. I have been teaching the form since 1990 - at first mostly in Berlin, from 2005 on primarily in the South West of France, but also in Belgium, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the UK. I am fluent in English, German and French and regularly teach in these three languages. I was one of the organisers of the "European Contact Improvisation Teachers Exchange" (ECITE) in Potsdam in 1999 and participated in ECITEs in Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and Spain. From 2005 to 2011 I was part of a small network of contact improvisation teachers in Toulouse that organized jams, classes and workshops locally. Since my move to the UK in July 2011 I have been teaching mainly in London, but also in Bristol, Brussels, Göteborg, Malmö, Paris, Stockholm, Toulouse, Umeå... I was centrally involved in organising a very successful first week-long contact improvisation festival in London over the New Year 2011/2012, and in organising another, similar festival, also in London, in the summer of 2012. On my first world tour (November 2012 - March 2013) I taught in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Cambodia and Australia.

Lisa Rasmussen
Copenhagen, Denmark

Contact improvisation has been my favourite physical and relational practice for the last 7 years. I see it as a community building dance where the movement is also a way of relating to our selves and others. My focus is on which spaces or frameworks we create. I have been facilitating workshops on gender and the critique of social norms for day care teachers and people in the radical left scene and would like to include this awareness of norms in contact communities /classes. My hope is that we can create more respectful and playful relations in contact communities and dances by creating spaces with more awareness of how we meet each other. Becoming more aware of which norms and expectations are at stake in different meetings could be one way. I think it is important for us to give space for grounding, centring, being aware of each others' reactions and boundaries, being clear in our meetings, reflecting on how we 'use' or see each other in dance, creating space for playing with contact in a respectful and joyful way. Starting from 'what is already there' in contact improvisation is a really nice way to make us listen more deeply and can create great momentum!

Evening facilitators & musicians

Mark Rietema
London, United Kingdom

My interest in contact improvisation has grown and changed in the ten years I have danced and taught it, and continues to do so. I have a strong interest in the physics of the form, and in exploring the improvisational as well as the social and interactive aspects of the dance. I continue to be fascinated by the creative process of Improvisation, particularly its balance of internal awareness and external performative focus. I have dabbled in performing dance, in the USA, in London and in Scotland. Having studied Community Arts at Goldsmiths, I have also co-led and devised projects focusing on performance, as well as participatory video, predominantly with people with mental health problems. I recently qualified as a Somatic Movement Educator in Body Mind Centering. BMC greatly influences my awareness and teaching. I am a social worker in mental health settings and currently exploring ways of bringing my dance, body awareness and politics into related therapeutic work. I have studied contact improvisation with Nancy Stark Smith, Kirstie Simson, Scott Smith, Martin Keogh, Andrew Harwood and many others.

Jamie McCarthy
London, United Kingdom

I studied music at Leicester Polytechnic with the composer Gavin Bryars, whose ensemble I joined after leaving college. I’ve worked for many years performing and composing music in a wide variety of situations with a primary focus on cross-artform work and collaboration. My work writing for dance led me to become Head of Music at London Contemporary Dance School, where I now freelance, combining that with composition projects. Alongside my teaching I work regularly as a composer with the performance company Fevered Sleep and have recently collaborated with Dog Kennel Hill Dance Co., Lost Dog and Rick Nodine (finals of the Place Prize for Dance 2013). I am also string arranger for the music production company Golden Hum and spent seven joyful years touring the world as a violinist with Canadian 'Gay Church Folk' Band the Hidden Cameras. You can listen to my music at https://soundcloud.com/jamie-mccarthy-1/sets, where many tracks are available for free download.

Helen Green
London, United Kingdom

I discovered a world of physical movement, communication, and play via the practice of acro-yoga in 2009 and contact improvisation a year later. Since then I have found much joy in flying and dancing. Where run-of-the-mill walking and standing are concerned, I am much more comfortable on my hands than on my feet. I think there are fascinating complementarities between the prescriptive, coded, and episodic nature of some types of acrobatics and the experimental, tacit, and fluid ways of contact improvisation. When practitioners of seemingly opposed kinds of movement and co-operation get together, we enjoy a huge potential for sharing and discovery - united as we are in our search for connection all the while subject to universals of gravity, momentum, and bodies' lines and surfaces that afford stability and support. This is some of what we hope to explore at the Acro Jam on Sunday 29/12.

Jaqui Wan
London, United Kingdom

Jaqui teaches a dynamic and challenging style of powerful and dynamic yoga, that encourages playfulness, collaboration and connection. She is a certified yoga teacher and bodywork practitioner. She is also the first certified AcroYoga teacher in Europe and working with the original founders was responsible for introducing this new and exciting form of yoga to the United Kingdom. Jaqui studied under the tutelage of celebrated instructor, Venkatesh of Atma Vikasa tradition, in India. She undertook formal teacher training with Brian Cooper and Nawajoyti. Her Acroyoga training was gained from the founders, Jenny Sauer-Kline & Jason Nemer. As an active practitioner, she continues to be inspired by the breakthrough work of David Sye of Yoga Beats, her first teacher. Long term, Jaqui is looking forward to discovering creative ways and new opportunities for yoga to cross over and enrich everyday life for anyone and everyone.

Jenny Moy
London, United Kingdom

I have been practicing contact improvisation for about six years. I have a deep interest in helping to create spaces that facilitate learning through dancing: themed jams, residentials & labs as well as workshops. I think it's a great strength of contact improvisation that its "content" is undefined and there are no certified teachers of it: creating a space for all of us to teach each other what we know - or more precisely to let the dance teach us as we meet each other there.

Tamara Ashley
Hitchin, United Kingdom

Tamara's improvisation practice is focused on durational, site-specific, digital and environmental performance. She has undertaken several large-scale durational performances in landscapes and places, such as Performing the Pennine Way and The Garden, as well as working as a choreographer for theatre companies, community groups and youth dance programmes. She holds an MFA in Choreography for which she developed a series of stage works that explored the politics of social rituals in everyday situations. Her PhD investigated dance improvisation in the context of ecological activism and environmental change. She has enjoyed fruitful collaborations with other artists including Simone Kenyon, Lilly Picts, Tim Rubidge, Fiona Wright, and Nala Walla. Tamara has practiced improvisation in performance for over 15 years, taking inspiration from mentors and teachers such as Nancy Stark Smith, KJ Holmes, Andrew Harwood and Janis Claxton, and has performed at Earthdance, West Coast Contact Improvisation Jam, Contact Festival Dartington, NottDance, and at other venues nationally and internationally. Her work has also been informed by somatic practices, through her teacher training certifications in yoga and pilates, and performer training in body mind centering. She was previously the programme leader for BA(Hons) Choreography at Northumbria University. She is currently the artistic director of dancedigital and programme leader for the MA in Community Dance Leadership at the University of Bedfordshire.

Jan Lee
London, United Kingdom

Jan is a shape shifting musical improviser who is delighted to be able to play with her musical toys this New Year with you. As an accompanist she has provided musical support for various events such as Contact Jam and Underscores, classes of ballet, contemporary dance, butoh and vocal workshops. She teaches Piano & Keyboard to small and big people. Jan has a multi-coloured background, inspired by BBC (british born chinese-ness), somatics, contact, Roy Hart human voice work, and action theatre. Most recently she's working as a performer in CoCoDanse, and has co-run improvisation events this year such as Jammy Dinner and Moving Moveable Feast integrating performance, installations, food, drink and general jammyness.

Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot
London, United Kingdom

I studied biology and geology before diving into dance. I have been practicing contact improvisation for the past 12 years, studying in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Israel with many great teachers, while also training as a contemporary dancer. A graduate of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in London, I am currently developing my own research on how we use space and dynamics to communicate and relate in dance and other social contexts. I often perform for choreographers and artists (H2dance, Noa Zamir, Tara D’Arquian among others) and also make my own work that uses improvisation in performance.

Laura Doehler
London, United Kingdom

Since 2004 I have been working as a dancer, dance teacher, choreographer and performance maker. As a dancer I worked for h2dance (UK), Companhia de Dança do Norte (Portugal), Perform(d)ance (Germany), Gary Clarke, Rachel Davies and Shane Shambhu .. across Europe. Improvisation emerged through my work as dancer. Besides utilising improvisation in order to generate movement material, I increasingly engaged with it on a personal level wanting to enquire about my movement spectrum and in order to enhance my performance skills overall. Through the years improvisation moved on from being a means to an end towards being an end in its own right. It became a philosophy which argues that connection to one's immediate environment on all communication and sensory channels produces a heightened state of awareness and a thorough understanding of the nature of change. For me it is both a performance and an experiential medium in which people from any background can engage and be moved by. Within it I seek to find my own language as a product of all languages that allows for any kind of expression and reception. Exit Map - making performance integral - which I founded in 2004 has transformed from being a platform for dance theatre into a platform for cross- disciplinary performance and improvisation. Based in London I currently facilitate 'Shared Practice' a movement improvisation research lab where performers and performance makers with a sound experience in improvisation can share a space to work and interlace their skills by making time and space for one's unfolding. Overall I engage with a variety of improvisation collectives, and I also co-facilitate the monthly contact improvisation Junk Jam at Trip Space which embraces movement and music improvisation.

Pete Yelding
London, United Kingdom

From solo performances using a number of instruments, found sounds and electronics through to his much larger-scale pieces for orchestral forces and collaborative/cross disciplinary work, Pete Yelding’s portfolio is defined by the ways in which he layers the different elements of his musical background with the music and theatre found in common human practices and appliances.
He graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2012 with a Bmus (Hons) in composition having studied principally under Michael Wolters and Howard Skempton, additionally receiving tuition from Ed Bennett, Joe Cutler, Richard Causton, Errollyn Wallen and Max De Wardner. He also continues to pursue his ongoing study of Raga Sangeet on sitar under sitarist, Clem Alford.
He organises and presents performances of much of his work himself, though has also had work commissioned and performed both around the UK and in Europe by several ensembles and performers including Orkest De Ereprijs, the Coull Quartet, Ed Bennett‘s Decibel ensemble, and Chroma ensemble. He has collaborated with and provided music for choreographers, Joel O’donoghue, Tara Saclier D’Arquian and Zoi Dimitriou. He has worked collaboratively on or performed in various installations and happenings, working also as a performer principally on the cello/electric cello, sitar, guitar and voice as well as on didgeridoo, miscellaneous percussion instruments (both traditional and not so) and performing theatrical actions.
For his album, Door Frames, he won the 2012 Birmingham Conservatoire Orchestral Composition Prize. He took part in the 2011 Gaudiemus Young Composers’ Meeting in Apeldoorn, Holland. He won the Philip Bates Trust 2011 song writing prize and runner up in 2009. He was awarded a Leverhulme Trust scholarship in 2008.

Roddy Skeaping
London, United Kingdom

Composer, multi-instrumentalist and Musical Director for The City Waites, The Burning Bush, The Royal National Theatre (and others) and performer with countless early music groups, I got into live music creation when training as a music therapist in 2006. Excited by the artistic, social and therapeutic potential of live co-creation in all its modalities, I am now focussed on exploring and developing new audience-centred concert rituals. Varied influences include Rupert Sheldrake, Paul Nordoff, Keith Johnstone, Remy Bertrand plus the therapeutic concepts contained within Guided Imagery in Music and the creative implications within Morphic Resonance. I’m currently reforming my multi-modal live creation group ‘The Next Room’ for the Barbican Pit Theatre May 5th and am keen to connect with like-minded musicians and movement artists. For excerpts of my music visit: roddyskeaping.blogspot.com and for The Next Room visit: thenextroomproject.blogspot.com

Naomi O'Connor
London, United Kingdom

Naomi has always had a love of music and dance, and employs improvisation techniques with poetry to get to dance works that go beyond the surface; or just to jam with others and create playful works. See more at www.blackorchidance@wordpress.com. She plays psychedelic / electronic / krautrock dance music at events as kaliyuga79.

David Leahy
London, United Kingdom

David Leahy is a regular performer as both an improvising musician and dancer on the free improvised music and contact improvisation scenes. He is currently composing and performing regularly while also completing a Masters in Creative practice at TrinityLaban and Independent Dance. Significant collaborations and/or work in the past have included; composition work for Hagit Yakari, Theo Clinkard, Fevered Sleep Theatre Company, Trestle Theatre Company, and a composition commission from the Royal Maritime Museum. Performance work with Burning Wood (Sound and Music sponsored Mopomoso National tour), SichtLautTrio, London Improvisers Orchestra (conductor and performer), Wuppertal Improvisers Orchestra (Conductor and soloist), FOCA (Conductor, Madrid) and National and international rural touring with 'The Pioneers' (2007 to 2009).