On a cloudy, rainy day in Bangalore, in August 2014, a group of bodies met at Just Dance Studio to explore contact improvisation with facilitator Lional Lishoy. Just Dance Studio is perched on the 3rd floor of a building in Frazer Town, with marvelous wooden flooring and windows that look out onto rooftops and treetops. The group that gathered included dancers, musicians and non-dancers, all of whom eagerly jumped at the chance to dive into contact.
Lional, who is an avid contact improviser, led a session,emphasising the art of listening through the body. He began by allowing participants to become comfortable with their partners and their own bodies in silence.
We sat down on the floor and each supported the other, creating a kind of breathing architecture.
The important thing here was to listen to our partner and connect through the breath; becoming aware of ourselves and them at the same time. Far from being asleep, we felt intensely awake and aware.
From that initiation point, one partner supported the other as the ‘mover’ responded to stimuli from the environment, both internal and external. As the mover explores the environment, the supporter helps in providing opportunities to go further, and is also discovering movement along the way.
We continued on this journey while Lional drew our attention to key points such as exploring multiple options of support and observing the difference between supporting a partner and controlling them.
Initially, participants worked with closed eyes in order to stimulate other senses of perception and later on they opened their eyes to integrate sight. Roles were then exchanged to allow everyone to experience the process fully.
The group was extremely positive about the work. As one participant said, “For me, the whole session was about exploring the point of contact, support, and listening to your partner. I felt awesome at the end, because these concepts appeal to me. I could explore my own body while working with someone else’s.”