Finding Flow and Sharing Weight – dance workshop Sat. May 30th

Social partner dancing, including ballroom dance, has become really popular lately. It is fun to just get out on the dance floor and dance. But there are two things that I dont like about traditional partner dance styles. The male/female roles are annoyingly strict and stereotypical, and you have to memorize a whole bunch of steps in order to actually connect with your partner in motion.

Ill be teaching a free class at Artomatic this coming weekend introducing a partner dance form called Contact Improvisation. Aside from being a fun way to dance, studying Contact Improvisation can help you learn how to move with grace and pleasure in your own body. For this class Ill be teaching a set of exercises on weight sharing, and another set of exercises on flow. This is an introductory class appropriate for all levels.

Contact can get pretty acrobatic, and extreme. Here’s a video showing two of the founders of Contact Improvisation – Steve Paxton and Nancy Stark Smith.

The acrobatic stuff they’re doing – the ‘flying’ – is enabled by a real awareness of how you share weight. You can share weight with other human in many different ways. If you are facing someone like youre about to shake hands, and you both put your hands out in front of your shoulders, you can lean in and support each other like playing cards making a house of cards. You could also then clasp hands and lean out from each other, sharing weight to make the letter V (coming from your feet toward your heads.) There are many ways to share weight, and to develop sensitivity to shifts of weight. Ill be introducing just a few exercises in weight sharing. Because weight sharing exercises can lead to balance points, and lack of motion, Ill be teaching a few exercises on finding flow. With these two sets of exercises under our belt well spend the remainder of class having practice dances with each other.

I’ve been dancing Contact Improvisation for fifteen years, and have enjoyed studying with a number of visionary teachers in the field. I love Contact Improvisation, and Im really looking forward to introducing some of the skills and ideas of Contact Improvisation in this class Saturday May 30th from 2-3:30pm. I hope that youll be able to join me; please feel free to share with your friends.

The is a one-off, free workshop Im doing to help promote the shows Im having in the Fringe Festival this summer. Check out for more information on that.


Author: Robert Bettmann

Founder of Day Eight, and the DC Arts Writing Fellowship.