This website reflects 2016 Moab Jam events. We are unable to host the Workshop/Jam in 2017 due to renovation plans at the MARC. There WILL be an EXTRA SPECIAL 2018 Moab Workshop and Jam! We plan to have dates and Information about the 2018 event on this website by May 2017.

Moab Workshop: May 22 (Sun.)* - May 25 (Wed.), 2016
*arrival day in Moab is May 21 (Sat.)
Workshop: Dancing at the Edges: Axis Syllabus and CI with Daniel Bear Davis
Additional classes during the Workshop with Brad Stoller, Neige Christienson, Blake Nellis, Ronja Ver & Aaron Brando.
Contact Improvisation is a practice of two or more people discovering what's physically  possible between them that is not possible alone. It is an on-going context for physical inquiry, play, creation, and nourishment. 
Axis Syllabus is an approach to movement education that honors the intelligence of the design of the body and seeks ways to understand and collaborate with that design. The hope is to increase informed choice and extend our dynamic capacity over the course of a lifetime. 
This workshop will explore the edges and overlaps between Contact Improv and Axis Syllabus. In ecological systems, the edges, where differences meet, are said to be the sites of the most biodiversity. How do we create more fertile surface area? How do we extend our edges without losing our depth? How do we invite ourselves to be changed through the friction, resistance, and joining of our edges with another? Our skin develops from the same embryological tissue as our nervous system. Our protective outer barrier and our most intimate inner systems are inextricably linked. This workshop will explore how contact through our edges touches our depths. We meet the world at the edges of ourselves.  In this workshop we will explore edges in our own anatomical structures, between ourselves and a partner, in group dances, as well as dance outings to the epic desert beauty that surrounds Moab.


We will have daily sessions with Daniel in the beautiful dance studio at the MARC--refining CI and movement skills and enjoying focused dancing. On some of the Workshop days we will go outdoors for explorations of movement and perception in the natural areas around Moab: desert canyons, swimming holes, stunning red rock formations, rivers. Dan Bear's work with CI and Axis Syllabus will be the primary focus in the daily classes, and the other teachers will offer favorite material for deepening the experience of Contact Improvisation, and how we interface with our bodies in nature. Daily evening jams will provide focused time for jamming, scores, and witnessing. 

Open to all levels of experience. Basic comfort with Contact Improvisation fundamentals strongly suggested.

Plan to arrive in Moab on Saturday 5/21. We have campsites reserved starting Saturday evening, for those who choose to stay at Ken's Lake Campground. The Workshop will begin with a group session in the MARC on Sunday 5/22 at 1:30pm. (Please arrive for registration and orientation by 1pm.) The closing group session for the Workshop will be Wednesday evening 5/25. Exploration Day, initiated by Workshop dancers, is Thursday 5/26. The Jam begins at 7pm on Thursday 5/26.
Main Workshop Teacher

Daniel Bear Davis (CA and beyond) has taught Contact Improvisation and Composition internationally since 2007 and has been teaching Axis Syllabus since 2013. He has applied and adapted learning from these physical inquiry practices in activity as diverse as bodywork and acrobatic stilts. Whether teaching physical skills or compositional practices, his intention is to foster tools for informed choice and increased possibility. 

He has performed in theaters, on submarines, desert rocks, construction scaffolding, and art galleries. He’s made pieces about dementia, gender, war, heritage, identity. He cares about image, awe, and beauty. In creating a wide and rich acceptance of what it is to be human in a more-than-human world. He has been blessed with opportunities to perform with Guillermo Gomez Peña, Nita Little, Nancy Stark Smith, Live Art Installations, Felix Ruckert, Kira Kirsch, Erika Tsimbrovsky, Scott Wells, Krista DeNio and many other inspiring body/minds.

Daniel has a creative practice driven by awe and wonder for humanity and an equally poignant curiosity and respect for the more-than-human world. His work prioritizes content over genre, weaving text, dance, video, music and new media. He considers all work to be site and context-specific and is interested in mobilizing audience agency through interaction and unconventional use of space. His work has been presented at the Imagining Bodies Symposium in Tallin, Estonia, the San Francisco International Arts Festial, SoWat Now Contemporary Performance Festival, and Looking Left Festival in California, and at the SEEDS Festival and E|MERGE Residency at Earthdance Center, MA (which he also produced and curated for its first three years). 

His interest in the human experience has recently brought him to work with the real stories of under-represented people offering up their unique experiences as a site for connection. He has directed this work with EchoTheaterSuitcase project in collaborative ensembles of veterans and non-veterans as well as assisting in choreography of a performance of The Artistic Ensemble created and performed by inmates at San Quentin Prison.

Additional Workshop Teachers:

Blake Nellis (MN) is a curious cat.  He is a dancer, photographer, teacher and improviser.  His work is inspired by the art of timing, patience, repetition, laughter, street dance, original music, the circus, athletics, laughter, perfect timing, repetition and perfect timing.  And repetition.  Blake is currently a freelance performer and visual artist living in Minneapolis.  He has taught throughout the US, Mexico, Europe and Asia over the last ten years.  Blake began studying CI under Jane Hawley in 2004, with great influence from Martin Keogh, Nancy Stark Smith, Daniel Lepkoff, Jane Shockley and Leilani Weis.  Blake's current passion project is directing a series of short dance videos called "Mad Minute Films".  If you're curious:

Brad Stoller (VA) has been falling since he learned to walk and dancing since he decided it was actually more fun than football. He has been teaching CI for 30 years, SFADI, Frieburg, Moab, and other venues abroad including Kenyan and Ugandan villages. He has a black belt in Aikido, a Master's degree in Playwriting, and converted 6 cars to run on veggie grease. He currently teaches CI at UVa in Charlottesville, VA where he also teaches the Alexander Technique and runs the theatre program at the local community college. He has been co-facilitating an Active Witnessing Authentic movement group for the past 6 years using CI as the basis.

Neige Christenson (MA) has enjoyed over 30 years of exploring, teaching and performing Contact Improvisation, enriched by the practice of Authentic Movement. She holds an MA in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University, and is a graduate of the National Theater Institute and Smith College, where she first discovered Contact. She actively supports both her home-jam in Boston and the CI programming at Earthdance. She loves the way a CI duet can be a metaphor for human relationship and also be an abstract expression of life-force energy. Her teaching encourages opening the improvisational mind and body to full presence and connection with self and other. Performance and dance portraits can be found here. Her writings on dancing the improvised life, homeschooling and our relationship to this earth have appeared in Contact QuarterlyThe Sun magazine; Fire in the Womb: Mothers and Creativity; and Hope Beneath Our Feet: Restoring our Place in the Natural World.

Ronja Ver (CA, Finland) is a dancer and dance maker, teacher, mother, activist, and lifetime student of performance as meaning-making. Her choreographic work addresses current issues through movement, sound, and awkward audience participation; technical but unpolished, often working with extreme physical states to invite a visceral, nonverbal place of relating. She has performed extensively in Europe and in the United States, most recently with Sara Shelton Mann, Risa Jaroslow, and Scott Wells in San Francisco, and Nancy Stark Smith and Mike Vargas in New York City. Previous posts include the National Theater of Finland and Riitta Vainio Dance Company, and she is proud to be featured on Steve Paxton’s dvd Material for the Spine. She is continually inspired by the art and practice of Contact Improvisation, and has taught both intensives and classes at several international festivals including SFDI, wcciJAM, Skiing On Skin, and Freiburg. She holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University/ADF

Aaron Brando (MA) holds a Masters Degree in Education and loves the art of crafting pedagogy in a non-codified system such as CI. Brando teaches CI in the U.S. and internationally. He serves on the Board of Directors for Earthdance Retreat Center. Brando has been instrumental in creating the event, CI Ground Research, which encourages the ongoing research of Contact Improvisation by dancers from around the world. Brando trained with Tom Myers at the KMI Institute and is a certified Fascial Bodywork/Structural Integration practitioner. He served a two-year residence at the Kripalu Center for Yoga, is a certified Yoga teacher and has a 20-year history with Vipassana Meditation. More information, including links to Brando’s youTube videos can be found @