BRADLEY TEAL ELLIS (Brooklyn, NY)
Bradley Teal Ellis is a Brooklyn, New York based dance improviser. He has practiced Contact Improvisation for 20 years, and frequently collaborates in process and performance with other artists. Bradley currently teaches as adjunct faculty at NYU/Tisch - Experimental Theatre Wing, NYU/Tisch - Dance & the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College. He also is faculty at Movement Research (one of the world’s leading laboratories for Experimental Dance) and Gibney Dance (NYC) and offers workshops in Contact Improvisation. Upcoming projects in 2019 include leading public classes in Contact Improvisation at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, NYC) in January and joining esteemed teachers to offer classes at Contact Festival Freiburg (Germany) in August.
BLAKE NELLIS (Minneapolis, MN)
Blake Nellis is an artist, educator and improviser who creates work with the body. His work is deeply rooted in human connection, physical touch and shared emotion. He graduated from Luther College with a degree in Theater/Dance and later taught in the Visual & Performing Arts Department (2013-15). Nellis has taught and performed throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe, and is proud to call Minneapolis home! His extensive training in Contact Improvisation includes: Nancy Stark Smith, Martin Keogh, Steve Paxton, Daniel Lepkoff, Leilani Weiss, Carol Swann, Jane Hawley, Jane Shockley & HIJACK. Nellis was Artist In Residence at Tofte Lake Center, funded by the Jerome Foundation in 2018. He is a 2015 & 2019 recipient of the MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant (dance & photography respectively) and 2013 recipient of the McKnight Foundation’s Metropolitan Regional Arts Council: Next Step Fund. He has recently produced work at the Walker Art Center, Red Eye Theater, TEK Box, Artbox, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater & Luther College. His favorite moments happen through the art of perfect timing and somatic practice. www.blakenellis.org
Avital Bar Zuri
Avital Bar Zuri is a mom, an artist, somatic therapist and a body worker who enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. She is a registered somatic therapist (R-SMT) who has an MA in dance movement therapy. She is a CMA (certified movement analyst) and implements the system of Laban and Bartenieff in her work. Avital met CI more than 12 years ago and fell in-love. Ever since, she graduated a three years’ program of CI, performance and Bartenieff Fundamentals in Jerusalem, studied with various teachers and programs in Israel and Europe and taught long weekend workshops, weekly classes and in festivals both in Israel and the Boston area. Moved to the US from Israel with her spouse and 2 kids 3 years ago and been inventing herself ever since, finding ways to be true to herself in a foreign country. “I believe that working with the body enables deep life changes. Movement is constant change and our body is the container where it reveals. For me the joy is to work with people and understand their patterns and work to re-pattern them.”
ELISE KNUDSON (NYC)
ELISE KNUDSON is a New York City based dance artist. Elise teaches Contact Improvisation through Movement Research in NYC and teaches/facilitates CI at festivals and and jams around the world, most recently; Touch Festival (China), Leviathan Studio (Canada), WCCI Jam (Berkeley, USA), Equinox Jam (Earthdance, Mass) and Shanghai (China). She founded NEXToNow, modeled after The Impermanent Society of Philadelphia to provided a monthly platform for the practice of performing interdisciplinary improvisation. (see http://nextonow.org) Elise has had the pleasure of participating in improvised performances with Chris Aiken, Nancy Stark Smith, Eun Jung Choi, Minna Karttunen, Bradley Teal Ellis and many other wonderful people. She has also enjoyed performing choreography with various Artists in New York and beyond including Jenni Hong, Kiori Kawai/Purring Tiger, Risa Jaroslow, Noemie LaFrance, Luke Gutgsell, Jody Oberfelder and Koosil-ja/DANCE KUMIKO.
BRAD STOLLER (Charlottesville, VA)
Brad Stoller has been practicing CI for 39 years. He directs theatre and dance at colleges in Virginia and continues to engage in authentic movement practices. He is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and a black belt in Aikido.
RONJA VER (Oakland, CA)
Ronja Ver is a dancer and dance maker, a teacher, a mother, an activist, and a lifetime student of performance as meaning-making. Their 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. A native of Finland, Ver has worked and performed extensively throughout Europe and in the United States, most recently with Nancy Stark Smith and Mike Vargas in Seattle and New York City, Sara Shelton Mann, Avy K Productions, Alma Esperanza Cunningham Movement, Risa Jaroslow & Dancers, and Scott Wells and Dancers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Previous posts include the National Theater of Finland, Beyond Improvisation Collective, and Riitta Vainio Dance Company. Ver was proud to be featured spinning underwater in Steve Paxton’s DVD Material For The Spine. Their choreography has been presented in the U.S. at Movement Research at the Judson Church (NYC), Danspace Project (NYC), and the American Dance Festival (NC), among others. Currently based in Oakland, CA, Ver began their 3-year artist residency at SAFEhouse for the Arts, San Francisco, in 2016, and with RAW’s generous support created the new works DOOR (2016), and DIS/grage (2017). Ver is continually inspired by the art and practice of Contact Improvisation, which provides a place for play and magic in their life. Ver is a co-organizer of the West Coast Contact Improvisation Jam, and co-founder of the organization InterKinected and the Finnish CI festival Skiing On Skin. They hold an MFA in Dance from Hollins University. www.ronjaver.net/
IRA ECHO [Musician]
Ira Echo is a violinist, pianist, dancer, performer and composer living in New Orleans, LA. They began their study of violin performance at the Transylvanian Kalotaszentkiralyi Music Academy, Sâncraiu Romania. Ira's path of performance then took them to New Orleans where they play funny jazz and freely improvised music for dancers. Concerning Ira presently is; how can the Contact Dance musician use space within the structure of the music to facilitate breathy even tempered daring tranquil dance exploration. How can the musician read the room to stoke voluptuous sensation in the hearts and bellies of the movers? As the movers cultivate alertness in a state of distortion, and trust in their physical survival instincts, can the musician embrace their own musical survival instincts? Ira is working on Ripples and Waves, a series of compositions inspired by contact culture.
M’Gilvry Allen [Musician, Jam Only]
M’Gilvry Allen is a multi-instrumentalist, dancer and martial artist from Sebastopol, California. His music is as unusual as his name – a kaleidoscope of familiar sounds, from crisp flourishes of ancient fiddle, to ethereal vocal harmonies, to raw blues guitar. While playing for the contact community in the Bay Area for the past two years, M'Gilvry has adapted his music to bring a healing spaciousness and playfulness to the dance floor. Themes he's been exploring in CI spaces include opening, borders, edges, and spirals. M'Gilvry lives in an Aikido dojo in Berkeley, California. His digital work can by found on YouTube.