BASTIEN AUBER (Grenoble, France)
Bastien began his investigation of Contact Improvisation over 10 years ago, and is passionate about sharing his ongoing research about the intersection of nature and movement. His approach to physical dynamics is linked with the movements in earth and universe (water, earth, air, fire and ether). His teaching is based on the relationship between the body and the multi-spatial environment (macrocosm and microcosm). Bastien teaches weekly classes (in Grenoble) and 5-6 weekend workshops per year, plus teaching internationally: Germany (CMC festival 2015), USA (New York, Moab Jam 2014), Israel (CI festival 2013), Spain (Fueteventura 2016, CI festival Valencia 2013 and 2012), Italy (Roma Contact 2012), Ukraine (Kiev CI festival 2011), and Russia (where he taught dance with ropes and nature events in 2012). He is influenced by contact/performance teachers from different countries (Chris Aiken, Ray Chung, Keith Hennessey, Alicia Grayson, Lisa Nelson, Angela Doni, Adrian Russi, Joerg Hassman, Charlie Morrissey , Isabelle Uski, and others.) His movement is inspired by his backround in other somatic practices (many years of climbing, work as a geologist, authentic movement, and vipassana meditation.) He is part of the organizing team of the "1001 Festival" in Grenoble. Currently he is interested in the field of subtle bodies forming in Geobiology and Bioenergy. www.bastien-auber.jimdo.com
NEIGE CHRISTENSON (Waltham, 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 Quarterly; The Sun magazine; Fire in the Womb: Mothers and Creativity; and Hope Beneath Our Feet: Restoring our Place in the Natural World.
KATHERINE COOK (Seattle, WA)
is a dancer, teacher, and mathematician. Complexity, rigor, and depth mark her dance improvisation practice, research, performance, and teaching. Katherine teaches CI in Seattle and around the US at festivals including SFDI, wcciJAM, Portland Regional Jam, University of Washington, and others; she is the director of the Seattle Collaboratory of the Institute for Study of Somatic Communication developed by Nita Little; she runs the monthly Underscore in Seattle and is a member of the Seattle CI Lab, a long-running alliance of dancers that explores the form, practice, community, and teaching of CI. Her teaching, research and performance collaborators include Nita Little, Nancy Stark Smith, Karen Nelson, Cyrus Khambatta, and Kris Wheeler, among others. When not dancing, Katherine is advocating for change in the current practices of math education or embarking on long adventures in the wilderness.
MIRVA MÄKINEN (Helsinki, Finland)
graduated (MA) from the Dance Department from the University of Arts, Finland in 2000 and also has a Masters of Physical Education from University of Jyväskylä. In 2010 she began her doctoral studies at the University of Arts in Helsinki; her artistic research investigates and articulates Somaesthetics of Contact Improvisation. Since 2000 Mirva been a dance teacher, choreographer and lecturer for dance at the Kallio Upper Secondary School of Performing Arts, and has taught extensively at festivals throughout the world. She is well-known for her innovative scores and precise pedagogical approach to skills, stunningly fluid athleticism, and her kind and generous spirit.
SOLE MEDINA (Santiago, Chile)
My initial studies were in theater in the "Teatro Imagen" Preforming Arts Academy (2000 - 2004). I then developed into becoming a contemporary dancer and freelancing. I studied Kalaripayattu and some vocal training in Hindustan Kalari Sangam in India. My dance has integrated influences from Martial Arts, Butoh, Bodyweather training and all my life experiences. With CI my dancing path opened into other kinds of awareness and somatic practices. After living in Barcelona 2006-2012, I worked with s.i.a.m.b; researched, collaborated and organized the CI Barcelona Festival and other activities related to Improvisation and contact. I received my B.A in contemporary dance at Universidad de las Americas (Chile) in 2013. As a performer, choreographer and artist I’ve been performing in festivals in Chile, Spain, France and Canada collaborating with artists in research projects around improvisation as a performance practice. I've been teaching CI in different cities in Chile, Peru, Spain, Turkey and New Zealand. I currently live in Chile where I'm developing and organizing activities related to dance, improvisation and different kinds of meeting trough art. In Valparaíso I co-organize the international dance meeting SUDA. http://cargocollective.com/suda_suda. I also organize and teach in Ciclo E.T // Experiencias Tangibles// labs of contact improvisation research.
BLAKE NELLIS (Minneapolis, MN)
is a curious cat. H is an artist, educator and improviser who creates work with the body. His work is deeply rooted in human connection, physical touch, shared emotion and the quest for perfect timing. He originally hails from Door County, Wisconsin, and graduated from Luther College with a degree in Theater/Dance. He later spent two years as adjunct faculty at Luther in the Visual & Performing Arts Department. He is a recent recipient of the MN State Arts Board: Artist Initiative Grant and the McKnight Foundation’s Metropolitan Regional Arts Council: Next Step Fund. He has taught and performed throughout the US, Mexico, Europe & Asia and is proud to call Minneapolis home! His most influential CI teachers have been: Nancy Stark Smith, Martin Keogh, Jane Hawley, Daniel Lepkoff, Jane Shockley, Steve Paxton, Carol Swan, Leilani Weis and Paul Langland. He has recently produced work at the Walker Art Center, Red Eye Theater, TEK Box, The Soap Factory, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater & Luther College. He is a freelance photographer, choreographer and dancer. His latest creative project that is opening his heart is being a dad! www.blakenellis.org
RONJA VER (Oakland, CA)
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, 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, 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). Ronja Ver is continually inspired by the art and practice of Contact Improvisation, which provides a place for play and magic in her 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. Ver holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University. www.ronjaver.net/