Friday, October 9, 2009

Making contact

Dance festival teaches improvisational partner dance
10:06 AM CDT on Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Saturday night performance will be open for the public during the Texas Dance Improvisation Festival 2009 this weekend.

The festival kicks off on Friday night at Texas Women’s University with an improvisational dance session and will last until midday Sunday.

Jordan Fuchs, assistant professor in the department of dance at TWU, said he hopes it is the first of an annual festival the school hopes to hold each year.

He said TWU and the University of North Texas already have a weekly improvisational jam session every Thursday.

Jams are practice sessions for these dancers.

Fuchs said that Denton musicians are getting involved by playing at the weekly jams.

He said he is interested in seeing involvement expand with the festival.

He said people attending the festival are coming from all over the state, including El Paso, Houston, Austin, and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Improvisational dance is instant composition or choreography, Fuchs said.

The festival will explore the different varieties of improvisational dance, including contact improvisation, which is the main form the dancers use at the weekly jams.

Contact improvisation is a partnering form of improvisational dance.

It is described as “a cross between ballroom dancing and wrestling,” Fuchs said.

The Saturday performance will be held at 7 p.m. in the TWU Dance Building, 304 Administration Drive.

The event is free, but space is limited.

It will include performances by K.J. Holmes, a dancer from New York, and Nina Martin from TCU, as well as Fuchs, Leslie Scates, Sarah Gamblin, Ellie Leonhardt, Claudia Queen, Brandon Gonzalez, Lauren Tietz and Pat Stone.

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—Rachel Mehlhaff