Sunday, July 18, 2010

CQ Contact Improvisation Newsletter
vol. 35 no. 2, summer/fall 2010

Guest Editors: Dey Summer & Keren Ganin-Pinto
CQ Newsletter Editor: Nancy Stark Smith

Brandon Gonzales in the mix at the Friday night Jam of the Texas Dance Improvisation Festival at Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas; October 2009. Photo © Lily Sloan.
The First Annual Texas Dance Improvisation Festival
Denton, Texas
October 9–11, 2009

An idea first mentioned in casual conversation several years ago came to fruition as Sarah Gamblin and I hosted the first Texas Dance Improvisation Festival at Texas Woman’s University in DENTON, TEXAS, this past fall. More than 115 dance improvisers from throughout the state of Texas, some driving more than ten hours each way, came together to share, inspire, and challenge each other in a weekend festival celebrating improvisational dance in Texas.

The festival included classes, jams, and an evening of improvisational dance performance. Classes were taught by our guest artist, the wonderful K.J. Holmes, as well as by Texas-based dance artists Ellie Leonhardt, Emily Morgan, Leslie Scates, Lauren Tietz, Jordan Fuchs, Sarah Gamblin, and the inestimable Nina Martin.

The festival was a great success, with many wonderful memories, images, insights, new friends, and colleagues, as well as an expanded and strengthened community of improvisers. There is good momentum for repeating the festival next year, in the fall of 2010—I think our optimism in calling it the “first annual” dance improvisation festival was warranted!

I also wanted to report on the wonderful improvisational dance community that has been developing here in Denton. Thursday nights, we have weekly jams cohosted by the departments of dance at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) and the University of North Texas (UNT). The jams have been well attended, with frequently more than twenty dancers, and a wonderful live music component provided by TWU and UNT musicians committed to experimental sound explorations.

[Jordan Fuchs; Denton, Texas;]