Daniel Bear Davis
Movement Education and Performance
Resilient: 1. Springing back; rebounding. 2. Returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched. 3. Recovering readily from adversity; buoyant.
We are made of resilient tissues and structures. This resilience arises when a healthy network of relations is cultivated between our various parts through listening, collaboration, care and play. The same is true in our bodies and our communities. The design of these bodies grows out of millions of years of moving interaction with the environment. By looking to this design, we can gain clues for getting the most dynamic possibility while reducing our risk of injury. In this class we will learn to create structures for partnering that are strong yet responsive, fluid yet supportive, stable and still mobile. Our intention is adaptability and agency as a means to connection.
Flights of Fancy
“This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.” "Fling the emptiness out of your arms into the spaces we breathe; perhaps the birds will feel the expansion of air with more passionate flying" - Rilke
This workshop will offer tools for lightness and flight in our solo dance through centrifuge, sequencing, airborne arm support, and jumping mechanics.
Contact Improv and Axis Syllabus
Intermediate or Advanced level
We will look at details of our own anatomy, refined over thousands of years of evolution, to gain clues about how to move in collaboration with our own fascinating design. The intention is to encourage healthy patterns that support choice and longevity of the body’s tissues while increasing aptitude to harness and play with momentum and offer resilient support. Sequential movement training encourages dynamic alignment and ready response to the countless unknowns of a contact dance. Bringing our findings into collaboration with other bodies allows us to increase response-ability within the dance inviting more informed risks and skillful and specific physical interventions.
Some topics of the workshop will include:
Chronological Architecture/ Sequential Movement
Connection through the Fascia
Loading Docks and Centrifugal Lifts
Hip Axis Arc
Dancing The Endless Web
Inter-connectivity Through CI and Composition
This workshop is about inter-connection and conductivity both within the structures of the body and through space in group interaction. How does communication and information move through form, time, and space?
The physical inquiry of the workshop will center on an exploration of fascia.
Fascia is the three dimensional web of connective tissue that runs continuously from a thick layer just under your skin into the mysterious depths of your body. Fascia weaves a network of interwoven membrane around every muscle, organ, bone and cell.
Accessing this incredibly intelligent system in our dance opens a world of specificity, subtlety, and increased kinetic potential. We will traverse the range, from witnessing and following the delicate unwinding of the tissues, to finding incredible support for dynamic flight, elastic buoyancy and the creation of countless hidden shelves.
We will further expand these concepts of connectivity and communication into group dynamics and composition through space. We will explore the interaction between the will of the individual and the intelligence of the collective in the creation of group composition. We will engage with spontaneously arising structures emerging from the collective mind and with finding space and individual freedom within the limitations of prescribed structures.
Within the body and within a group we are many individual pieces and we are a cohesive whole. A willingness towards inspired initiation and skillful response with awareness of one’s place within the larger context allows for the expression of rich and unexpected
Contact, Context and Content
a class in CI and improvisational composition
We will begin each class with physical inquiry around a particular theme or skill, developing a common corporeal dialogue and expanding our palette of choice. Our physical exploration will range from principles of efficiency and ease, to safely engaging uncommon textures and unexpected choices. Themes will include accessing fascia for subtlety and specificity, dynamic flight, resiliency and elasticity, wielding chaos in the body, spiral dynamics, and architectural support.
We will than take this dialogue into the realm of composition and communication by layering a wide range of frames and lenses onto the dance.
Themes will include:
*The communication of relationship and meaning through quality of touch.
*The skillful creation of a conceptual framework for the viewer.
*The use of juxtaposition.
*The meeting ground between high dynamic dancing, gesture and symbol.
*Image as a starting point.
Intermediate/Advanced Contact Improv
In this class we will explore textures and techniques for bringing a wide range of flavors into your dancing. We will include everything from principles for anatomical efficiency to accessing different mental and physical states in the dance, to unusual and unexpected interactions. We will learn the various gifts of structure and chaos within the body, dip into the subtle joys of composition, engage the play between will and surrender, and play in the poetry of this incredibly diverse form.
This workshop explores Contact Improvisation as a tool of communication and composition. Working with time and space (tempo, duration, repetition, kinesthetic response, spatial relationship, shape, gesture, architecture, topography) we will explore the opportunities of compositional awareness, within and between moments of physical contact. How do we create and express meaning within relationship? How do we maintain our individual expression and choice-making, while dancing with our partner? We will focus on the cultivation of sensory and compositional awareness and the relationship between mind, movement, content, and context. We will play with how dominant, or non-dominant the physical contact is, and what other ways we might make contact."
Permaculture asks us to utilize careful observation of relationships and mindful intervention to create the conditions for easeful harnessing of various forces. We create structures and patterns in the land that allow us to effect the most change for the least effort. In this class we will explore some of these principles as applied to kinetic situations. This class is appropriate for those new to CI who have some previous background or interest in permaculture as well as experienced dancers who want to zoom in on some basic principles of movement efficiency.
Navigating Infinity: Tools for Improvisation
We will explore the spontaneous composition of time, space, and content.
We will use embodied physical activity as a pathway to accessing various states from which to perform. We will excavate the thin line between simplicity and complexity.
Contact for the Human Animal
We will invite all our versatile humanity into the dance. The class will be an investigation of the human experience through exploration of physical principles, various mind/body states, relationship, and touch.
In this series we will explore stability in a context on constant change and response-ability in the midst of uncertainty. We will cultivate choice in our own bodies as the ground from which we move. The shifting context of our partners becomes a fascinating process of unfolding possibility. We will learn to sense the stability of a system, and to align ourselves with support. By shifting off the vertical, forward orientation, we gain access to a spherical perspective. Basic physical skills in alignment, counter-balance and weight exchange will be offered alongside practices in the core skills of listening, curiosity, and presence.
Contact of The Senses
Contact. It's something that happens every day in every interaction. The contact between inside and outside is how we learn about the world. Every relationship stems from a series of energetic and physical contacts or exchanges. We read meaning into textures, stories into gestures, and symbol into abstraction. By bringing awareness and choice to the contact that’s already happening, worlds of sensation and imagination emerge. When we dance, all of this becomes fertile ground for interaction and creation.
Preparing for an Encounter
Dynamic Stability: Solo Preparation for Partnering
To dance with others with a sense of possibility and response-ability, we cultivate these qualities in our solo dance. Through study of dynamic support, momentum, landing pads, and proprioception, this class seeks to create integrity within our own structures and choices. The more options and awareness living in our own dance, the more we can bring to each unique and unpredictable encounter with another. The result is safer, less effortful, and diverse dances with our partners.
Contact Improv: Core Teachings and Spinal Dynamics.
In the center of our body, born from millions of years of evolutionary intelligence, lives a strong and sensitive instrument of communication and expression. Our spine houses the central channel of our nervous system, radiating a constant stream of information from our skin and muscles to our center and back again. By awakening the undulatory nature of this powerful motor, we will cultivate fluid and articulate connection with our dance partners. As we begin to contact and trust the offerings of our core structures, our larger habitual muscle groups can soften creating opportunities for lightness
Double-Helix Counterbalance, Chaotic Responsivity, Fascial Support for Centrifugal Flight, Coin Flipping, Distal Levers for Proximal Propulsion, Chicken Wings, Axial-Plane Shifts, Push-Me Pull-Yous (Short Circuits), Architectural Resiliency, Spontaneous Jungle Gym Emergence, Resistance Potential, Advanced Footsie, Digital Specificity, State Shifts and other fancy sounding names for fascinating concepts and fun corporeal experiences.
For experienced CI dancers and AS students.
Dancing at the Edges
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 permaculture, the edges, where two ecosystems meet, are said to be the site 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? Come dance and play with your edges!
Some More Titles for Axis Syllabus Workshops:
Tales From the Anatomical Center
Once More to Arms…
Crossbows, Slings, and Chicken Wings
The Joys of Structure
Through support from the bones and an understanding of structural integrity, we find buoyancy, resiliency, and specificity. The playground comes to life with counterbalances, launching pads, unexpected levers, and waves to ride. We find easeful pathways up and down from the ground and into the air through attentive response to the moving landscape of our partners. The play expands in a dynamic dance of will and surrender, listening and response. We learn to offer and accept fluid support and engage the expanding possibilities of each moment with presence, potential and curiosity.
Clear and responsive structures offer us ground from which to fly.
We will engage a dynamic process of springboards and ricochets between different mediums of expression, using them as maps to delve deeper into the imagination and subconscious. Gradually we will create layered structures for performance and improvisation, weaving together image, writing, and movement. Bring a pen. And your inspiration...