Anya Cloud (USA)

Contact Improvisation: An Urgent Practice of Risk and Gentleness

We will take on Contact Improvisation as a high-risk dancing practice that requires comprehensive intelligence and accountability. What is at stake within our dancing/being? We will cultivate an Open System Contact body that can fluently move into and out of physical contact with others through a variety of conditions. How can gentleness practices be a key into responsible and responsive risk-taking and athleticism and vice versa? We will rigorously train techniques and approaches to acutely coordinate ourselves with ourselves in relationship with gravity. Sometimes this will be through exhaustion, sometimes patience, sometimes falling into unknown spaces. We will practice increasing options about how we respond to shifting conditions and the dancing that this provokes. What if there is always more than one option? This will surely include falling, rolling, supporting through the skeleton, flying, colliding, disorientation, volumizing, and more. We will narrow the gap between theory and practice in order to be more aware of and expand our individual and collective dancing capacity. This means explicit consideration of power, agency, impact, and more. We are the material of the work. We will approach CI as a fundamentally queer proposal that invites intensely physical dancing, multiplicity, accountability, the politics of being, integrity, sustainability, and difference within the unknown. It is an urgent time in the world - let's show up in every way with the bodies that we have as the people who we are and see what becomes possible. My ongoing research is framed through radical independence and responsible citizenship.




Originally from Alaska, Anya Cloud is currently based in California, US. She dances, make dances, and teaches dance in multiple contexts. Collaboration and activism are central to her artistic practice. Anya regularly teaches/facilitates Contact Improvisation, improvisation, and contemporary dance internationally within festivals, institutions, and communities. Important collaborators and/or teachers include Sara Shelton Mann, Nancy Stark Smith, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Karen Nelson, Kirstie Simson, Karen Schaffman, Eric Geiger, Kristianne Salcines, Justin Morrison, and Nhu Nguyen among others. Anya believes in dancing with the bodies that we have as the people we are in order to cultivate radical aliveness. She is an independent choreographer/performer, holds an MFA in Dance Theatre, teaches in Dance Studies at California State University San Marcos, is certified in the Feldenkrais Method®, and produces experimental dance where she lives.