wcciJAM 2017 JAM GUIDELINES A living document
Focus & Intention A jam is a focused environment in which to practice Contact Improvisation. Sound and text is welcome as part of the dancing. However, please keep loud social conversation outside the dance space. Feel free to remind others of this when they want to chat with you.
Spatial Awareness Be mindful of the space around you. Adjust your dance to stay safe. While you may dance at any speed you wish, the dance floor is a “no parking” zone: move non-dance interactions to the side of the room.
Safety & Boundaries Every dancer is responsible for their own safety on the dance floor. We recognize that this is a complex statement. CI can be physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding, and you will be interacting with dancers of varied skill, ability, interest and experience. Safety means different things to different people at different times. Feel free to communicate verbally with your dancer partners, and please be attentive to them in return. Do not assume that your partner is skilled at setting boundaries and establishing consent. Contact improvisation is outside of societal norms for touch; it’s always ok to say “No” or “Stop”. Many states and impulses can surface during dancing, including feelings of sexual arousal. We are sexual beings, and that’s positive. However, a jam is a shared space; explicitly sexual behavior is not welcome.
Observing is a great way to participate, support the space, and learn!
Entering, Exiting & Grazing Solos, duets, trios, quartets, and melees are all part of the greater dance of the whole room. Enter dances with a spirit of listening to what is already there. You can always leave a dance. Remember, the floor is your first partner, and at all times, regardless of who is touching whom, the whole room is in a dance together.
Kids are part of our community and we are excited to have an all ages class every morning. Kids are also welcome to dance in jam spaces as long as they are engaging in the practice of contact improvisation. Dancing children need a grown up present with them on the dance floor who is responsible for their safety. Allow children to engage in the dance according to their own will and curiosity, and respect their boundaries: don’t assume you can pick someone up just because they are smaller than you, don’t assume they want to be tickled, etc. Conversely, you may also set boundaries with children, or reach out to a parent, teacher, or organizer if you feel children are compromising the jam space. If you want to bring your children to a class, you must check in with the specific teacher beforehand.
Diversity & Dialogue A jam is an evolving environment. We cannot ignore issues of disparity that color our practice, both in terms of who is or is not in the room, and in terms of power dynamics between the people dancing. Our intention is to foster awareness, accessibility, diversity, and dialogue about CI. If something is bothering you, please speak up. Each jam has at least two jam hosts available for support. You can also turn to the registration desk.
There is no one way to do Contact. Explore. Experiment. Enjoy!
wcciJAM Organizing Team