Peter Ryan photo

Peter Ryan Biography

2006 Ottawa - Ontario Regional Contact Improv Jam

Peter Ryan Workshop - 2pm - 5pm Saturday April 15, 2006

PETER RYAN has been involved in dance and theatre as a teacher, performer and writer since 1975. He has taught and performed across North America and Europe and was a founding member of EDAM, Vancouver's innovative dance and music collective.

Currently, he teaches in the Theatre Department at the University of Ottawa, trains dancers and actors in contact and improvisation for performance in Ottawa and Athens, Greece and teaches public classes in Improvisation at Ottawa's Dance Network.

Peter also works extensively in the schools, teaching dance and movement.

He has served on the board of the Council for the Arts in Ottawa, and was a member of the Arts Advisory Committee to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

Steve Paxton is his friend and sometime Chinese checkers opponent........

Contact Improvisation

Contact improvisation is a dance with gravity, momentum, and everything else that is happening in the moment, including the physical and energetic contact the dance-partners share. It is a whole-body study in the subtle art of non-verbal collaboration and co-creation. Often a meditative practice, improvisation is done without music, to allow space to tune into what is happening and the moment-to-moment impulses of the body.

"A typical CI session begins with a moment of being present with oneself, during which the participant engages with the floor and with his or her body. I stretch, I yawn, I pay attention to my breath, to my mass, to my feelings, to the environment around me. Then, somewhere nearby, the presence of another takes form, which I perceive first as a vibration, then as light pressure somewhere on my body. This is the point of contact, where pressure fluctuates, changes, and impacts the duet. I let go of balance and I feel myself fall into fluidity, arcing over my partner to meet the ground. The liberty I feel comes from responsibility. By acting slowly, a quiet strength allows me to face any surprises or emergencies. The dance has begun."

An invitation to let go in an oasis of peace.

The "Contact Jam" is an invitation to practice improvising in contact with others, oneself, and the environment.

Discover and practice the science and playground that is Contact Improvisation. Strengthen your body, open your mind and awaken your instincts. Explore sensory and physical experiments of shared touch, weight, gravity and momentum and expand into three-dimensional space, spontaneous composition, trust and risk. Engage in scores and open dancing and experience serious play - matching wits and methods, sharing common ground and sudden miracles - by surrendering to and shaping the dance in the moment. Be ready for joint creations with formal and open structures and games, scores and scenarios ranging from the whimsical to poetic, cooperative to aggressive, simple to complex. (Knee pads are recommended.)


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