Touch&Play – Sep. 21-26, 2021
Body Tapestries: Weaving Community Resilience
Registration is FULL
After the great pause there’s no going back to normal… and we were never planning on going back to normal. We are a courageous, weird, kinky, queer, extraordinary, loving bunch of dancers and movers. As we re-emerge we need these gatherings more than ever now, both as restorative healing space and a place to cultivate erotic and somatic wisdom. Our current theme is meant to evoke the tenacity, bravery, vulnerability and inclusion that it takes to be part of a community of somatic pioneers.
Tantra (one of many modalities represented at T&P) means “to weave”- and is also the tool used to stretch and expand the thread over the loom… or in the case of humans, our bodies and consciousness. A tapestry (also with the root “to stretch”) both conceals and reveals our personal and ancestral stories. Let’s come together once again to share these stories of liberation and heart filled practices of uncovering our messy interwoven truths.
We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was never normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, My friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.
– Sonya Renee Taylor
At its heart Touch&Play is a vision for reclaiming the sacredness of the body in the face of societal oppression. We have the privilege and opportunity to imagine a new way of being that centers play, imagination, healing, and reconnection to ourselves our communities and nature. To arrive at these intentions there is much decolonizing of our bodies, minds and spirits to be done. As a community through collective un-taming and un-shaming we strive to bring about this co-liberation. With this year’s theme “Body Tapestries: Weaving Community Resilience” we welcome you to share your restorative and courageous practices that support us to somatically integrate the personal, communal and cultural transformations that are underway through dance, voice, body, performance and the many corporeal and spiritual mediums we continue to nurture at our festival and in our lives…
We invite you to come home to this diverse community of dancers, somatic visionaries and embodied humans. This is a festival about play, vulnerability and building community rich in emotional, sensorial and erotic intelligence. This is a space to explore our personal, communal, and societal desires! What can dance, somatics, tantra, kink, contact improvisation, and communication practices contribute to our intimate be…longing?
Come ready to cultivate, express, and feel your longings. Let’s get compassionate and curious about intimacy, sexuality, consent, emotions, gender, privilege, race, power dynamics and inclusivity.
There’s an emerging expansion of leadership in the U.S. to better include women, trans, non-binary, and people of color. There’s a growing community of people practicing new models of intimacy. We are shifting from an era of sexual abuse to an era of sexual liberation with accountability. What can we, a festival of dancers and movers, discover and contribute to these cultural shifts?
2021 Intensive Teachers
Atilla Çıdam & Olivia Nichole
Leslie Heydon & Kathleen Rea
2021 Headliner Teachers
Embodied Practices for Consensual Non-Monogamy
Rewilding through CI
2021 Directors & Staff
Dietrich McGaffey – Edible Alchemy Foods
Inclusivity Team Lead
Sooth&Care Team Lead
Chaya Leia Aronson
Grief Ritual Facilitator
The Touch&Play Project started in 2010 as a platform to challenge the practice of Contact Improvisation (CI) as it existed at that time. Through a first festival in Berlin teachers of CI and a range of other body-based practices were invited to explore the ‘Chemistry in Contact’ by inviting in participants’ emotions, sexuality, aggression, politics and everything else often kept out of our dances. The event was a success and the material reverberated around the European and N. American contact communities raising discussions on the boundaries of our practice and the perceived (un)safety of our attempts to exclude our chemistry from our dances. The first Touch&Play project to occur in the US was facilitated July 2016 at Earthdance on the theme of communication. It was a great success. We have been enjoying witnessing the effect of our festival on many participants and teachers. Many classes, festivals, workshops and labs, that were in large part inspired by the past two year’s festivals have been happening in Latin America, Canada and all over the US during 2016-2018. We are honored to be a part of this personal and community development and wish to deepen our investigation of Communication, Contact Improvisation, and Intimacy again this coming July. Contact Improvisation continues to evolve. We invite you to be active in it’s evolution by exploring the ways in which our verbal and non-verbal communication enhances our connections. Learn to articulate your intentions, boundaries and desires in the dance more clearly and honestly to deepen our connections with ourselves, our partners and our community. The Touch&Play Project is run as a disseminated network of interested researchers, teachers and practitioners whereby any individual or group is encouraged to voice their own questions or concerns and to create a safe space to have them addressed in an authentic and playful manner.
Defining a form: Where does Contact Improvisation begin and end?
We want to honor that the Touch&Play project has it’s roots in the lineage of Contact Improvisation and simultaneously has a tradition of challenging that same form and introducing such diverse influences such as Non-Violent Communication, BDSM and Tantra. At Touch&Play we are not only researching our individual truths and daring ourselves to take new risks and try new somatic approaches, we are also asking what the essential truths of Contact Improvisation are and daring to push the edges of the form into new territory. What is the basic integrity of this form we call Contact Improvisation? A form that began from a place of curiosity and play, a form that is not institutionalized, codified or owned, a form which is naturally evolving…. We posit that in bringing these other disciplines & practices into our explorations we are enhancing and deepening communication and boundary skills necessary for a healthy and vibrant practice to evolve. Finding the most productive mix of “Classical Contact” and edge exploration is a dynamic equilibrium. One does need to understand the center of a form before one can know what it’s edges are. In this light we highly encourage any newcomers to Contact Improvisation who are considering signing up for this event to take classes and go to jams for the next few months before the festival to prepare yourself in understanding the essential physics and social dynamics of the form.
For any questions please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This pandemic has felt like the liquification process that a butterfly or moth goes through during pupation. Dissolution. The imaginal cells (what truly matter to me) have emerged and I have begun to orient the dissolved soup of myself to them and reorganized my cells into the butterfly. Now, almost ready – I await the emergence and flight. But it is essential for the creature to go through the tough process of breaking through the chrysalis. Through that process blood is pumped through the creature preparing it for flight. If someone cuts open the chrysalis, the butterfly does not make it. The emergence process is beginning…. and touch and play would be for me a way to pump that blood through this new creature that I have become through the pandemic…an essential process to stretch, strengthen, spread these wings and take flight into what is next for myself and culturally.
Modalities & practices this event is inspired by :
NVC (Non-Violent Communication), Power & Resistance Play, Conflict Transformation,
The Work (Byron Katie), Contact Improvisation, Authentic Movement,
Somatic mindfulness, BDSM, Roleplaying,
Ritual, Tantra, Kink…
- Building a diverse community with embodied, emotional, and erotic intelligence
- Deepening our culture of consent and accountability
- Creating the possibility to find greater freedom and deeper connections individually and as a group
- Finding greater freedom & deeper connections
- Creating permission to explore physical & emotional edges while simultaneously defining healthy boundaries.
- Bringing these communication tools into our creative art and performance making processes..