This is my first time and want to know if there will be any support for me?
Welcome home! We try to offer a range of structured support systems, beyond our aim to build a culture of mutual support. A few examples are:
- Soothe&Care team – a guided group of individuals who make themselves available creating a network of support during the event. Team Soothe & Care is Supported and Coordinated by Robert Schicker
- Sharing Groups – on the opening circle we’ll have a moment to create pods, aka sharing groups, a buddy-system group who will meet, according to their needs (we have allotted 30min/day in schedule), throughout the event.
- Emergency Support Team – in case of an emergency!
- Couples’ Support
Do I need to know how to dance Contact Improvisation?
Although it is not necessary, we highly encourage any newcomers to Contact to take classes and go to jams before the festival to prepare yourself in understanding the essential physics and social dynamics of the form since this festival has its roots in the form. At the event we also offer a limited number of basic and more advanced CI workshops to ensure its continuity as one of our core practices.
Can I come late or leave early?
We ask that everyone arrive at the beginning and participate in the first two mandatory group sessions. Leaving early is highly discouraged and will not be reimbursed. If you do end up needing to leave early for some reason we would ask that you communicate with the organizers and let us know why and what the issue is.
What’s the easiest way to get to Earthdance?
- You can find directions & more travel information on Earthdance’s website: https://www.earthdance.net/visit/directions
- CARPOOLING: If you need a ride or can offer a ride please go to our rideboard spreadsheet. Please enter your ride info into this shared google doc. and refer there to organize your own sharing of rides. Please email the people that you think fit your needs directly or who you could offer a ride to. RIDESHARE LINK
- Feel free to contact the registrar if you need more support.
Is this a sex festival?
No, this event is not about sex or even sexuality. Expressions of sexuality, when consensual, are welcome as one of many authentic ways we have of connecting with ourselves, others and nature. If what you’re looking for is sex with no strings attached this is likely not your event. If you’re open to exploring intimacy with others in community and are open for this to include expressions of sexuality you’re likely to find a warm home with us.
Do you use radical or affirmative consent or how can I stay safe?
Consent comes in different shapes and sizes and different cultures approach the subject differently. We at Touch&Play all agree that this is a super important subject and that without it we cannot safely connect with others. We do not however claim to have the perfect solution as to what way of expressing or requesting consent works best for everyone. Rather than radical and affirmative consent’s attempt at risk reduction our focus is on the cultivation of individual and collective resilience. We believe there is fertile ground between “Hell Yes” and “Fuck No” and that attempt to divide the world into black and white risk missing the 49 shades of grey that lay between them. Our team as well as all other participants are there to help support your journey. At the same time we ask you to be responsible for your own well being and comfort. We do this knowing that this, according to identity and culture, will be easier for some than for others. To make sure that everyone is familiar with and has a chance to practice the more embodied approach to consent that we cultivate, the first two mandatory group sessions are geared towards this. If after reading this you feel you would like more clarity to be sure that you would feel safe with us please feel free to reach out (contact at touchandplay dot org)
What if I have a history of sexual or physical trauma? Can I come and will there be support?
- On the first day we all learn about “safe words,” which provide an easy way to communicate if someone is experiencing discomfort and if they want to slow down or stop. Safe words give us an opportunity to move at the pace of presence, or the speed of trust.
- You can always opt out of an experience you don’t want to be in. You can witness in a workshop if participating isn’t what you want to do.
- If you’re looking for a place to heal with a focus on past experiences this event is not designed for that. You will likely thrive in a different container.
- If you are interested in being around people who are exploring intimacy and practicing the following skills, you will likely love it here!
- Identifying what you want (specifically around touch and intention) and asking for it
- Noticing early stages of discomfort, fight, flight, or freeze and speaking up
- Hearing and receiving challenging feedback without taking it personally
- Recognizing when you want to be right and shifting your attention anyway to what you can learn in this situation
- On the first day we all learn and practice these 8 Steps to Creating the Intimate Explorations You Love. These include “Are you clear and present to make aligned choices in this moment?” and “What would you like for integration?” The culture of the festival supports people to ask themselves these questions and to practice speaking the answers before initiating intimate connections.
- If you come and you find yourself in a fight, flight, or freeze response. We have a Soothe&Care team – a guided group of individuals who make themselves available creating a network of support during the event. Team Soothe & Care is Supported and Coordinated by Robert Schicker
What If I’m not interested in having sex with any one at the event?
There is absolutely no pressure or expectation to be sexual at all. This festival is oriented around somatic practices and communication techniques that can enhance intimacy and at the core consent is always paramount. This means you have agency at all times and get to choose how are you share space and time with others. This may include sexuality but there are so many other ways to share ourselves and discover connections.
I’m carrying an active STD can I still participate in the event?
First, to reiterate, there is no need or expectation to be sexual at this festival. If you do choose to be sexual we advocate clear honest communication about your sexual health. We do encourage participants to get tested before coming to the festival so that you have accurate information about your body if and when you choose to be sexually intimate. There are a few optional nude group activities such as “Liquid Love” which, if you do have an STD, we advise keeping underpants,swimsuit or other layer on for the safety of the group.
What happens if someone steps over my boundaries?
During our lifetime others will hurt us and we will undoubtedly hurt others. Most of the times this happens by accident and without ill will. Depending on the severity and intentional/non-intentional nature of the situation each case is handled differently. We train a Soothe & Care team who can be called upon for support who will be identifiable by bracelets worn throughout the event. We also have a team of varied health proffesionals who volunteer their services in cases of emergencies. In rare extreme cases we would call upon outside help and/or ask anyone who compromises safety in an egregious way to leave the event.
What if I’m in a monogamous relationship and my partner doesn’t want to come?
There is a diversity of relationship styles represented at the festival including monogamy. People come with or without their partners. Either way it’s important to have clear communication with your partner and clear agreements about physical, emotional and sexual boundaries during the event (and always 🙂
How do I create agreements with my partner(s)?
Here’s a guide for Clarifying Agreements Before You Go Out To Play
What are the demographics of the festival?
In 2018, we had 138 people who self-identified as (please note some checked off more than one):
Bisexual 46% (59)
Heterosexual 39% (50)
Questioning or unsure 11% (14)
Queer 8% (9)
Pansexual 8% (9)
Gay/Lesbian 5% (6)
Female 46% (61)
Male 42% (56)
Non-Binary 16% (21)
White 82% (107)
Hispanic 8% (9)
Black 8% (9)
Asian 6% (7)
Indian 2% (3)
Arab 2% (3)
Native American 1.5% (2)
Is this a white space?
- This space intends to center the voices and teachings of those who are a minority (people of color, trans, queer) or are actively de-centering white privilege and supremacy. Many of our offerings last year focused on interrupting racism, grief ritual to honor our history and ancestors, social currency, reconnecting with the land, acknowledging who has come before us, raising awareness of power dynamics and building a community skillset around cultural curiosity and humility.
- Our leadership team of 14 last year had more diversity than our festival as a whole.
- Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual 14% (2)
Queer 86% (12)
- Gender Identity
Female 43% (6)
Male 29% (4)
Non-Binary 29% (4)
- Racial Identity
White 71% (10)
POC 29% (4)
- Inclusivity is about more than the identities of the people coming, it’s about “Transforming the Culture of Whiteness in Dance and Sexuality Communities.” You can read the chapter about our 9 steps written by our inclusivity innovator, Zahava Griss, in the anthology, Sacred Body Wisdom.
- The work is not done, we are moving towards a shared vision of inclusivity. We welcome anyone who wants to be part of shifting from a culture of separation to a culture of interconnectedness by dismantling racism, the gender binary, heterosexism, and other limitations to who we are and how we love. Teacher recommendations appreciated!
I have physical limits. May I attend? What kind of support might be available for me?
Thank you for your courage to explore a festival of dancers. We would like to support you in being here and partnering with your body’s wisdom and limits. Please email Béu our registrar to let us know what might make it possible for you to join us. We are happy to support you with looking at logistic possibilities. We can also support you in clarifying what you’d love others to know about your body and abilities.
We ask that everyone participate in an intensive each morning. If you decide to join us let’s look together at which intensive will best serve you and anything the teacher needs to know in advance.
I identify as neuro-divergent and want to know if there will be any support for me
We have had several participants and teachers who have neurological differences such as but not limited to autism, dyslexia, or ADHD. Given the level of non verbal communication in the contact improv community and intentional communication in the kink scene we have noticed that many people who are neuro-divergent gravitate to our festival. There is a lot of permission and respect for connecting outside the “norm.” The better you know what will support you and can specifically make requests, the more likely we will all have a successful experience together. Please email us to let us know if you have further questions.
How can I contribute or support the event?
- There are a couple of ways to support this event. One is when you register you can pay a higher amount on the sliding scale which helps offset lower income participants who need to pay on the lower end.
- We also have a diversity scholarship which you can contribute to here: https://www.gofundme.com/a74uy-touchampplay-diversity-fundraiser
Last year we raised enough money to fund eight participants! This year we hope to raise enough for twice that many.
- Another way you can help is to volunteer your services for set up, take down, or various needs that we have during and before the event. If you would like to volunteer email Béu here: registrar
I’m having financial difficulties is it still possible for me to participate?
Yes! There are a couple of ways.
- We have a diversity scholarship available for POC, LGBTQ and mixed ability participants that you can apply for here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSejWSZJX6UpMBuLKg_B3596tz4ygiZXfdqWNpDQr_SV-6zP8A/viewform?usp=sf_link
- If you would really like to participate but are unable to make the suggested financial contribution, we have a limited number of work exchange positions available. Please fill out the Work-study form HERE or for questions email our volunteer coordinator: Béu Tornaghi: registrar
What are the sleeping arrangements like?
T&P Earthdance offers housing in two buildings, as well as camping. The Gratitude (Guest) Lodge/Dormitory at 262 Prospect St (right next door to Earthdance) and 9 Mountain at 9 Mountain street – which turns out to be just across the lawn. To stay at 9 Mountain you have to make arrangements with them directly by contacting Robyn O’Brien, and register with us as a commuter.
- Gratitude Lodge – Beds are available on a first come first served basis. Rooms can be found on the 1st and 2nd floors as well as in the basement. Double beds are for two adults. There will be signs on each dorm-room door to delineate boundaries and norms for that room – please read the signs so that you are familiar and agreeing to the norms of that room culture you plan to sleep in (ie: quiet/Non-sexy – or- open to consensual sexuality)
- Camping – Participants can set up their tents to the left of the Dorm or to the right of the Farmhouse on the lawn and along the trail in the forest behind the Farmhouse. Participants should bring their own tents if you plan on camping. Please come prepared with extra tarps, etc. in the case of heavy rain!
I have special dietary needs, what’s the food like and will I be able to get these met?
We offer a mostly vegetarian, as local and organic as possible, diverse buffet-style meals – and we aim to cater to everyone’s needs, so let us know what you need and we’ll check in with our Chef and we’ll get back to you – I’m confident you can feel supported with your food needs.
Will there be photography at the event and can I take pictures?
Because of the unique atmosphere at Touch&Play Project events and the subjects that are addressed, we ask you to moderate your photography and video recording. Please only take images of the surroundings, yourself and those that have given you explicit permission to be included. There may be official event photographers and/or film-makers for documentation purposes and participants will be invited to indicate if they prefer not to be included in any of the material that is taken. We will publish any photos and videos for review by the participants during which any person may request the removal of material in which they appear. All material (audio-visual or other) recorded during a Touch&Play Project event falls under the following creative commons license: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Material may be published on the internet and could be used in the promotion of future events. The Touch&Play organizers can in no case be held liable for damages resulting from the recording and or publishing of audio-visual material relating to the event.