Contact from the Ground up

A Contact Improv Fundamentals Series

​Contact from the Ground up is a 8 part contact improvisation fundamentals series exploring concepts, principles, skills and practices integral to the practice of Contact Improvisation.

The goal of the series is to give participants a foundation to help them to dance safely, feel more comfortable at jams and workshops, and support a rich and well balanced practice of contact improvisation.

The workshop is excellent for new dancers and experienced dancers who wish to deepen and continue their practice of contact improvisation.



With early bird registration

when registering per workshop



Save 33%

when registering
for 2 workshops (one quarter)!



Save 60%

when registering for the whole 8 session series (4 quarters)

2023 Dates

All workshops are 12-3pm on a Saturday. This gives a 1hr 15min break before the regular Saturday CI Jam, so you can eat and continue to explore the content from the workshop in the jam.


Quarter 1: Pathways from the Ground up

In the first quarter, we will be focusing on creating a strong foundation from which to explore the practice of contact improvisation (CI). We’ll develop a sense of trust in our own bodies, and understanding of its edges and potential and develop basic skills for moving with ourselves and others. This module aims to provide building blocks for movers to feel capable in their bodies and in the space, creating a strong foundation for coming into contact with other bodies. We will focus on: connection to self and somatic exploration, connecting to the floor as a primary partner, falling, movement pathways to support improvisation, elements of coming into contact, pouring weight, non-verbal communication, and entering into flight with a partner.

Quarter 2: Exploring Kinnection

In the second quarter, we will expand on the foundation we developed in the first quarter through the concepts of the Skinosophere and Kinosphere from Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore. We’ll deepen our capacities to be with and understand our own body and movement, and telescope our awareness and movement out into exploring moving in space. We will focus on the meditation of self-connection and presence, telescoping awareness to expand and focus our attention, proprioception and other senses beyond sight, tracking bodies in space, and modulating tone, speed, and other aspects of movement among each other.

Quarter 3: Developing Our Adaptability

In the third quarter, we’ll play with the foundations we developed in the first and second quarters through the exploration of improvisational scores to challenge and develop our skills and adaptability as well as practice common contact improvisation vocabulary including more fully developing weight-sharing with rolling point of contact and lift invitations. We’ll develop an understanding of improvisational scores and hone common contact improvisation vocabularies, and then expand and break out of those boxes to keep our dance fresh and truly improvisational.

Quarter 4: Dancing Beyond Ourselves

In the fourth quarter, we’ll continue practicing the individual skills we have developed over the first three quarters, but now more explicitly in the greater context of the group, and with more fluidity within the group. We’ll explore and play with elements of improvisational forms of Viewpoints and Emergent Improvisation as well as the CI Underscore to strengthen our sense of group ensemble and improvisational awareness of the group while continuing to practice and apply our fundamental CI skills.


Haw Creek Commons Sanctuary (directions)

About the Teacher

CJ O’Reilly

CJ O’Reilly started their movement exploration in the world of martial arts and extreme sports, and discovered their love for dance when they unraveled the puzzle of their own self consciousness while traveling in Mongolia. Since then dance has been a part of life. CJ discovered Contact Improvisation as a dance major at University of Colorado, Boulder, but moved to Inner Mongolia China soon after; unable to find other CI practitioners, they studied TaiJi and danced in nightclubs for years until the lack of shared practice become unbearable. In Beijing, CJ helped spawn the mainland Chinese Contact Improvisation scene by translating two workshops by Irene Sposetti & Johan Nilsson and held regular jams. In 2014, They moved to Asheville with a clear intention of learning to cultivate the culture and practice dance in community and began hosting Contact Improv classes and labs weekly. Other than Contact Improvisation and commonly associated modalities, CJ’s movement background is influenced by experience with: Taiji, Aikido, Capoeira Conditioning, Acro Yoga and partner acrobatics, partner dance forms including Swing, Blues and Tango, and a passion for the physics.