In Touch


 with Marielle Gerke & Dolores Dewhurst-Marks

Waterdance Tanja


From water to land ...

In this one week journey we explore movement and touch in water and on land. With and without partners we practice somatic awareness, explore developmental and evolutionary movement patterns and wonder how that informs our Contact Improvisation dances in different environments.

Evolutionary and developmentally we are all coming from the water. The water in our bodies makes up to 70 % of our body weight and also 70 % of the planet is covered with water. So, water plays an important role in our life. Going back to the water in a somatic awareness and dance context can help us to reconnect to this element, to its qualities, its sensations and can enrich and inspire our movement experience.

For us, the richest inspirations from moving and being moved in water is remembering softness and permeability in the body as well as three-dimensionality, slowness, lightness and effortless flow. Being surrounded by water to me is very comforting and healing.

In the water classes of the journey we will first make ourselves familiar with the natural environment of the beach and the ocean. We take some time to hang out and move on the beach and then slowly transition into the water. When we get into the ocean we let us being carried by the water and moved by the waves, dive in and out of the water, find comfort and relaxation in the wet surrounding and experience what the water does to our bodies. In groups of two or three people we explore some „floating“ and bodywork in the water – we drag each other through the water, gently push and pull our partners under water, carry, hug, squeeze, stretch, massage and just hold our partners. Then we will ask ourselves, how to transform this partner work into a little dance and how that dance can be informed by our Contact Improvisation practice on land. What works here in the water and what does not work? How can we communicate non-verbally in the water? How can we stay in touch? Can we give each other support and resistance? Sometimes moving closer to the shore and sometimes further away. After the work in couples we also explore dancing in the group and have the option to share contact with everybody in an open ocean-beach-jam.

In the studio classes of the journey, Contact Improvisation is the main form that we will explore with a strong emphasis on somatic awareness and elements from Body-Mind-Centering. Solo exploration, partner exercises, body work and time for dancing as well as for sharing will be the elements of the classes. We will explore how gravity effects our bodies in a waterless environment, spending time sensing our own body weight and compression in the loaded tissues while connecting to our support system – the earth. We will explore cellular awareness, breathing and the process of arrival on land and in the present moment. We focus on the organisation of the center of our bodies as well as on the spine. What movement options are available in those areas and how can we move through space with the least necessary effort? How can we integrate the softness, permeability, three-dimensionality and the lightness from the water into our movement and also partnering on land? We wish for everybody to get a taste of this beautiful softness of our liquid bodies that is underlying all further motion. From there we eventually wish to develop more power, strength and density in order tomove through different levels in space and to be ready to take more weight. Being able to modulate the body tone organically at any time is one of the key tools for juicy, playful and effortless dances, in my experience.