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A Contact dance is is born when two or more people share a moving point of contact. Remaining in touch, but dancing independently, a third entity is created between them. This third entity is Contact Improvisation.

This year we are excited to offer a series of workshops that will develop upon the skills and exquisite beauty of contact improvisation as a movement resource. Creating an experience for every 'body', whether newbie or advanced, to cultivate more confidence and safety in this often 'edgy' practice.

We have a stellar team lined up to help facilitate this journey... let us introduce them to you.

WORKSHOP 1 with Ross Inness-McLeish

The Fundamentals of Contact Improvisation

Contact improvisation (C.I) is a wonderfully dynamic and open ended dance practice, rich in its capacity to cultivate present moment awareness, self discovery, intimacy, and play. In this workshop you will learn the basic movement vocabulary that will enable you to engage in this beautiful dance form with safety and ease. We shall explore themes such as consent and communication, initiating and departing contact, moving fluidity into and out of the floor, pouring and receiving weight, and lifting and falling techniques, culminating in an open jam space to allow your dance to unfold freely. This workshop is suitable for both absolute beginners and seasoned Contact dancers looking to revisit the basics in a fresh way.

WORKSHOP 2 with Jooske

Conscious Contact

In this workshop, we will tune-in to a deeper level of consciousness exploring the  nuances possible within interoceptive and proprioceptive feedback in contact improvisation.

Feel invited to explore your inner dialogue, explore your needs, and allow yourself to open to conscious new directions. 

Fostering inspiration, curiosity and self responsibility whilst exploring the deeper vulnerability, comfortability and possibility within your shared partner/ group dance. 

We aim to listen to the subtleties in between, support creative movement solutions & strengthen your ability to attune and express your authentic Yes and No.


Moving with choice, conscious contact aims to strengthen your confidence in exploring this partner/group dynamic. 

We will be drawing on the modalities of Contact Improvisation, Mindfulness, Breath, Body Awareness, Energy work & Somatic Practices.


Expect a conscious practice to support you in, finding your own diverse movement language, to express and listen to tactile boundaries, we attune to our own bodily cues and explore cues of others. 

Reflection, introspection and sharing of experiences is part of this workshop. 

Time to pause, land, harvest and integrate.

Conscious contact envisions to be a supportive clear and held space with a mild therapeutic touch.  This is an invitation to gently explore your edge.


Themes that we will aim to weave in and create space for in this workshop;

Fears alive around contact, non verbal/ tactile consent, attuned movement language to communicate boundaries, cues/ non verbal cues, consent, trust, clarity and quality of touch.

WORKSHOP 3 with Miriam Marler

The Underscore Unpacked!

The Underscore is a longform, silent, self-led Contact Improvisation jam practiced internationally. Founded by Nancy Stark Smith, symbols known as ‘glyphs’ represent phases of the improvisational score. Generally the structure involves arrival- solo attunement and coming into the body and space, moving outward and searching connection, engagement, and open score. Here we can come in and out of connection or find ourselves deep in engagement, witness the composition of the room or the group body unfolding. There are many facets of a score that can open up, each one is a unique experience. We end with reflection & harvest. The practice asks for self-responsibility, deep listening to your own cues and needs, and honouring of the group body and collective process. It is a kind of movement research and play that can be a deeply nourishing way to connect with self, others, and the group body. 

This Underscore workshop is an opportunity for you to dive deeply into the practice of Contact Improvisation, allowing you the space to weave together the skills and sensitivities gained in all the previous C.I workshops. It is an exploration, a celebration, and a culmination of all our previous work together in a unique and highly focused format.

You can select this workshop as your preference when you close this window and return to the festival line-up page




Ross Inness-McLeish has been a passionate Contact dancer since first encountering it in Melbourne nearly 10 years ago. In the last year Ross has been organising Contact related events in the Nelson/Tasman region, and regularly co-hosting and teaching a vibrant C.I community in Motueka.


He draws upon his background as a sports coach, educator, mindfulness practitioner and curious human animal to share safe and joyful pathways into the practice of C.I.

Miriam Marler photo.JPG


As I'm drawn more and more into the world of Mindful Somatic Therapy, the tools I bring from my history in movement & bodywork are being seen with new eyes as resources to support healing & regulation.


With a background in Contemporary Dance where choreography and performance were highlighted, I soon became deeply engaged in more process-based approaches like Somatic Movement practices, Contact Improvisation, Butoh and Body Weather.


Today, facilitation is my creative practice- I offer Conscious Dance, Somatics, & Contact Improvisation to the gorgeous community down in Otepoti Dunedin.



Jooske Honig came to the practice of contact improvisation through her passion of Acro yoga (since 2011). Over the years she developed a particular curiosity to explore transitions, fluidity in combination with alignment and quality of touch. With her background in Holistic massage and Mindful Somatic energy guidance she holds a gentle present space to explore. Based in Otepoti, Dunedin, where she has her own private practice In-Spiral.


She offers online and in person deeply transformative 1:1 Mindful somatic counseling, Holistic massage treatment, couple counselling, Attunement therapy groups and tuition in the field of creative intuitive development. Over the years she facilitated many workshops at festivals offering; Acroyoga, partner therapeutics, conscious contact. The development of conscious contact started together with Miriam Marler in 2018.

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