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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.


Info to come. Our CI teachers are busy co-creating this offering and we'll release it as soon as we hear back from their collective CI laboratory.

More details to come soon!

WORKSHOP 3 with Ben Bushell & Miriam Marler

The Underscore Unpacked!

Based on the Underscore founder Nancy Stark Smith’s ‘glyphs’ or symbols that represent phases of an improvisation score, this session will tease out some of the key elements or practices of a jam. We hope you’ll come away with more resources for self-practice, for connecting with others, and finally for appreciating the group body as the dance unfolds through space & time. Come along to deepen your experience of the upcoming Underscore, or to geek out on improvisation tools! And in case you’re wondering, you will have plenty of opportunity for experiential practice. 

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 is a passionate Acroyogi who started her Acro journey in 2011 in Te Anau NZ.  Taught by International Acroyoga instructors Jason and Chelsey Magness, co-founders of Yoga Slackers,  Jooske ‘s love was awakened. Since then she has attended further training with them as well as other Acro teachers in Aotearoa, the US and in her native country of the Netherlands. In the US she attended Acroversity and Divine Play (2017) and recently travelled in combination with visiting family to the Dutch Acrobatic Convention 2018.

Her teaching is a combination of different practices and styles of movement that Jooske has worked with over the years. Jooske has been part of creating and performing at events such as 2017 Fragments of a Dream, 2018 Dunedin Fringe Festival The Hands That Bind Us, 2018 The Mullet Festival, 2019 Strork/DANZ at the Dunedin Fringe Festival. Jooske runs a therapeutic clinic from home, In-Spiral, and is part of the Embodiment Collective - a holistic collective where she offers massage and energy work to support people reconnecting with their body, mind and spirit.



Ben’s passion for CI is rooted in his endless curiosity in liberated playful and connected movement. Ben loves leaning into impermanence, and travelling the feedback loops to distant places. Melting into an underscore is an adventure and nourishment…​

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