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Buffalo Contact Improv Community addresses Me Too Movement with “Mindful Touch”

Author Jessica Helen Brant:

Center Dance, in partnership with members of the Western New York dance community, are addressing the controversies surrounding touch through a unique and niche dance form this March.

“Mission Improvable: Mindful Touch” is an educational-based dance program that aims to help corporations, professionals, community members and dancers of all levels understand the gravity of touch-specific encounters they are confronted with in their everyday lives.

The workshop, which will run from March 20-24 at 700 Main St. Wasteland Studios, will be facilitated by international choreographer and guest artist Olivier Besson from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, who will offer open discussion and solutions to this challenging issue. The performance will take place on Friday, March 22.

As a style of dance that has remained relatively niche over the course of its history, contact improvisation is becoming infectious inside Buffalo’s theater district among professional and recreational dancers. The art form, which is evolving in nature, is often referred to as “real time” composition. Two bodies share a mutual point of contact to create a dance together, with no outcome in sight.

“Contact improvisation is such an interesting form because people do it for different reasons. Sometimes it’s simply about having fun and just being playful. Participants discover ways to enter ‘art’ or embody the ‘sport like’ physicality of the form. This leads them to a mutually shared experience of intimacy and an expanded notion of intimacy built through trust. People crave that,” Besson said.

The workshop will conclude with a community performance. Dancers, poets and spoken word artists are encouraged to submit pieces that explore the theme, including tough topics such as physical attack, good and bad touch, how people need touch in their lives, how parents and children touch and ways people touch in an office environment.

For information about the workshop, to become a collaborator and sponsor or to learn more about the contact improvisation community, visit buffaloci.weebly.comor email Nancy Hughes, director of Center Dance, at

Center Dance is an emergence focusing upon movement, wellness and education. Through interdisciplinary performance, movement training, community outreach and the presentation of learning opportunities, Center Dance strives to increase Buffalo’s gravity as an international hub for creative exchange between dance artists.

Mindful Touch

Friday, March 22, 2019

Time: 7:30 pm

Place: 700 Main St. (6th floor)

Tickets: $15 at door

Talk afterwards 8:30-9pm

Brown Paper Tickets

For more information on Olivier Besson, click here.

Find Center Dance on Facebook.

Photos by Jim Bush