color, DVD, 22’ 45’’
script, narration: Steve Paxton
editing: Steve Christiansen, Lisa Nelson, Steve Paxton, Nancy Stark Smith
the film received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Judson Church Dance project z/ project from Bennington College w Vermont.
production: Videoda / Contact Collaborations, Inc.
The film traces eleven years of development of contact improvisation from Steve Paxton’s work Magnesium in 1972 through consecutive years of performances including Contact’s 11th Anniversary Concert Series at St. Mark’s Church in N.Y.C (1983). The shots, selected from the dozens of hours of recording display the consecutive changes by focusing on one dancer only, Nancy Stark Smith. In the beginning of the film Steve Paxton claims in his commentary: „When we get our mass in motion, we rise above the constant call of gravity toward the swinging, circling invitation of centrifugal force. Dancers ride and play these forces. Beyond Newton’s third law, we discover that for every action several equal and opposite reactions are possible. Therein lies an opportunity for improvisation.” The film reveals the democratic and egalitarian character of this form: stripped of the gender qualification of the roles, free of such elements as: the character, costume, set design. What is left are the people wearing loose sweatsuits, following in motion the shifting point of touch, which is the basis of improvisation.