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Safety at Contact Improvisation jams (2006)

In terms of sheer physical safety, following the form brings safety in itself – by taking time to centre and ground yourself first; then by tuning in to your partner; following the point of contact rather than pushing it; staying relaxed, open and aware; turning the momentum of falls into rolls; and never holding on to your partner. I’ve only heard of one serious injury and that was more about the choice of dance surface.

With people working so closely in contact with each other, often total strangers, social safety is another important issue. The form itself confounds so many social conventions and sometimes the permission to exchange touch that is its premise can be abused. The bottom line is that you always have the choice whether or not to enter or continue a dance.

In this respect as in so many others contact is about taking responsibilty for your own experience and safety. However these choices are not always so easy to make in practice. The contact community needs to recognise this and consciously support individuals in that choice-making process. A step towards this would be to display a safety code at your public jam.

click here to view a sample as a PDF