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Underscore Meeting
17-22nd September 2019

UnderScore Meeting

Portugal 17-22 September 2019 with Christine Mauch and Malcolm Manning

A six-day immersion in the world of the Underscore

This is an opportunity to dance contact improvisation and practice, study and develop how we play together in the container offered by Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore.

We welcome anyone already familiar with contact improvisation, both those who are already engaged with the Underscore or are curious to know more.

Ensemble Improvisation

The Underscore Meeting will be facilitated by Christine Mauch and Malcolm Manning who both began working with the Underscore during its formation 25 years ago.

Throughout the week, we will focus on developing our ability to dance together as a group – ensemble improvisation. We will do this by taking care of ourselves, each other and our environment.

We will also offer some practices from our own work that we consider supportive to the Underscore. There will be no teaching of CI technique.

The Menu

We will adjust the schedule as we go. We will offer:

  • at least one Underscore practice each day
  • open-ended jamming
  • practices to support the Underscore
  • facilitated talks
  • spontaneous self-organised activities
  • a silent day
  • an open evening

A constant theme will be how our quality of attention dancing can be brought into sharing the life together. We think of the week as offering an experience of improvisational community living.

More about the UnderScore

The Underscore was developed by Nancy Stark Smith as a container in which to practice and research dancing contact improvisation and other associated phenomena. It is a group score that we each negotiate as individuals.

The score is written in the form of a list of phases – each represented by a name and a graphic symbol. These days it is typically introduced by being talked through for about an hour before being danced.

Studying the Underscore with Nancy offers a different experience. There is the deepening into the practice that repetition over days or weeks offers. And the possibility to get to know and develop history with others in the group.

She also offers a number of supporting practices that allow us to study and sharpen particular behaviours that enhance the Underscore, and gives time to reflect on and share with each other about our our experiences.

As familiarity with each other and the Underscore grows, so does the ease and richness of each practice . The Underscore becomes less a sequential set of rules to de followed but more a container with a common language that allows us to research what we create together.

It is in this spirit that Christine and Malcolm offer this week of dancing with the Underscore.

More resources

Nancy Stark Smith on the Underscore from her web site
An Emergent Underscore: a conversation with Nancy Stark Smith, London
Global Underscore with Nancy Stark Smith
Malcolm Manning – 
Some thoughts on Nancy Stark Smith’s UnderScore
Malcolm ManningOn teaching Contact Improvisation

The Team

More information and Registration

For more information about where the meeting is happening – venue, accommodation, directions, etc – and details on how to register and reserve your place visit the Portugal Contact Festival web site.