Think Gravity Dance Tank: Celebrating & Reckoning with Contact Improvisation and Performance was an intergenerational research gathering in Boulder Colorado from March 21-26, 2022.


The project honored the 50th anniversary of contact improvisation (CI) during a pivotal moment in the context of COVID-19 and racial justice uprisings. Considering the gravity of these times, Think Gravity Dance Tank offered an embodied exchange to recognize the intersection of our bodies, ancestries, and identities as a mode of mobilizing dance futurism in the realm of CI.  We asked: what is in-between and underneath the reckoning and the celebrating?


CI is an evolving dance form that emerged in the United States from the social, political, and avant-garde movements in the late 1950s and 1960s. Canonized as beginning in 1972, CI has generally been historicized through a lens of whiteness and heteronormativity that is smoothed over by universal concepts of the body. Think Gravity Dance Tank countered this narrative and brought unspoken histories to the forefront.


Think Gravity Dance Tank was conceived as a rhizomatic container. The lead artists were asked to co-curate by inviting a collaborating dance artist, someone engaged in the convergence of CI practice with choreography, performance, and dance activism, to be part of the week-long gathering. Undergraduate dance artists were invited as visionaries for the potential future of the form. The local community was invited to performances and selected open workshops. The week included practice, dialogue, workshops, and performances.


We welcome you to dive into these culminating archives from the week-long gathering.


—Anya Cloud & Karen Schaffman, Project Directors


Lead Dance Artists: 

Makisig Akin, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Darrell Jones, and Karen Nelson


Collaborating Dance Artists:

jose e. abad, Jun Akiyama, Elle Hong, Ryuta Iwashita, and Eryn Rosenthal


Undergraduate Dance Artists: 

Minnie Atkins, Daniel Grove, Ray Halmrast, Skyla Miles, Caiser LeBoss Owens, Lesly Rodriguez, and Strina Ross


Documentation Director:

Tara Knight



Tim Richards


Project Directors and Producers:

Anya Cloud and Karen Schaffman