Julija Melnik (Vilnius-Alsace) – Master of Science in Education with 15 years experience in dance pedagogy (from hip-hop dance to argentine tango, from improvisation to sacred dervish dances), teacher of Samara Yoga, instructor of Choreographic Samadeva, Lou Yong Tao Te Qi and Gurdfjieff Dances, constellator by method of Idris Lahore. Since 2006 she has been developing and teaching contact improvisation (CI) in Baltic and in many other countries, including teaching at various CI festivals and conferences, and collaborating with various educational and artistic institutions.
She also explores other forms of improvisation and performance, and her search for movement is informed by practices of meditation, bodywork, dance therapy, Feldenkrais and Rosen method.
Julija studied contact improvisation with CI pioneers – Steve Paxton and Nancy Stark Smith, as well as Nina Martin, Andrew Harwood, Angela Donii, Joerg Hassman, Charlie Morrissey, Adrian Russi and many others. Improvisation and performances she also studied with Julyen Hamilton, Daniel Lepkoff, Nita Little, Alexander Girshon, Keith Hennessy, David Zombrano and others.
Dancing as a Human Being
Decide. Straighten up. Listen. Trust.
,,In the duet form, when you attune together, not with any ambition to get the dance started but really taking a moment to just connect <…> there could be a dance of such feathery lightness and such absolute security, absolutely beautiful.” – S.Paxton
There are many reasons for dancing. And many limiting beliefs for not dancing.
What if the only reason, the only permission for dancing is just the fact that you are a Human? We will travel through the evolution of the movement till we find the key to our full movement expression.
Contact improvisation requires not only the physical technique, but also training of attention. Thus we will train the ,,being” till we get the access to what is present in the moment in us and around us.
And finally, maybe the most important point – cultivation of quality relation with others. How do we connect? How to create the conditions for mutually satisfying dance?
Come to see, expand and transcend your own limits!
“Dancing is not just getting up painlessly, like a leaf blown on the wind; dancing is when you tear your heart out and rise out of your body to hang suspended between the worlds.” – Rumi
Gulshat Idilguzhina (Russia) – ,,I am 31 and I am from a region near the Ural mountains. Since my childhood I dreamt to travel around the world and dance. And I think I made this two dreams true. I love dancing, I am sure as many of you whenever I hear the music, my body starts moving and responding to the music.
Dancing is a special poetic body language, beautiful expression and grace.
When I studied at school I would dance folk dance, mainly Bashkir folk dance, which mostly has smooth, slow and plastic movements on kurai music (it is a bashkir flute) to reflect the same time outer modesty and calm and intensity of the inner world. At 18 years old I switched to Oriental Belly dancing and kept that on for years.
In 2013 I became an instructor of Samara yoga (France), that promoted a lot to awaken my body and get a deep contact with it, to bring life into my movements, which is essential in dancing. So I think it is a privilege to love dancing, even without any certain techniques, just allowing our inner world and soul to be expressed in a beautiful, harmonious and creative way.”
Ruslan Baranov and Marina Baranovy (Ukraine). Ruslan Baranov – dancer, teacher, choreographer, performer, creator of everything new. It was 1999 and I was the first man from Ukraine, who got to know and felt in love with contact improvisation. And it was very-very big temptation to become the first man, who will bring CI to the country, who will open minds and set an opportunity for something really unique to emerge.
And one more reason – we all know it – when you fall in love with CI and want to practice it at home – you need people to do it together :))) that’s how it spread over the world :))
So this was my way – two my beloved teachers: Eszter Gal and Benno Voorham built a basement of my knowledge and I started to teach. Being a professional dancer for all my life and having reach experience of performing in famous Ukrainian and foreign dance companies, creating dance pieces and performances gave me a possibility to find my personal style of dancing CI, teaching it and understanding its philosophy”
During last 20 years Ruslan has being teaching in Kiev, in Ukrainian cities and abroad, organizing festivals – International CI festival in Kiev, winter CI festival, summer contact session, festival of performing dance improvisation PushOk and festival of creating dance video Dance Pavilion
Ruslan and Marina Baranovy – is a creative duo for last 7 years. “Everything I know – I know from him”, she says. And now we perform together, organize together, dig deeper in what is CI and what it give to the world together. To share the most valuable insights and states, to create the space for other people to experience it – is a very big pleasure and source of inspiration.
Live the Moment
Recently, we have been very inspired by the idea of finding the beauty. From the very beginning, we seem to be laying the route of our study in dance, or we can call it the direction on the road. This is a certain mindset with which we approach our practice of contact improvisation. To look for something that we would like, on what we could hold our gaze, or with what we could stay longer, enjoy this moment, extend it, live, perhaps even remember. At first there won’t be many such moments. But over time, we will be able to train and sharpen our attention to every moment of our dance. And even if not in every, but at least in the many moments that previously seemed ordinary and unsightly to us, we can discern their value, uniqueness and beauty. And then our life, our dance, or our experience of what is happening will become much brighter, more colorful and happier.
And it is our constant practice to learn to enjoy life in dance right here and now, in every constantly changing moment.
Gabrielius Mackevicius (Vilnius)
”Around a decade I was practicing Aikido and haven’t learned it. Nevertheless I found many precious things: body, attention, sensitivity to some human behavior and insensitivity to other, the perfection of nature, some of my boundaries and common benefit to be in relation and to create.”
May the force be with you
During the class we’ll explore some Aikido principles and will integrate them into Contact Improvisation. We will see bodies as source of force which moves in various directions. We’ll search for the ways to affect that force, merge with it and change it’s direction.
Even though Aikido is a martial art, let’s prepare for peaceful and playful attitude towards ourselves and others. No surprise that fear constrains the body and mind, so trust, curiosity and positiveness will be the right satellites during the class.