Northampton Underscore

Next community Underscores:
facilitated by 
Patrick Crowley
Saturday, Sept 29, 2018
$20-30 sliding scale (workstudy available)
Come at least 10 minutes early so you leave enough time to get here, to park, and to be ready to go!

The Underscore is a long-form dance improvisation structure developed by Nancy Stark Smith. It has been evolving since 1990 and is practiced all over the globe.
The Underscore is a vehicle for incorporating Contact Improvisation into a broader arena of improvisational dance practice; for developing greater ease dancing in spherical space—alone and with others; and for integrating kinesthetic and compositional concerns while improvising. It allows for a full spectrum of energetic and physical expressions, embodying a range of forms and changing states. Its practice is familiar yet unpredictable.

The practice progresses through a broad range of dynamic states, including long periods of very small, private, and quiet internal activity and other times of higher energy and interactive dancing.

There are 20+ phases of the score—each with a name and a graphic symbol—which create a general map for the dancers. Within that frame, dancers are free to create their own movements, dynamics, and relationships—with themselves, each other, the group, the music, and the environment. Each Underscore is unique, providing rich and often inspiring experiences of the human and artistic phenomena of dance improvisation.
The Underscore is generally not led with verbal cues, so the idea is that people "know" it and come together to share the practice. 

The GLOBAL UNDERSCORE is an annual event in which the Underscore is practiced simultaneously for a 4 hour period by people all over world near the summer/winter solstice (northern/southern hemisphere). There are 50+ sites. Claire Filmon proposed the event to Nancy in 2000 from a desire to connect dancers all around the planet to dance and to compose together in the moment and organized it until 2010. Nancy Hughes and Patrick Crowley have organized GUS since 2017.

To participate in an Underscore, one should have some experience with Contact Improvisation and attend a talk-through of the Underscore, which often takes about an hour.
~ text taken from Nancy Stark Smith's website

Specific info about the:
NORTHAMPTON (W. Massachusetts) 

The Northampton area Underscores are an intentional spaces facilitated by Nancy Stark Smith. (The summer Global Underscore [GUS] in the Northampton area is facilitated by Patrick Crowley, Sarah Young, and others. Nancy is often in Europe doing the GUS there.) These are different from other events, including Underscores in other places, in that they have particular parameters and are really not a public event.

They are open to people who have a firm base in CI, have an interest in improvisation/composition, and participate in at least one hour-long Underscore talk-through. Please keep these requirements in mind when talking to people about coming to the event and please refrain from making public announcements about it. Also plan to be on time to the event and stay for the whole time period. These Northampton/W. MA. Underscores are not led with verbal cues - the idea is that people "know" it and come together to share the practice.
For experienced contactors who don't know the Underscore and would like to attend, or for Underscorers who want a refresher, Patrick Crowley will do a "talk-through" before most Underscores (for $3-5 sliding scale). 

The Northampton Underscore cost is about $15-30 sliding scale.

If you desire to be on the email list, please email us about your CI, improvisation, and other experience and the reasons that you want to attend.


To study the Underscore (or other material) with Nancy, go to her workshops/events page.
To buy Nancy Stark Smith's book about work with a section about the Underscore: Caught Falling: A Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas
What is Contact Improvisation?

Patrick Crowley  •  617.320.9792  •  email

Integrative Bodywork & Massage
160 Main Street, Suite 9, Northampton, MA 01060   map