Next community Underscore:
Northampton, MA 01060
Please reserve a place
. Suggested donation $15-25.
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, 12+ connections, and 7 aspects of the score—each represented by a "glyph"—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 Northampton Underscores are facilitated by Nancy Stark Smith or by Patrick Crowley. They a focused space for dance where various awarenesses are explored. The Underscore is not led with verbal cues, so the idea is that people "know" it and come together to share the practice. Participants come on time and stay for the duration, which is either 3.5 or 4 hours. Underscores are open to people who have a firm base in Contact Improvisation (CI), have an interest in improvisation and composition, and participate in at least one hour-long Underscore talk-through. Please keep this in mind when talking to people about coming to the event and invite people personally, rather than making public announcements about it.
A talk-through of the Underscore often takes about an hour and are done before most Underscores (for $3-5 sliding scale for first time). Dancers are encouraged to come to many talk-throughs (free for repeat talk-throughs).
The Northampton Underscore cost is $15-25 sliding scale.
The GLOBAL UNDERSCORE (GUS) is an annual event in which the Underscore is practiced simultaneously for a 4-hour period by people all over the world near the summer solstice (northern hemisphere). There have been 60+ sites participating in GUS in recent years. 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. Nancy Hughes and Patrick Crowley have coordinated GUS since 2017 with Brandin Steffensen as an advisor. For the most recent news on the Global Underscore, go to: www.globalunderscore.com
To study the Underscore (or other material) more indepth with Nancy, go to her workshops/events page.