a 3-week training
for dancers with experience in contact improvisation
(intermediate level)

plus Mike Vargas and other guests

January 8 – 27, 2017

at Earthdance retreat center (and environs)
western Massachusetts, USA

Contact Improvisation
Solo Training • Changing States
Composition • Performance
Improvisation Scores • The Underscore

The January 2017 training

is a residential workshop specifically designed to develop our practice of contact improvisation (CI) and other related improvised dance work. The workshop will include physical training, improvisation and composition scores, listening practice, jamming, watching, discussion, feedback, labs, contemplative practice, and performance studies. Please note that this is not a purely CI workshop.

In solo, duet, trio, and group work; in and out of contact; in silence and with live music; we will move toward greater clarity and depth in our dancing and observing.

Please come prepared physically and psychologically for intensive practice (and a bit of fun!).

About the January workshop


Monday–Friday, 10 am to 5:30/6 pm
There will be some early morning, evening, and weekend activities.

Workshop involvement is full-time–with the exception of some weekend time–so please don’t expect to schedule other things during the workshop.

All participants must attend the workshop for the full 3 weeks and live at Earthdance (no commuting). This means you must arrive and depart within the established times (below); there are no exceptions.


At Earthdance, a beautiful dance retreat center located in Plainfield, Massachusetts, 35 minutes west of Northampton, MA, in the Berkshire Mountains, with two dance barns and a wood-fired sauna. We will also practice at an Aikido dojo in Florence/Northampton.

Who is eligible?

The January 2017 Workshop welcomes dancers who have intermediate-level experience in contact improvisation. Although levels in CI are difficult to assess, your CI practice should comfortably include: fluency with falling, rolling, weight taking and giving, being upside down, dancing with disorientation, following a point of contact, working with subtlety (and exertion), and improvising in physical contact. Minimum of 2 years CI experience suggested. Other background in dance and improvisation a plus.


The workshop will be conducted in English. Fluency in the English language required. (Verbal exchange is an important part of the workshop!)

To Register

Please read this entire description page and then fill out the online application form (see below) outlining your background and skill level in contact improvisation, dance, and improvisation; if and where/when you’ve worked with Nancy; and your reasons for wanting to attend. Submit this form with your $160 deposit online or via postal mail. All applications must be approved by Nancy.

Limited space. Apply early (by September 15 is best).

Early Registration & Discount Deadline:
September 15, 2016
Generally by this date, the workshop has more applications than places, so please apply as early as possible for most favorable consideration.

Cost & information

Total workshop fee

(includes workshop tuition and Earthdance room/board)

$1,695–1,775 (sliding scale*) if application form and $160 deposit are received by September 15, 2016
Add $30 to above fees if application and deposit is received after September 15, 2016
Make Payment

*Sliding scale is a way for people to pay according to their ability.

General Guidelines

$1,735  Regular rate: employed but
economically challenged
$1,775  Economically comfortable: you feel
you can afford it (support the arts!)
$1,695  Student rate: economically challenged
students or unemployed

(Remember to add $30 to above fees if application and deposit are received after September 15, 2016.)

Fee details

The total workshop cost consists of two fees:
Workshop Tuition/Admin fee: $714-794 sliding scale
Earthdance Residency fee: $981 room, board, facility, studio.
All participants must be residential; no commuting.


9 hours of housework is required: 3 hours/week for 3 weeks.


A limited amount of workstudy is available.  There are a few workstudy positions ($100 for 8.5 hours of work) done during the workshop. This is in addition to chore hours.

We are sorry to say that we do not have any extra workstudy for work done before or after the workshop. People who do the $100 workstudy will pay the full amount and be reimbursed for the workstudy at the end of the workshop.

Nancy Stark Smith

Arrival & departure


Arrive Earthdance: Sunday, Jan. 8, 2–5 pm
Registration: 5 pm

First evening includes dinner and an optional public jam.

The latest times your flight should arrive:
3 pm Sunday from Bradley Airport (BDL) in Hartford, CT.
8:00 am Sunday from Logan Airport (BOS) in Boston, MA. (Maybe better to arrive Saturday)
Saturday from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), JFK Airport (JFK), and Newark Airport (EWR) in New York, NY area.

(Please factor in that your plane may be late.)

You can arrive 1-2 days early (Jan 6 or 7), if you make a request. We recommend that you make this request before you book your airline ticket.


Depart Earthdance: Friday, Jan. 27, 3 pm
Do not plan to leave Earthdance before 3 pm.

Bus info for Departures
The earliest times your flight should depart:
6 pm Friday from Bradley Airport (BDL) in Hartford, CT.
12 am Saturday (best to depart Saturday daytime) from Logan Airport (BOS) in Boston, MA.
Saturday from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), JFK Airport (JFK), and Newark Airport (EWR) in New York, NY area.
You can leave Earthdance 1-2 days later (Jan 28 or 29), if you make a request. We recommend that you make this request before you book your airline ticket.



Directions to Earthdance:

Airports & Buses

(see arrival times & departure times above)

Bradley Airport (BDL) in Hartford, CT
This is the best and closest airport
(~1.5 hours from Earthdance)

New York, NY airports
(~1.5–2 hours train ride from airport to Manhattan NYC,
~4.5–5 hours bus trip from NYC to Northampton)

Boston Logan Airport (BOS) in Boston, MA
(~4 hour bus trip to Northampton)

  • Peter Pan Bus leaves directly from Logan Airport to Northampton
  • Buses from BOS to Northampton

Rides to Earthdance from BDL or bus stations on Sunday, January 8

  • from Bradley Airport (BDL): $80.
    Flight must arrive by 3 pm.
  • from Northampton: $35. (Peter Pan Bus info)
    You must be in Northampton by 4 pm.
  • from Amherst (Hadley): $40. (Megabus info)
    You must be at bus stop by 4 pm.

(Please factor in that your plane may be late.)
As much as possible, ride costs will be shared by 2 or more participants.

  • Commercial cab rides to Earthdance: from BDL ($101), from Northampton ($57).

Contact Patrick as soon as possible to arrange rides.
Deadline: Dec. 15

During workshop: Travel to and from the in-town sites will be arranged through carpooling using participants’ cars (sharing expenses: $15–$20 per person).

Please bring your car, if at all possible! Thank you!

Winter weather

Nancy Stark Smith

Winter in New England is beautiful! It can get very cold, icy, and snowy. Average temps:  Low 17°F (-8°C); High 33°F (0°C). If you are coming from far away (especially those who don’t usually have cold winters), consider coming a few days early to acclimate to the time zone and weather. Come prepared: coat, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, house slippers!, hats, gloves, scarf/neck warmer, and boots. Think of dressing in layers, both for inside and outside.

Application & registration

Apply online and pay your $160 non-refundable deposit.
Early registration & discount deadline: September 15, 2016
(Deposit is non-refundable if you are accepted or if you drop out. If your application is not accepted or if you do not get in from the wait list, your deposit will be refunded minus a $30-50 service fee, depending on the amount of time spent with your application.)

Space is limited. Apply early. Applications must be approved before final confirmation will be sent. An email with more detailed info will be sent on acceptance.

To Apply: click below

Application closed
Nancy Stark Smith solo roll, Vancouver, B.C., 2005 | photo © Chris Randle
Nancy Stark Smith solo roll, Vancouver, B.C., 2005
photo © Chris Randle

More info

Contact: Patrick Crowley, workshop coordinator,
email (617) 320-9792; or Nancy, email (413) 586-8243

A project of Contact Collaborations