Important GUS info

Global Underscore (GUS) 2019

Saturday, June 22, 2019: 10:00 am–2:00 pm EST (UTC-04:00)

We have various costs for GUS, including making the NEW WEBSITE!
Please “like” the Global Underscore Facebook page
Global Underscore
Wherever you are, whatever time is your start time, below find the time schedule for our simultaneous practice.  We synchronizing with Nancy and Mike's Underscore in Lisbon, Portugal of 2-6 pm (GMT +1).


00:00 start time

00:45 preambulation

00:50 opening 5 min global Small Dance, facing the next site to the east according to the map

03:55 closing global Small Dance, facing the next site to the west according to the map

04:00 closing

(Note: you can start preambulating or Small Dancing earlier than specified, as long as you're doing it at the appointed time.)

Happy Dancing!



Here is the link to the Global Underscore 2013 survey to give info for your site:

pass it along if you know of anyone who wants to coordinate...

feel free to put them in touch with me directly!

happy dancing


Brandin Steffensen

10 Sites!

Hello all,

I'm excited to post the first 10 sites of the Global Underscore!

Engelthal, Germany

Buffalo, NY USA

Deerfield, MA USA

London UK

Madrid Spain

Kuang Salengor Malaysia

Sydney Australia

Brooklyn (NYC),  NY USA

Boulder, CO USA


Brandin Steffensen

The Underscore

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—usually between 3 and 4 hours—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 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 solstice (northern hemisphere). In 2012, there were 70+ 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.

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.

For more information, read the Underscore chapter in Nancy’s book: Caught Falling: The Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas, available through Contact Quarterly, 

Here is the first page, about the history of the Underscoreand the second page, the beginning phases/glyphs of the Underscore, excerpted from Caught Falling.

To study the Underscore (and other material) with Nancy, go to her workshops/events page

– text taken from writings by Nancy Stark Smith, created in collaboration with various Underscore groups