Important GUS info

Global Underscore (GUS) 2019

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

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Lisbon Harvest 2013


June 23, 2013
Lisbon, Portugal site
2–6 pm


Nancy Stark Smith, with Mike Vargas

We were 29 people (28 dancers plus Mike making music) in a corner studio on the 3rd floor of a factory building in Lisbon, Portugal—LX Factory—that has been converted to artist studios and businesses.  Hosted by Forum Dança, this was the third day of a 3-day workshop, culminating in the Global Underscore. Quite a packed 3 days!

The factory building was at the base of a bridge that looks exactly like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! Our studio looked up from almost under the bridge out to the orange spans. Across the river, we could see the towering arms-wide statue of Jesus that also overlooks Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. We were ready for the telescoping global connections!

I love Brandin’s beautiful opening image of the empty, ready studio in Brooklyn. (See that on the screen of the computer in our photo.) I also loved his Thin Red Line drawing sketching our zig zag east-west path around the globe (also posted on our wall). We faced Camas, Asturias, Spain on the opening stand and Rio de Janeiro, Brasil on the closing.

It was a very warm day in Lisbon, but our sweat kept us cool enough not to be uncomfortable.  Before 2pm, we were scurrying, as always, to get all the systems ready for our global rendezvous: signs written and posted, Mike’s instruments set up, Isabel setting up the Second Life link (see her in the photo), and the watermelon with mint and lemon (no limes to be found) cut up and ready for our final Sharing snack. 

Ready or not, the bell rang at 2 and we were, indeed, arriving—to ourselves, the space, the group, the event, and to all of you!  What a deep pleasure.

After last year’s supersized, tech-enhanced Global Underscore, I thought we might be giving it a rest this year. But Brandin was on fire to take it on and run with it, and we from Lisbon send HUGE THANKS to him, Nancy Hughes, and Lucy Mahler for making this powerfully positive and fascinating event happen again this year.

(typed into the computer during the Underscore)

How far are we?

All inclusive means you out there here and some of these movements were there too, where you are. Maybe a little inclination of the earth, when someone closed his/her eyes, could make a politician stumble just before he was…just before he was about to call his bank for another transition. and us in the silence of this music were we just about to make that kind of inclination for a breath? A second breath. Thank you all for this moment, we were many, can we get together again?  

open doors, open windows, open bodies

(transcribed as spoken during the Sharing; apologies for mistakes!)

liked streaming best, felt alive

enjoyed watching the projection, what makes people move, what attracts me- what attracts you, what connects and crosses, - what motivates you. enjoyed the peaceful space; everything is accepted –

 today felt very down to earth, sometimes it feels magical – today felt non- magical in a good way. felt normal and radical in a good way – was glad to be here.

amazing – wasn’t familiar with the u-score, but could relate to it. being able to notice all what had been discussed in the days before in the score was amazing

warmed up – when I do, it’s wonderful – awareness . confidence in one’s body and each other – had so much energy – more than I knew what to do with – difficult to find a resolution.

first time I did the underscore in Sao Paolo 2003 – felt lost then , felt completely different today – was special to do the u’score and CI  - events since then have connected to this moment and my involvement in the underscore.

Had a strong feeling that there is no way that our movements can not participate in the whole – felt overwhelmed

Second Life looked so alien, the most alien world, I couldn’t relate to it and was a bit freaked out by its strange relationship. The constant sound of humming bridge also alien, so that was the bridge between the Second Life and here.

A lot of things, different energies, awareness, moods, things happening. New foci. Brings a lot to the dance and the experience. Ease came from relaxing. A lot of generosity.

Quit drinking coffee 3 weeks ago. Today I drank two! Trying to, made it somehow, takes a long time for me to see the big picture, organize myself and the other, the relations.

These 3 days bring me much more awareness, not only about my body but to the group, the net we establish. Like finding little sparkles in the environment. An echo from one corner to here, feel the link between people who don’t know each other. It has been a pleasure.

A lot of fun. We created some kind of creature. Dance is a very true human activity, I relate to people through dance. Moments of stillness, subtle. Nice to look in people’s eyes, observe people.

Feeling grateful. Feeling of an aware trance. Observing everything – colour, sound, touch. Wanted to press Idiot Button but decided just to stay, it was incredible. Expectations, I forgot them. Felt oversensitive –emotional state. Almost cried in small dance. Grateful.

Injured, wasn’t going to participate but have learned to work with what I have. Thank you, I felt very supported by everyone I danced with, that they took really care. A very special sensation.

Isabel - I’m very thankful. For being able to bring Second Life; it’s not intrusive, optional.  I felt somewhere else as well as here. Spiritual connection has been the ideal. Makes it more literal. Not being too demanding. Recognizing it’s still not out of the world yet. It went very fast.

Went to see a performance and had a sensation of being a broken elastic – was in pain; no identity, didn’t want to come – I came -memories can be transformed because of the people, the room. other people’ s identity gave me identity back\

Too early to reflect – was an intense experience – today was the result of last three day’s build up – thanking the room – covering different types of rules- wanted to be active, passive, watching – felt like we were able to build a small organism . enjoyed the sensation.

Thank you. I was new to the group today - sometimes it’s not easy to let people in, but this group did.

was happy to shake off, to dance out , remembers quote:  ‘love is not necessarily sweet – you walk into a room and do anything you can – in his case was to sing really loud’. appreciated the radical approach, the fun – has to apologise – hasn’t been dancing for a long time – issue of negotiating private space – was in a vortex of my own space yesterday.  (reads passage he wrote).

The moment when we feel our weight… Jams feels like you have to do something – But here: to lie down, to feel your weight – no need to do anything- no frustrations, followed my own desires. my brain switched off. Second Life offered a different perspective. Observed contact upside down – suddenly CI made sense – people were flying.  You become an avatar.

Thank you for the 3 days and fantastic ending. During the score – because of the atmosphere, I noticed I had enough time and space to inhabit my own mind. ‘mystery’ concept from yesterday kept coming back.  Wanted to hold onto this state. noticed at some point – I was more present, noticed texture. people were very alive.

Nancy – I love that we’re allowed to look and see things which are going on –things feel private but can be directly observed – can see. there is such beauty in contrasting states going on alongside each other. Compositionally this was beautiful to see. Enjoyed the coincidence of the fact that we were facing Rio de Janeiro at the end and just outside the window, across the river, in the direction we were facing was the exact same ‘Jesus’ sculpture that stands looking over Rio! Plus someone had a Rio T-shirt on. [It’s explained that there is a protest today in Rio and many people in Lisbon are showing solidarity for that protest.] Enjoyed – after the resolution – the disengagement – we were still / fully present / various formations/ clear linkages – didn’t stop for a long time. we didn’t disengage for a very long time/  Tips of the iceberg moments.
Big thanks to Brandin Steffenson, with Nancy Hughes and Lucy Mahler, for coordinating this Global Underscore and to Forum Danca for continuing to exist and enable this meeting

Mike – thanks to us – we throw a great party

Stopped dancing for a while  -watching Mike was like watching somebody feeding a campfire.

Was great to have Mike’s support/ felt in contact with the music

I am happy to know that words and expressions exist that name what I feel when I dance CI.

Enjoyed the last three days/ felt lots of love in the beginning

Barcelona (Modified Jam Score)

English version below (not the best translation, but made ​​with love)

Spiral dance Centre. Calle l´ágila 9, Hostafrancs, Barcelona, España.
Organización: Natividad Insua (
Facilitadoras: Ester Momblant Ribas & Natividad Insua
Músico - bailarín: Rodrigo Amadeo Gallego  (

Video secuencia: Click aquí 

Agradecimiento especial a Andrea Nacach, Mariana Beltramini, Valentina Nacach Insua y a Leticia & Daniel Estévez !

Participantes: 22 personas, mas los colaboradores, facilitadoras y organización. Total, 30 bailarines.

Inicio pequeña danza mirando a Londres
Fin pequeña danza mirando a Bruselas 

Spiral Dance Centre. Nuestro espacio es una escuela de danza Mzouk (danza brasileña) que ha estado promoviendo el Contact Improvisación desde hace varios años.
La sala es espaciosa, con un techo alto, un espejo que cubre una de las paredes, telas de colores que cuelgan del techo (de las de acrobacia) y un piso de madera muy agradable.
Es un lugar confortable, que genera un ambiente muy agradable y  con una energía especial.

Agradecimiento a los "colaboradores espontáneos de siempre"  Antonio + David + Glòria + Mariana + Sandra  y a todos los que pusieron su granito de arena

Nuestra experiencia... 
La gente iba llegando poco a poco, todos muy emocionados y expectantes. Habían bailarines y estudiantes de CI, gente habitual de los Jam, gente “nueva”, gente que estaba de paso por Barcelona y quiso hacer el Underscore con nosotros, algunas otras profesoras y organizadoras de CI en Barcelona, algunas ausencias…
Dejaban su calzado en la entrada y sus cosas en una sala previa a donde haríamos el Underscore. En el espacio de danza, aún se ultimaban algunos detalles, terminábamos de colgar algunas hojas,  Rodrigo, el músico, se encontraba con sus instrumentos, los primeros bailarines calentaban, todo ya con una energía especial y en bastante silencio.
Poco a poco se fue formando un gran círculo y a la hora señalada (algunos minutos mas para los mas perezosos) se cerraron las puertas del estudio, estábamos por “comenzar”.
Ya en el círculo, dijimos nuestros nombres y cómo nos sentíamos… este fue el primer momento “sentido” que nos unió (con todo lo que pasaba, incluso alguno que aún estaba desconcentrado…) 
Explicamos parte de las etapas del Underscore, había gente con diferentes niveles de experiencia (y esto lo hizo muy interesante) bailarines profesionales, profesores, personas que habían aprendido el Underscore con Nancy Stark Smith, otros que lo habían practicado pero no con ella. Gente que practica Contact, pero nunca había tenido la oportunidad de vivir el Underscore, otros que casi no sabían cómo era….

Comenzamos haciendo nuestra primera “pequeña danza” y todo empezó a fluir… algunos se permitieron tomarse mas tiempo para la exploración personal, a otros se les notaba la ansiedad por “danzar”, pero poco a poco nos fuimos sintonizando, hasta llegar a estar realmente todos presentes.
Se dieron diversos y hermosos encuentros, nuestra conciencia se elevó hasta desdibujar el tiempo y el espacio, y transportarnos así, en un viaje conciente de danza compartida.         
Seguimos bailando, disfrutando y dejándonos nutrir por los otros bailarines… llegamos al infinito escuchándonos…


Me pierdo                               Pasión                                    Compartimos                                   
Me encuentro                                                                         Estamos
Re-encuentro                         Emoción                                  Sumamos
Descubro                                                                               Creamos
Sostengo                               Diversión                                 Transformamos
Me muevo                                                                             Concientizamos


….y llegamos a la pequeña danza de cara a Bruselas, y la energía era tal, que se vio pasar el sol de oeste a este….
Reflexionamos, nos contamos algunas sensaciones y Nos dijimos hasta pronto en un emotivo círculo final.


Gracias totales !!
Hasta el próximo solsticio! 

English version   Barcelona 2013 (Modified Jam Score)
Spiral Dance Studio. Street l'ágila 9 Hostafrancs, Barcelona, ​​Spain.
Organization: Natividad Insua (
Facilitators: Ester Momblant Ribas & Natividad Insua
Musician - Dancer: Amadeo Rodrigo Gallego (

Video sequence: Click aquí 

Special thanks to Andrea Nacach, Mariana Beltramini, Valentina Nacach Insua and Leticia & Daniel Estevez !
Participants: 22 people, more collaborators, facilitators and organization. Total, 30 dancers.

Facing London for opening small dance
Facing Brussels for closing small dance

Spiral Dance Studio. Our space, Spiral Dance studio, is an Mzouk dance school (Brazilian dance) which has been promoting Contact Improvisation for several years.
The studio is spacious,  with a high ceiling, a mirror covering one of the walls, colourful pieces of cloth hanging from the ceiling (for acrobatics), and a friendly wooden floor.
It is a comfortable place, which generates some very nice and special energy.

Appreciation "collaborators always spontaneous" Antonio + David + Gloria + Mariana + Sandra, and all of you who put their grain of sand
our experience….
People came little by little, all very excited and expectant. There were dancers and students of CI Jam normal people, people "new" people passing by Barcelona and wanted to practice Underscore us, some other teachers and organizers of CI in Barcelona, ​​some absences ...
They left their shoes at the entrance and stuff in a room where we would before the Underscore. In the space of dance, still finalizing some details, we ended up hanging up some leaves, Rodrigo, the musician, was with their instruments, the dancers warming, all in a special energy and silence.
Little by little did a big circle and the hour appointed doors were closed (some minutes more, for the more lazy), we were to "start". Already in circle, introduced ourselves and said how we were feeling ... It was the first moment we joined
We explain some stages of the underscore, there were people with different levels of experience (was interesting) professional dancers, teachers, people who had learned the Underscore with Nancy Stark Smith. Contact Practitioners, who had not lived the Underscore, others almost did not knew what it was ....
We started doing our first "small dance" and everything began to flow ... a few allowed themselves to take more time for personal exploration, others were anxious "dance", but little by little, we went tuned, to all be present.
Were there different and beautiful meetings, our consciousness increased to blur time and space, and transport us on a trip shared conscious dance. We dancing, enjoying and nourishing us with the other dancers  ...   listening arrived
to infinity

I lost                                       Passion                                    We share                                    
I find                                                                                      We are
Re-find                                   Emotion                                  We add
Discover                                                                                 We create
I hold                                        Fun                                  We transform
I move                                                                              we are conscientious

                                              we sweat

                                     LISTEN at ourselves 
.... and arrived at the small dance face to Brussels, and the energy was so great that we saw sun move from west to east .... We reflected, share feelings and in an emotional final circle, we said see you soon.

“ Total Thanks! ”  
See you next solstice!

Buenos Aires, Argentina 
modified jam 

Sunday morning.Cold, winter .... A shy sun coming through the window,
More people than expected. 70 dancers wishing to share this magical global practice ....
A lot of dancing, listening, respect, encounters, gazes.
Maps traveling from one end to the other end of the world.

In Buenos Aires the Global Underscore is already a looked forward to and celebrated date.
Skineferes overlapping ...
Zoom to the other side of the planet ..
Closing circle,
intense celebration!!

It was a very sensitive and fluid practice from start to finish.

Thanks to all!!

Let's keep in touch


Buenos Aires, Argentina 
jam modificado

Domingo a la mañana. Frío, invierno ....Un tímido  sol que penetraba por la ventana,
Más gente de lo que esperábamos, 70 danzarines con deseos de compartir esta mágica práctica global.... 
Mucha danza, escucha, respeto, encuentros, más  danza, miradas.
mapas que viajaban de una punta a la otra del mundo.

En Buenos Aires el Underscore Global ya es una cita esperada, deseada, celebrada.
Skineferas que se superponían ...
zoom hasta la otra orilla del planeta..
circulo de cierre, 
Una celebracion intensa!!

Fue una práctica muy sensible y fluida de principio a fin.
Seguimos en contacto!

Gracias a todos!!

Seguimos en contacto.

Sharing from Malaysia

Facing Perth from where we are :)
Photo by David Lim

This is the first time we participated in the Global Underscore event in Malaysia.  Many of us were new to the underscore, and some were even new to Contact Improvisation.  However, that did not stop us from being part of it.

Most of us traveled and arrived geographically on Friday night and meet one another at an open Jam. On the following day, we all arrived together as a group for the first time, both energetically and physically (at 9:30am) to begin a briefly guided through underscore practice.  Then after, we had a brief talk through of the score (it was an experiment in regards to prescriptive and descriptive aspects of the practice).  In the afternoon, we continue our practice with a silence Jam, having the underscore as the frame for the Jam.  The practice seems to stir some curiosity about "the score", which opened a few discussions that I had engaged with some.

On Sunday morning, we continued our practice and it is nice to observe (perhaps just my imagination) the curiosity that was stirred before was transformed from mental to physical, which makes me wonder about the prescriptive and descriptive aspects of the underscore practice.  Anyway, Sunday night, between 9-9:30pm, we each began our individual arrival, each embracing our body-time while adjusting it accordingly to the clock-time till we gather at 9:30pm in the studio.  At the Pow-Wow, we each randomly picked an aspect from a stack of 86 cards made from Mike Vargas 86 listening aspects.  And we began the Jam from 1-2 minutes of listening before we perambulate. We "survived" the Jam till 12:15am when we resolved.  After which we had a sharing.  At the sharing (as it has been a practice that I had experienced with Nancy), I opened an invitation for all to continue arriving energetically and physically for a week at 9:30am (which is our first arrival at Rimbun Dahan).  At around 1am, we were all at different places within the compound of Rimbun Dahan, and we did our individual small dance facing northwest to give the Global Underscore of 2013 a "." (fullstop).

Most people at the modified Jam are still at Rimbun Dahan for the Kuala Lumpur Contact Improv Festival which is right after the Global Underscore.   It is nice to know that I could still arrive physically and energetically with them even though I had depart geographically from the place.

The practice continues...till the next time :)
As always, the departure opens an opportunity for the next arrival.  :)
Winchester, UK-  Global Underscore

Such excitement and anticipation that Winchester could be part of this wonderful global movement!  Eleven of us participated,  Richard Parker, Yonat Nitzan Green, Ruth Bush, Suna Imre, Claudia Scaringella, Pav Grey, Helena Eflerova, Stacey Black, Gabriel Galvez, Bernice Fay and Erini Vavatsikon - facing Bristol for our Small Dance at the beginning and Spain (pictered above) at the end. We have been gradually building as a Contact Improvisation community here in Winchester so it felt very special that we could participate.   'Telescoping Awarenss' became a seed for our collective journey  - how wonderful to zoom in and out from minute details to global awarneness!

A real treat that we had Richard Parker playing live..especially his time spent on the drums and use of voice.  We had such a brilliant afternoon, thanks to everyone that made it

Sanford's Experimental Edit

Here's a little experimental video edit from the underscore footage. This particular edit is more about capturing some of the overall flow (and creating a specific scene for our film). Also it makes use of some voiceover freshly recorded on monday.

Of course this does not attempt to  capture the nuance and sweetness of the day, which was after all *very* sweet and rich. We'll be able to deploy other of the footage in various other ways in the film's overall arc.



Deerfield, Western MA  USA

impressions through a candid laptop (Brooklyn, NYC)

the space

the posted papers

( ‧ ) arriving physically

the glyphs


over my shoulder

55 sites connected with the thin red line
(I forgot to put the dots for Moscow and Odessa)

printed images from the on line map



stage right

Elise and Brandin

Brandin and Keely

Brandin and Keely (closer)

Lucy (surprised)

somewhere kinesphere ( I think )










after final resolution