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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Harvest Estonia GUS 2017

Global Underscore 2017
Sat. June 24, 2017, 5–9pm
Viljandi, Estonia site

facilitator: Nancy Stark Smith
producer: Notafe festival
Jenni Ristkari (Finland), Toni Vaahtera (Finland), Lara Bogataj (Austria), Angela-Mara Florant (Germany), Kaisa Kukkonen (Finland), Evelyn Tuul (Estonia), Nadja Parssinen (Finland), Niina Rejeva (Estonia), Tina Smeja (Canada), Ursula Rummel (Estonia), Valeria Januškevitš (Estonia), Helina Karvak (Estonia), Caitlin Sidney (UK), Veronika Yakushevich (Finland), Sini Haapalinna (Finland), Marli Laur (Estonia), Elina Reineck (Finland), Kadri Noormets (Estonia), Katrin Kubber (Estonia), Merle Saarva (Estonia), Victoria Kovalenko (Finland/Ukraine), Barbara Dumont (France), Antti Marjakangas (Finland), Hari Choudhary (India), Anne Expert (France), Lidia Mertins (Estonia), Alexandre Westerlund (Sweden), Anne-Mari Anderson (Estonia), Tatjana Romanova (Estonia), Donats Rudzitiz (Latvia), Olga Trebuhina (Latvia), Helin Jürmann (Estonia), Marta Jamsja (Estonia), Janika Koppel (Estonia)

We were in a gorgeous big school assembly hall, with renovated wood floors, high ceilings, a balcony and high stage, freshly painted bluegray walls, and a deck outside that overlooked a beautiful grassy hillside with lovely wooden houses, sloping down to a large and always-inspiring lake. Big trees on the top edge of the hillside blew musically throughout the Underscore. Peonies are blossoming now and we brought several stalks of white ones into the corner of the space in a large Roman-looking urn that mysteriously showed up in the space during our workshop earlier in the week.

The maps and lists and Underscore pages were on the wall, snacks in the hall, art supplies in the corner by the peonies.

No one came to the computer for Real Time Harvest or Live Harvest during the dancing!!

Here is a live transcript of our Final Sharing Harvest and some photos.

Thank you, Nancy Hughes, Brandin Steffensen, and Patrick Crowley—our Global Underscore coordinators—for your work in bringing us together this year. It felt strong and more important than ever for us to connect worldwide, in real time, through our dancing.

It also felt important to acknowledge in this Global Underscore the call for more open discussion within the worldwide CI community about restrictions of freedom occurring in the world based on ethnicity, race, religion, nationality, gender, and other political and cultural conflicts. Can and should CI, Underscore, and Global Underscore flourish in an a-political framework? How and where do political and moral stances have a place in our CI, improvisation, somatics, and dance world and work?

Thank you, Penny Chivas and team in Glasgow, Scotland, for exposing and weathering the first harsh winds of dissent of your Global Underscore site (based on the fact of there being an Israeli site in the network!), and then thanks to Nicole Bindler, Dan Bear Davis, and Lailye Weidman for their work on a petition and video conference about political consciousness in the contact improvisation community. I look forward to a report in CQ on these conversations, perhaps in our CI Newsletter Online where there is a place for Comments.

That said, I felt again the power of our nonverbal practice— to be confronted, over and over again, with “difference” and contrast (styles, backgrounds, intentions) within the dance space, and cultivating the practice of finding generous, creative, inventive solutions. Hard work. Good humor.  Serious study. Joyful play. All at once. What a composition that is!

With love and appreciation to all who participated in this year’s Global Underscore.
xoxo Nancy SS

Our Sharing Harvest:
(transcribed live by Kaisa and Anne, thank you!)

Ienni (Finland)
I would love to sing a song
I am a bad singer
it stays in my mind:
All I want from you is forever to remember me as loving you

Angela-Mara (Germany)
Hamburg, Köln, where my friends are
feeling a lot of different emotions at the same time
Final Resolution hearing the sound of the rain and the sound of people drawing

Caitlin (UK)
I was low energy to start
I felt like I had too much
Someone came and I stayed with it
it was so fun
it was making me laugh

Hari (India)
I felt I lost myself many times
I found myself many times
getting lost in my body, getting lost in the trees
getting lost and finding myself again

Tatjana (?)
a long and multilayered journey
being with my body and the composition at the same time
it’s a game between recording the things around me and staying here in my body
it’s very subjective for me
When you meet a person, you meet a whole world. You can communicate and get know it through the movement. It is therapeutic.

Sini (Finland)
my uncle passed away this morning, so i was orientating globally, cosmically. Forms appearing and disappearing into light and then it didn’t make sense anymore. Final Resolution: light.

Alexander (Portugal/Sweden)
Many states today, another long jam, right now a feeling that I can’t really recall what happened. Was fun, intense, slow. Very absorbed in myself, sometimes out of my self. Always needing to let go to step into something next. There’s freedom there, I feel, with the work that we did. There’s a bigger picture, wholeness.

Barbara (France)
Gratitude. I wonder if grace and gratitude have a connection. I liked to see and give generosity, How dance is generated through movement. It’s about giving and taking. Was a good seed. I found humor in my dances. I went through very different phases, looking very close to the floor, trying to look very far, contrasts; looking around. What I find in underscore and dance, it’s the density of time because of the awareness of space. Time flies and at the same time it’s expanding, fullness. I was very nourished from the week, not only the workshop, but walking here, eating, swimming, watching the trees, flowers, the wind.

Victoria (Ukraine/Finland)
I feel very close to something super important of my life. CI came to my life one year ago; before, I did other things. I never saw dance as anything then. I wasn’t sure about it. Then contact happened and I met many great teachers and immediately all the puzzles came together. It’s something that can transform you so fast, compassion, practice, wisdom practice, presence, freedom. Combination of all this. I feel WOW. Thank you.

Nancy (USA)
I want to check in about time. I’m feeling the stress about the time. Could we break the rules and continue around the circle after standing, so everyone has time to talk?. [All agree.]

I was very intrigued with the open space gap we had after the Assembly. We had 10 minutes to do nothing (having finished all Assembly activities earlier than expected). I liked that—the unexpected and undesignated space.

I visited each site around the world as I stood facing Moscow in the Opening Stand. Starting with Moscow, I found myself hopping to each site (having almost memorized them from writing them several times for the wall), visiting for a moment, looking around, saying hi to some people I knew were there, then hopping to the next. Such a strong feeling knowing that they were actually there, right now, standing, facing the next place, and we were in this together.

Ann (France)
Being connected to the planet, learning to find my ease in the uncomfort and releasing into what welcomes me.

Kaisa (Finland)
I was struggling with changing states
feeling it has to come from me
it was hard to take any touch from outside
then somebody came to me
I relaxed to it and then it changed
I relaxed to that help somehow, and then it changed

Antti (Finland)
I had one of the most difficult beginnings ever
emotional outburst
this time confirmed to me the old truth
to trust the body, the movement, to find expression
movement is a way to regulate the emotional state
the emotiomal state became a compositional element
I was suffering and enjoying at the same time
not having any touch for the whole jam and finding a deeply connected dance at the end

Lara (Austria)
Sweat and tears are both salty.
I feel like cancelling the date with the earth/world.
Itchy feeling from inside, like i am scratching my skin from the inside.

Elina (Finland)
I had this moment outside, watching the trees, those impressively big trees. Suddenly I saw that each of them was dancing their small dance, then i came inside and had my small dance.

Nadja (Finland)
I have a lot to say. I enjoy the undescore, i wasn’t expecting anything. But in the warm up you said that just be in the space. I opened the movement to the body.

Each couples I had, I had really nice dances today, and I thought why it happened. There were many things. Most important was Arriving, that i could arrive before I start the dance. I also enjoyed, and the most important thing: trust the kinesthetic feelings of the body. Concreteness in the sensation of the body. Trust the body. I found this week, it has been like meditation, lots of confronting my own obstacles. Contrasts was happening this week. Most important thing was that when I had these processes. And allowing people to be how they are.

Janika (Estonia?)
I want to say thank you. Now I feel the pain in all my body, I needed it. That’s important moment for me, the small dance. It’s inspiring, all the people in the world. And i want to say about coincidence. There is a shoe holding the door open, like someone should come in.

Toni (Finland)
This nourished me:
the colour yellow, toes, flashes of smiles, dryness, the smell of sweat, cucumbers, friction, ignorance, pencils.
Concentrating on the things that nourish me.

Marta (?)
It wasn’t easy for me. I have done some CI, but i felt that i coudn’t open up. And the voices in my head were saying many things.

Lydia (?)
I said about losing myself to the information. I didn’t expect that today. I already found myself. About coincidence, there was one moment, when I found myself with three red shirts. I don’t know where they are right now. Was fun.

Merle (Estonia)
I feel today many beautiful moments, I surprised myself, because my body wanted to move very different ways, i just let it go and some moments I don’t understand what my body is doing. And there’s lots of energy and power and freedom. And after when I go out, then I understand better.

Helinä (Estonia)
When we did facing towards other coutries, it was interesting to feel the other place, almost seeing the backs from the other countries. And then here hearing the names and countries and people are still similar, from so many different places. Still doing the same stuff. I had a lot of different emotions, sensations and qualities; we started to laugh at the same time when the ear of the vase came off and it was interesting to feel that happening.

Kadri (Estonia)
I had skype with two friends of mine, from Brazil and Kyoto. When we started you were telling about the countries. Why didn’t i tell them! We could have met in the undescore. Small dance was very important and that it happened in the beginning and end.

Helin (Estonia? nonworkshop woman)
When people started this thing, I was very energetic, let’s go! But when we did the small dance, and we were facing Russia, then it changed. I didn’t know what i was doing, I was scratching the floor. That was that. I don’t know why, but i was really egoistic, i wanted just my personal space. I tried to connect with wall and it didn’t work. I sat in the corner and was painting, i took some pencils and was drawing. Many different emotions, when i watched everyone. Maybe one day i will show what i draw.

Anne-Mari (Estonia? nonworkshop)
Ci is always understanding and others better. Who am I and who are others, thinking of do I see who they are and who am I? And also curiosity. Freedom. Also i was thinking if there are some people who need more, stronger, impulse to move and other people need less impuls. Is it so, or? And with few people that we were moving like one body. Remembering my own body, I am here, trying to look it from one step away.

Tina (Montreal, Canada)
I was thinking, feeling, different states, and in the global sense I was curious about global and local, about permeability, sensing borders, boundaries, how sometimes there is free trade and sometimes heavily guarded borders. Seeing if it’s possible to sneak across the border and retreat when it’s too dangerous.

Danat (Riga, Latvia)
Thank you all of you. For that beautiful moment of healing. I think CI is very great open structure for ideas, movement. We are all very open and excited and fresh and open to the world. It’s a great thing nowadays.

Olga (Riga, Latvia)
It was my first underscore. I had many feelings. Feels like gravity, losing myself, trying to find some connections between CI, contemporary art, some ideas came to my mind, it’s so contemporary but at the same time searching for spirituality like ancient things.


The Amsterdam Jam Global Underscore, a little experiment

It has already been almost a month since the Global Underscore; sorry this contribution is so late. Also it is a pity we did not take pictures, but... we did turn the day into a successful little experiment in Amsterdam:

The G.U.S. worldwide timing happened to almost match our weekly Saturday Amsterdam Jam

So for this occasion we had extended the open jam time, to offer the possibility to dance a full Underscore in coexistence with this regular jam.

Everything about the Underscore was optional. It is important that one could still also just jam like any given Saturday; join and leave whenever you liked etc. ...because I believe the regularity of this jam to be the life-blood of CI in Amsterdam or even The Netherlands. Only we asked everyone who would be dancing at 19:15 to join in finding the “resolution of the whole room”, an ending of the dance, together…which worked out beautifully.

The class before the jam transistioned into the assembly. After this the talk-through was held in the hall-way, where an annotated version of the Underscore's phases/states and meetings hung on the wall, so that the regular jam could start undisturbed.
Inside the jam-space copies of the same A4's (but without the annotation) were hanging from slacked lines, like washing-lines or birthday-day decorations of the room: the Underscore's phases in red, the meetings in yellow, and the anytime all-of-the-time aspects were mixed in on blue A4's where the two lines crossed. It all in all looked joyously festive.
The centre of the room was marked with a piece of tape; from there the NESW directions were marked on the walls. (I myself really enjoyed this idea: it really gave me a feeling of global orientation in the jam, knowing / noticing when I moved North, or East ...toward Germany ...or toward the 'South-side' or the 'West-side' of the jam : )
Just off to the left of the West-A4, hung an A3 with information and pictures of the location of the Toronto GUS-site, taken from the internet ...Also thanks to this / internet I feel like Vivek Patel and I became distant friends on this day. Likewise, just to the right of the East-A4 hung information about the Leipzig site... I already knew Uli personally!

Amsterdam Jam G.U.S. dancers
In the “sharing/thanksgiving” at the end, we were still a big group: Amit Azaz, Joshua Pieter, Mischa van Dullemen, Katie-Lee Weille, Masta, Hannah Dye, Claudia Kratzheller, Alex Weinstein, Tim, Monika Forster, Diederik, Thijs Mullink, Michèle, Nora, Sebas van Wetten, Lieke van Heck, Kees Lemmens ...and many more Amsterdam Jam dancers were with us today but didn't have the time to stay for the whole Global Underscore. 
Central inside the studio hung the GUS Google-maps of the world and these 3 green A4 with the main timings of the day (which were also
hanging in the hall-way and in the "birthday-decoration" of the studio.) Everything was optional, only of those of us dancing at 19:15 in this
we did ask to all join the final resolution of the room.

Sharing ...fruits of the Harvest: In the sharing there was lots of praise for Nancy Stark Smith's Underscore. ... The dancers had enjoyed the overall focus it brought to the dancing, and that dances link together in it so that it didn’t feel like a collection of separate dances …the unity of experience and the experience of a unity.

Also the interesting interplay between an understanding at “word-level” and the physical experience of it all was mentioned explicitly as well as implicitly more than once...

Several dancers particularly recounted that powerful moment of the first ‘stand’ at 16:50, the first Small Dance of today’s Global UnderScore. ...NB Also this stand had been optional: it was certainly allowed, even welcome, to just jam on and stick with your momentary dance in the regular jam during these few minutes. Yet the stand did bring up and draw together everyone in the room and we were eventually all standing, facing generally East toward Leipzig Germany. (At the moment of the sharing, we of course hadn't yet faced Toronto too.) I really liked how one duet in front of everyone standing went on, for a long time in an extended lift. I could just imagine they would just dance on, and that would also have been beautiful, but then they found an even more beautiful way to transition: to standing, only just leaning together lightly still, and eventually each into their own individual small dance ...with the rest of the world.

If there is confluence of ideas: The Underscore and the Amsterdam Jam did confluence on the day of the GUS ! ...or maybe it was only a tangential moment: after all aren't we already, the other 51 weeks, and each year, the Saturday Amsterdam Jam. Anyway: it did feel to me like worlds were coming together, or like we came together with The World ...and some new dancers have been introduced to the idea of the Underscore.

My conclusion, based on my own experience and the sharing:

All in all it was clear that the Underscore had very much been experienced as an Underscore, and that the GUS had been experienced as a special occasion. This had been the intention, of course, yet it still pleasantly surprised me or relieved me: I had always thought one of the decisive factors of an Underscore feeling like an Underscore is that, differently from many jams, everyone is in it for the whole duration from the start to the end. It probably indeed is. And of course this group at the sharing had been. But it was good to find out that also through the coming and going of the other Amsterdam Jam dancers, we all had experienced very clearly an Underscore. ...I personally believe the (Global) Underscore this year could flourish better than ever in Amsterdam, thanks to this coalition with the weekly Saturday Amsterdam Jam: the jam had a brought more dancers together than it, or maybe either, would have done on its own …The regular jam as such had a positive influence on the Underscore, and I think also the other way around: more than a co-existence, it has been a successful symbiosis. Of course "symbiosis" or "confluence" is relative here: because we already were and still are, all of us, the Saturday Amsterdam Jam ! _________________________

It's been a joy again to occasionally do something extra with and around the Amsterdam Jam +It is inspiring me to do something such again in the future... Thank you all very much!

Kees Lemmens,  18th of July 2017

Flyer-fronts of the four "Amsterdam 4-day CI weekends", as organised around the Saturday Amsterdam Jam between 2013 and 2016. [Besides these also smaller things such as Christmas & New Year Jams were organised around this jam, and a 12:00-24:00 experimental jam-plus-workshop-Sunday for which the CI-community and some teachers from Brussels/Belgium were invited in 2014.] ... Hopefully another, similar but different, international event can be organised around the Amsterdam Saturday Jam again soon: probably in 2018


GUS Vienna 2017 - Harvest

GUS Vienna 2017

Angela Püskül – AT
Ina Sattlegger – AT
Judit Keri – HU/AT
Julia Pointner – AT
Dany Rossi – AT
M.T. - AT
Georg Maché – AT
Lucia Schmid – AT
Sebastian Schubert – AT

Harvest (transcribed by Lucia)

Doing the small dance in the direction of West I was a lot more relaxed an silent than facing East. Doing the Underscore I´m focused while dancing. I enjoyed a lot that we had so much space (we were only a few people in the space this time). I felt being part of and embeded in the group and I felt being part of something bigger and greater.

Due to the hot temperature (more than 30 degrees) and seeing people moving very slowly I got the impression of slow motion pictures. It was a special atmosphere. The sounds coming in through the open windows (voices of talking people, children, birds, ...) and the wind contributed to this athmosphere. I really like the room we're in, it feels very pleasant.

Dancing the small dance I asked myself: how small can the movement be? how slow can the movement be? The small dance was a helpful and valuable tool throughout this underscore.
I remember using the "idiot button" in a similar way several years ago.... The underscore brings more consciousness for the space, the whole group and the movements and movement-themes of one are material for the dance of others

I was thankful/grateful for the movement of others in the space. I wasn´t actually moving for a long time; The underscore creates consciousness for the group, I was in touch with everyone at least once during this underscore - via overlapping kinespheres, dancing, watching.... I experienced zooming in very deeply and zooming out very far. For me it was so essential and important to hear and learn about „the gap“ many years ago - it made me a lot more safe to know about "place".

I thought the time structure would be too long for me, but actually the time passed quickly for me. I came here to find out more about the underscore because from earlier experiences I felt there are more limitations to my dancing within the underscore than on „normal“ jams. This time I experienced that the underscore opened up more possibilities for improvisation and I saw offers/deals also in the direction of performative ways... I got more consciousness of the group, of colours and compositions.
I liked the experience and I want to do the underscore again.

The structure of the underscore helps to get more in contact with myself; the structure supports this in a very smooth way... when you are more at home inside yourself and in contact with yourself it also leads you to being more conscious in the space and being aware of the group. the dance becomes more specific, indiviual and vivid/lively.

I saw beautiful pictures when was like watching a performance. I had nourishing dances and I felt my energy getting less during the underscore. I took this situation as an exercise to stay present where I am and how I am. Finally the time passed quicker than I thought it would.

We are practising and dancing contact improvisation regularly in this room since 1990. The underscore, the commitment for a common structure, gives a chance to experience the group...the group is developing/arising together... it´s not the underscore that is doing this, it is us when we agree and commit on working on something is something natural and we didn´t prevent it from happening. I see the jams as practice and the underscore as ritual.


Harvest: Global UNDERSCORE 2017 Hong Kong

Blank Space Studio

24 June
8pm Talk-through by Arvin Cheng
10pm-2am GMT+8 GUS
10:50pm opening 5 min global Small Dance facing New York City, NY USA
1:55am closing global Small Dance facing Vienna, Austria

Participants (from begin to end):
Felix Yuen, Ha Yat Sing, Cesar Yael Velez, Winston Lau, Wan Ho Wai, Alison Leung, Daniel Leung, Arvin Cheng

fb event page:

a video clip:

Barcelona Harvest

Un año mas, ENEstudio celebró el Global Underscore. Este año coincidió con una celebración local muy típica e importante en Barcelona. Iniciamos la estructura 15 personas en una ola de calor en la ciudad que nos envolvía a nosotros... nada pudo con nosotros, nos enfocamos, practicamos, bailamos y bailamos una vez mas. 

One more year, ENEstudio celebrated Global Underscore. This year coincided with a very typical and important local celebration in Barcelona. We started the structure 15 people in a heat wave in the city that enveloped us ... nothing pushed us back, we focused, practiced, danced and danced once more.
Thank you

Facing: Monterrey, Mexico  >> 
Ciudad de México  

ENEstudio Barcelona.  Barcelona, Spain 

Passatge Sant Antoni Abad, 11. 08015  BCN  
(El pasaje está a la altura de Comte d´Urgell 13)