Contact Improvisation

Gabriel and Elinmaria dancing contact improvisation in front of the blue sea
Welcome to dive into the world of Contact Improvisation; A social dance-form based on the communication between bodies in physical contact and their relationship to movement, spatial and internal sensory awareness.

"You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves"
- Mary Oliver
Read more
ElinMaria & Gabriel teaching beginners class in Burning Art Festival in Vaasa.
ElinMaria & Gabriel dancing Contact Improvisation on a frozen lake.


Inspiring material and beautiful way to teach it piece by piece, encouraging us to discover. I love your teaching and what you share: creating the space and the atmosphere, teaching complex things piece by piece and GENTLY putting them together into complicated moving patterns without the students even realizing the difficulty. I also appreciate your honesty of not always knowing and sharing how you feel, that’s admirable!

Pauliina Kettunen
CI Intensives

I’ve participated in many of ElinMaria and Gabriel’s workshops and courses that they’ve held in Umeå, Sweden. And also co-arranged a couple of workshops. Their approach to dance (CI and dance improvisation) is playful and allowing. They have a great combination of giving clear instructions and listening and adapting to what the group needs. They are very present and encouraging, which makes you connect with yourself and the group on a deep level. Nourishing for both body and soul. I would describe their workshops as fun, light, playful and truly inspirational!

Stefan Andersson
CI Umeå

Thank you for all the techniqal support. I felt the last days that I found some new softness and listening in my movement. I understood new ways to follow other bodies with a soft flow also while giving weight. That was a beautiful sensation.

Flow - Summer Intensive

Dear lovely ElinMaria and dear lovely Gabriel, kiitos paljon ja tack for our magnificant Lappi gathering, it gave me confidence in dancing more CI in the future. Your pure, clear, enthusiastic approach helped me a lot to feel safe and create a joyful space full of trust, responsibility and self-care. I will definetly go with you once again on such a journey.

Lappi New Years Dance

You both have a gentle and playful way of guiding and I had some amazing experiences! While playing in the snow, I was a child and I forgot everything else, spinning on the floor brought me closer to my innermost being. And while following the authentic movement, I forgot the difference between the mover and the moved, nature and man/human body seemed to be similar parts of nature. Thank you for maintaining the space and facing all the feelings. I personally really liked the lifting exercises!

AnneMari Salminen
Lumi New Years Dance

Your teachings was energetic and caring, attentive, gentle and building up materials not only phase by phase, but with an organic flow. This has been a calming experience, much like the life I would like to live, from day to day


Contact Improvisation

MOVEMENT AND COMMUNICATION through touch; share the vocabulary of receiving and giving impulses through the landscape of our bodies. With one or many partners we’re in an exploration of how we in dance can follow and be followed through the point of contact; adjust our weight on another and navigate being upside down and changing levels. In Contact Improvisation (CI) we improvise dance influenced by techniques from somatic movement, contemporary dance, material arts, partnering and improvisation.

PRACTICE Body and spatial awareness, alignment and ergonomics, release-techniques, partnering, improvisation, instant composition and co-creation. You will develop your internal and external awareness and get lots of tools for improvisation as well as understanding of how you organize your body in movement. CI is a nutritious space to explore your breathing sensing body and your curiosity towards possibilities of movement and sharing the fun of dancing together with others.

BACKGROUND Contact improvisation is a postmodern dance form, practiced for social dance and contemporary dance as well in circus and theater. CI has its roots in the 70’s when dancer and choreographer Steve Paxton developed an experimental dance-performance which evolved into its own vocabulary and technique. Today CI is a worldwide network of social dancing with festivals, gatherings and jams. Steve Paxton and those who early developed the dance form decided to not patent on Contact Improvisation. One statement is that the form itself is in ongoing exploration and involvement, built on participatory structures; we learn from everyone attending the dancefloor and by sharing inspiration, exploration and uniqueness.

“The improvised dance form is based on the communication between two moving bodies that are in physical contact and their combined relationship to the physical laws that govern their motion—gravity, momentum, inertia. The body, in order to open to these sensations, learns to release excess muscular tension and abandon a certain quality of willfulness to experience the natural flow of movement. Practice includes rolling, falling, being upside down, following a physical point of contact, supporting and giving weight to a partner.” /—early definition by Steve Paxton and others, 1970s,from CQ Vol. 5:1, Fall 1979

Contact improvisation in the water

Merge into the space of no gravity and the ability to fly! Become aware of your fluid body! When we bring CI in the water we open new possibilities for experiencing and movement. Water can support us to let go and release, stay alert and tuned in to this very moment of breath and no-breath, become aware of our muscle tone, be soft and attentive in our movement, be open and receptive, how to play with momentum, spirals and backspace with non-gravity! When we bring CI to the water we get to know a new element and learn to relax in the silent space of non-breath. Water holds a space of deep meditative presence and playfulness.

Improvisation and instant composition

Develops your movement vocabulary and provides a platform where everything can become a dance. The core of improvisation is presence and surrendering to the unknown. Instant composition is something, were you practise and open your skills in making choices, receiving impulses, timing, use of space, rhythm and musicality. Instant composition creates possibilities for different kind of artistic choices than a set choreography would do. Improvisation it is about opening to something, instead of acting or trying.

Contact improvisation with moving heart

ElinMaria and Gabriel co-teaches regularly since 2014. We met on the dancefloor in Berlin on an summer intensive training with one of our favorite teachers Jörg Hassman. Since then we have kept on exploring, teaching, dancing and performing CI together.

Our daily life is influenced by CI and somatics. One of our daily practices is Authentic Movement or rolling on the floor with our child. We are curious to bring an embodied experience of being; How do I exit and enter a chair? How do I pour my weight into the ground and how do I relate to gravity? Connect to my center? Enter a hug? Play with my child? How do I sit, walk and lay down throughout the day? We teach to learn and we learn to teach, someone said and that’s true to us as well!

In our classes, workshops and events we build up material to improve skills in CI and to enjoy the community created around the practise. Many of our workshops with CI happen in beautiful nature surroundings, on wooden floors heated by fireplaces and with a festival-like atmosphere.

We have a special interest in sharing material that gradually prepares our bodies to receive and understand the fundamentals of CI and make our dance interesting and nurturing. We intend to create an effortless way to trick our bodies and minds into new skills or deepening what we already have. We wish to support your own curiosity to grow and to be shared in a playful, humble and explorative way. Lets dance!


I’m a somatic explorer, curious how I can embody my everyday life. I find CI as such an intelligent way to interact with others and get in touch with myself and dance; with all the possibilities to increase body- and movement knowledge, source of inspiration, be a treat, allow me to play, a meditation, make me feel centered and connected and alive, increase wellbeing, relaxation and wow all this things at the same time!

I started to dance CI 2006 as I was studying physical theater and year after I went hitch-hiking from Sweden to Spain and later Israel, just for the reason to attend to different jams, festivals and classes with CI. 2009/10 I studied at ISLO Dance and Somatics, one year full program including lots of CI and I started to teach CI the year after. I have been interested both in political viewpoints on CI and accessibility for different bodies and done some projects with mixed-abilities. My teaching focuses on a somatic approach and to root ourselves in our own understanding of movement so that when we finally meet with others we have a sense of holding our own dance in order to melt with someone else. Improvisation and instant composition are one of my favorite subjects! I just love when the magic space of “dancing thinking” occurs and we compose instantly with what is.


Contact Improvisation is for me a way of life, a way to move, connect with other people, enjoy a moving body and also take care of my body. I really enjoy dancing Contact Improvisation and it brings me a lot of pleasure and physical delight. Contact improvisation as a social dance form has brought countless wonderful people into my life and I enjoy that through my work I myself can maintain and create a dancing community and opportunities to gather together to dance. When I dance, I am surprised again and again by the endless possibilities of movement and how detailed we can dive into the techniques and the secrets of listening through the touch. I love to explore and learn together and I love to share my knowledge and inspiration with others. When I dance I really feel alive!

I got my first touch with Contact Improvisation when I participated in the Outokumpu dance school jams in 2004. Since then I’ve been thirsty for more. As a dancing nomad, I have had the privileged opportunity to study and dance with many wonderful teachers around the world. I held my first contact improvisation course in the Ecuadorian rainforest in 2012 and since then I have taught in different parts of Europe, Asia and Latin America. In 2013 and 2014 I studied new dance, improvisation and performance art in Freiburg at Bewegungs-art dance school and Contact Improvisation at TanzFabrik in Berlin. Water dance, Aguahara and living in nature have influenced my dance and my teaching as well a lot.

Subscription Form
Contact form