TCU to host Texas Dance Improvisation Festival

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    The TCU School for Classical and Contemporary Dance will host the fourth annual Texas Dance Improvisation Festival (TDIF) in Erma Lowe Hall during fall break.

    This year's featured guest artist is Ray Chung. TDIF co-directors Nina Martin and Sarah Newton said Chung is internationally famous in the art of contact improvisation.

    "I consider it an honor to be the featured guest artist for this year and take it as a recognition of my experience and work in the field of the teaching and performing of contact improvisation," Chung wrote in an email.

    Contact improvisation is dancing through physical communication in which dancers must adapt to their partner's weight, movements and momentum, Chung wrote. 

    "Contact improvisation is like collaborative wrestling," said Martin, an assistant professor of dance. "It's a coed form. Women are lifting and flying men, and men are lifting and flying women. It's really a form that appeals to men. It's a dance form where they don't have to be overly graceful, just more athletic."

    TDIF begins Thursday at 6 p.m. with a welcoming "jam." Martin said a jam consists of dancers and musicians from different backgrounds coming together and improvising through dance and music. No previous dance experience is necessary.

    Newton, an adjunct lecturer for the school, said there might be attendees who have never improvised before dancing with performing professionals.

    "You don't have to have 30 years of dance experience to come and feel comfortable," she said.

    The festival concludes with a performance Saturday at 7 p.m., followed by a final jam from 9 p.m. to midnight.

    Registration for TDIF costs $10 and includes access to all classes and performances. It costs $5 to attend a performance and participate in a jam. Martin said any musicians are welcome to come play at the jams for free. All fees will be collected at the main entrance of Erma Lowe Hall.

    The "What is contact improv?" video features dance majors Jessica Ho and Clay York demonstrating contact improvisation in Erma Lowe Hall.