„If you could do aikido, surf, wrestle and dance at the same time, you would have an idea of what Contact Improvisation feels like.“
Ernie Adams, Berkeley


Audrey from Strassbourg and Avi from Tel Aviv lean on each other, together their bodies start to move; playing with balance they collapse in space and regain themselves. Together they sink to the ground, roll with and over each other, rising effortlessly to airy heights. They jump at each other, catch one another, slide down each other's body, fluent, calm, athletic, bold or playful. Nobody leads, every movement evolves out of the previous one and from the communication between their bodies and the momentary balance of forces.

Where have I seen this before? Probably in professional dance. But these are no professionals. Avi is a psychology student, and Audrey earns her living from occasional jobs.

30 years ago, a small group of American Dance- and Sport students developed “contact improvisation”, a mixture of dance, acrobatics and martial arts, a dance form without defined steps or sequences. Over several years the students formed an elite circle, which mainly became established in a few american and european cities.

In recent years so called “contact jams” have sprung up everywhere. Whether in Israel, Hungary, Estonia, or Argentina, people are meeting to dance and improvise together for a few hours or even days. At the moment, the basis for what seems to be a very intimate form of movement appears to be developing. The scene is shared by amateurs and professionals, although there are no clear boundaries.

What is the personal motivation and the social background? Is there a message?

To answer these questions, the film accompanies five “contacters” simultaneously, in their surroundings and at different national and international events. Aswell as Audrey and Avi, there is Nancy from the US, who was involved in the first performances in 1972, and who has contributed significantly to the development of the form. This year, she will be passing on her experiences in workshops in Spain and Freiburg, and will be participating in the “teachers conference” in Estonia. Also present will be Dieter, who began with contact improvisation and is now Professor for Modern Dance in Frankfurt. The five story threads will come together in a kind of “showdown” at Europe’s biggest contact festival, which has taken place for the past six years in Freiburg. There the Protagonists will meet, some for the first time, and dance together.