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PHILHARMONICA. International Music Journal

The internal space and plastic communication in Steve Paxton's contact improvisation

Lavrova Svetlana Vital'evna

Doctor of Art History

associate professor, prorector for research and development at Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet

191023, Russia, g. Saint Petersburg, ul. Zodchego Rossi, 2

Другие публикации этого автора

Novik Yuliya Olegovna

Doctor of Cultural Studies

Science Editor of the "Bulletin of the Vaganova Ballet Academy"

191023, Russia, g. Saint Petersburg, ul. Zodchego Rossi, 2




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Abstract: The article studies the phenomenon of contact improvisation founded by the choreographer Steve Paxton. The contact improvisation technique is very popular today, being founded in America in the 1970s. Steve Paxton defined contact improvisation as a formation of a “spherical space” which is “the result of so many changes in spatial and kinesthetic orientation in a short time”. In the plastic of contact improvisation, both an individual body and an interpersonal system can take a metastable position. We can observe the same phenomenon in other improvisational experiments. The main research method is comparative analysis of philosophical roots of contact improvisation, particularly the connection with one of the postulates of A. Bergson holding that “all division of matter into independent bodies with absolutely determined outlines is an artificial division”, and the connection with the ideas of modern cognitive scientists and psychologists. Comparing contact improvisation with an equivalent phenomenon of ensemble improvisation in the works of Stockhausen “From the Seven Days”, the authors conclude that in both cases, the starting point of improvisation is the projection of individual peculiarities of physical conditions of the participants (heart rate, breath, the specificity of reflecting the initial images of movement in the improvisation and other aspects). 

Keywords: sound space, intuitive music, contact improvisation, Stockhausen, modern music, modern dance, Steve Paxton, postmodern dance, Material for the Spinе, dance technique
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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