Renowned contact improvisation teacher, writer, and editor Nancy Stark Smith calls this exercise "a Solo Mini Underscore".  You will need about 30 minutes of uninterrupted time as well as a notebook and writing device.  We would like you to share your SHARING/THANKSGIVING in a video response on youtube (see below).

  1.  You can choose to do this activity by listening to the mp3 or following the youtube video below
  2. HARVEST After you've completed the Solo Mini Underscore, please spend some time on the practice Nancy Stark Smith  calls "Harvest."  In her book, Caught Falling, she describes the harvest as"[A] time to reflect on your experience through writing, moving, drawing, and thinking--gleaning direct observations that can be shared with others...These are your gleanings, your field notes; not full summaries or interpretations.  They might just be fragments." (95)
  3. SHARING/THANKSGIVING Here's how Nancy defines this phase of the Underscore in Caught Falling: "This is a time to come together (often in a circle or group) to offer reflections, some "fruits" of the harvest.  Usually short remarks with little or no cross-talk discussion...  No need for big "summings" up, just a small bit of true observation from one's true experience is plenty."  (95)
  4. We are asking that you share your SHARING/THANKSGIVING as a short youtube video that you can embed in this discussion. You are also welcomed to post images or written responses. Click here for directions on recording video in youtube and embedding it in a discussion.



If you want to know more about the Underscore, you can start to learn about it by watching Marlon Barrios Solano's Interview with Nancy Stark Smith or by reading

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Harvesting - first round
longing for 3 hours of this -
accompanied by thunder clap
tottering - floor uneven, I roll up/downhill feeling my weight in concert, like being on a suspension bridge - so in synchrony as to go with wind and sway, together, high above water, falling into the sway of the bridge, not away
finding a duet with the leg and rim of a folding stool - poised balance between us - again tottering -
the floor beckons the whole time - foreground and background shifting constantly
it is over, but I am just getting started
repeat again tomorrow - with video. gratitude for etude

Is this where we harvest?  If so, here goes:  Fun to spend time with Nancy in a strange 2-distinctly-different spaces with surfaces and far-near-internal focus. Weird.  Thinking of my satellite solo underscore in Ireland 2 years ago, but this one seemed like I'm more connected in some strange way--maybe because we all hear Nancy's prompts, and I'm imagining the rest of you going through the same thing at different times--like we were all graduated from the same university, or ate great-grandma's famous stew or stood on the same obscure street corner in the winter.  Thinking about teaching all forms of dance, we are still falling into the earth, even during the most pulled up attitude pirouette en pointe our entire mass is still falling through that one specific contact point with the floor.  Experience it, bun heads!  I imagined lessons when we made scores about far/near/personal focus and what that would do for a dance performance.  Rich rich rich.  Thank you Nancy and all the others who made this possible!

"I feel my body full of vibrations, tensions but I'm lying on the floor. The wood takes this away, the wooden floor gives me all I need. Now I can touch this silly moving chair with my head, I can rest my head on it. Then I start to move in this weird place. I climb on one of this heavy furniture. Did I ever tried this before? It was nice, resting my belly and pelvis and seeing everything from above. Then comes this chair, not the one with the wheels, the wooden one!   I can slide on its back, I can curve and disappear in it. I can hang on it and stretch my back a lovely stretch, until I realize there are other chairs I can walk between them and beneath the table, I can roll and somersault. But I go back to /MY chair. Not under it, not on it but above it, almost hanging up there like if it is the highest building I have never been on top. All those trees, have always been there, this voice from my screen accompanied me in discovering,  like a child. a little forest of furniture where I have lived many many years."

Thank you !

Solomini underscore CBartley 5 Aug 3013 at 12:07 pm 

length approx. 19 minutes

Page from note book harvest: 

words read: landing, height, textures, spirals inward, telescope trees, roots


page of glyphs and test reading:

deep stillness   noticing thoughts

small container   purples reds

traffic wind dust images softness

nausea- can ride more if with others 

spiralling helps

guided by impulse-sensations within

again in other locations again and again.

Dancing with the objects in my room, I like this. The objects in my room now somehow have become more alive and I have found movement in these solid objects.

I realise some of the same patterns arise in me as with a connection with another person but there is no question - is it me? is it them? Its all me.

I should spend more time dancing with chairs..


"I should spend more time dancing with chairs.." I kind of have the same thought! :-)

The room I am is really small. Two beds and a crib my husband and daughters sleeping... I'm with my cell and headphones listening to nancy giving directions for this expierence, lying on my bed standing up feeling my breath and my family slower breathing, had to be really aware of myself and this unusual environment I the middle of our vacations it felt so nice so peaceful but also accompanied wondering what others experiences were in other spaces... And the great possibilities of this kind of work



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