This page is intended to answer common questions about our jam. Here are some quick links to jam guidelines, FAQ, venue information, housing, and ridesharing, and WEX. If you can't find the answer to your question, feel free to contact us using the form at the bottom, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
I haven’t danced much/any Contact Improvisation before. Can I come?
Yes, certainly! There will be classes and intensives suitable for beginners, and the Fundamentals intensive is especially geared toward teaching the basics of Contact Improvisation. A festival can be a great place to begin dancing Contact: you can study with many different teachers and learn many perspectives to the form in a short time. There will there be lots of people to dance with in jams, and it is also a great opportunity to learn by watching.
Are there any discounts?
Is it possible to do work exchange?
Yes. We need a number of WEX people to help with different tasks during the festival.
We take WEX applications as soon as the registration opens, but decisions regarding WEX won’t be made until May 15th. If you apply for WEX and are not accepted, you may still register at the festival for the lowest price that was available when we received your application.
Is the event wheelchair accessible?
All the dance spaces and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. While there is no special track for people with disabilities, the teachers are strongly encouraged to plan their classes so that everyone can participate. If you are unsure about a particular class, please reach out to us or check in directly with the teacher. We are committed to making this event accessible, and will do our best to accommodate people’s requests: if you come with a personal assistant or would like to request sign language interpretation, please let us know. We may not be able to meet all requests, but the earlier we know, the more likely it is we can arrange it. We also appreciate hearing what more we can do to make the JAM welcoming for everyone. Please contact us with your thoughts and suggestions.
Do I need to choose which classes I take before the festival?
Choose the intensive you want to take when you register for the festival. If you don’t make a choice, and one of them fills up, you will be assigned to go to one that has space. Don’t worry, whichever one you end up in will be fabulous. Single classes are first come first served. They do fill up, so be on time!
Can I bring alcohol or recreational drugs to the festival?
No. In a Contact Improvisation JAM we dance sharing weight and often moving in complex acrobatic ways in close proximity to each other. To do this safely, we need to be acutely aware of our surroundings. We also need to be able to clearly read and respect the personal boundaries set by other dancers. Please do not show up inebriated or high. Read our Jam Guidelines here.
Do I need to do everything that is on the schedule?
No. Take time to rest. If you do everything then you will most likely be exhausted by the end. We hope you leave feeling refreshed and enlivened.
What should I wear for class?
Wear comfortable clothes that you can move in. Most people dance in sweat pants and a t-shirt, with bare feet. Many choose to use wear light kneepads. Clothes that are not slippery, and don’t have zippers, sequins or other scratchy things, work best. Bring layers: in most contact classes the exercises vary between stillness and big movement, it is good to prepare for both.
What are One-on-Ones?
A One-on-One is an opportunity to connect with a teacher or a long time practitioner of Contact Improvisation and to work with a specific question you have about dancing CI, to learn or polish a technical skill, or to just get feedback through dancing together. At wcciJAM we have One-on-Ones almost every day, so if that is your favored mode of learning you have a lot of possibilities to work with different teachers.
I’m thinking of coming with my family – what do you think?
Great idea! We have a family class and JAM where grown-ups and children can dance together. In the evenings one of the JAM spaces will be designated as a Kid Friendly JAM, where you can practice Contact Improvisation with your children and other families. The Kid Friendly JAM is a space for CI, and for dancers of all ages to learn to share space and negotiate their needs for the room. There will also be playcare. If you are interested in helping develop the family programs at wcciJAM, please be in touch, we would love to include your ideas!
I organize a festival. If I let you come to mine for free, can I come to yours for free?
No. This is a community organized festival. There around 14 people in the organizing team each year. We feel it is simpler that you pay to come to our festival and we pay to come to yours.
I need/can offer a place to stay – can you help? I need somewhere to stay during the festival – are there nice hotels nearby? Can I sleep in a tent?
Please see the Housing page.
How can I offer/find a lift by car to/from the festival?
Please use our FB group.
Is it easy to find parking? Do I have to pay for parking?
We recommend taking public transportation, biking, or carpooling to minimize parking troubles for everyone. See the Venue page for more info.
Can I bike to the festival?
Are there any shops nearby?
Yes. UC Berkeley is in the heart of the city.
Is the area safe?
Yes, it is generally safe to walk around by the festival venue.
What will the weather be like? What should I bring to wear?
Layers, layers, sunglasses, layers. The Bay Area weather is fickle, hot one moment, but when the breeze comes from the ocean you will find yourself shivering and reaching for your coat.
I have special dietary needs – can I get food that I can eat?
We work to provide everyone with ample variety of yumminess. Vegans, vegetarians and omnivores are already accounted for. If you have a food allergy or other dietary restrictions, please be in touch and we will do our best to make sure you get what you need. Please note that meat is not necessarily served at every meal.
Is there internet available? Can I check my email?
At the festival venue there are no computers available for our use. There is a wireless internet connection at a café nearby. If you know that you will need to access the internet during the day, please bring your own laptop and prepare to spend some money on a latte and a crumpet.
Do you offer pick up from the airport?
No. You can take the Bart (Bay Area Rapid Transit,) the Downtown Berkeley stop is just a few blocks from the festival venue. Or take an airport shuttle or a taxi cab.
Can you help with getting a visa to the USA to attend the festival?
Yes, we can send you an invitation. Please fill in the contact form explaining your situation, and we will get in touch with you.
My flight was delayed and I missed the last BART. How do I get to my accommodation?
Take a cab, an airport shuttle, Lyft or Uber. Call the place of your accommodation before stepping in the car, to make sure they know to expect you.
What's your cancellation policy?
Refund/Cancellation is possible for a 10% processing fee, by June 15th.
What else is going on in the Bay Area around the time of the festival?
San Francisco Pride is a huge beautiful celebration in one of the queerest cities in the world, with lots of different activities for people of all ages and orientations. A list of local CI events is maintained here.
Can I sell my wares at the festival?
We are not able to host vendors, as per our agreement with the building management, so please do not set up shop at the Hearst Gym. Thanks for understanding.
© Rob Kunkle | Good Lux Photography
A Living Document
Focus & Intention - A jam is a focused environment in which to practice Contact Improvisation. Sound and text is welcome as part of the dancing. However, please keep loud social conversation outside the dance space. Feel free to remind others of this when they want to chat with you.
Spatial Awareness - Be mindful of the space around you. Adjust your dance to stay safe. While you may dance at any speed you wish, the dance floor is a “no parking” zone: move non-dance interactions to the side of the room.
Safety & Boundaries - Every dancer is responsible for her/his own safety on the dance floor. We recognize that this is a complex statement. CI can be physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding, and you will be interacting with dancers of varied skill, ability, interest and experience. Safety means different things to different people at different times. Feel free to communicate verbally with your dancer partners, and please be attentive to them in return. Do not assume that your partner is skilled at setting boundaries and establishing consent. Contact improvisation is outside of societal norms for touch; it’s always ok to say “No” or “Stop”. Many states and impulses can surface during dancing, including feelings of sexual arousal. However, a jam is a shared space; explicitly sexual behavior is not welcome.
Observing - Is a great way to participate, support the space, and learn!
Entering, Exiting & Grazing - Solos, duets, trios, quartets, and melees are all part of the greater dance of the whole room: enter dances with a spirit of listening to what is already there. You can always leave a dance. The floor is your first partner, and at all times, regardless of who is touching whom, the whole room is in a dance together.
Kids - Are part of our community and we are excited to have an all ages class and jam. Kids are also welcome to dance in jam spaces as long as they are engaging in the practice of contact improvisation. Dancing children need a grown up present with them on the dance floor who is responsible for their safety. Allow children to engage in the dance according to their own will and curiosity, and respect their boundaries: don’t assume you can pick someone up just because they are smaller than you, don’t assume they want to be tickled, etc. Conversely, you may also set boundaries with children, or reach out to a parent, teacher, or organizer if you feel children are compromising the jam space. If you want to bring your child to a class, you must check in with the specific teacher beforehand.
Diversity & Dialogue - A jam is an evolving environment. We cannot ignore issues of disparity that color our practice, both in terms of who is or is not in the room, and in terms of power dynamics between the people dancing. Our intention is to foster awareness, accessibility, diversity, and dialogue about CI. If something is bothering you, please speak up. Each jam has at least two jam hosts available for support. You can also turn to the registration desk.
There is no one way to do Contact.
Explore. Experiment. Enjoy!
-wcciJAM Organizing Team