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Karin Moriarty
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Class Description:

Unearthing the Layers of Contact Improv

To honor Steve Paxton’s legacy, the class will start with the “small dance”. During this iconic exercise, participants will gain self-awareness on how to create movement, directionality, and quality of form and shape. This also encourages participants to find their body axis and the feeling of being connected to the ground and to the sky.

We will then transition into solo work explorations: yielding into the floor and leaning into a wall for example. This will allow participants to use their inherent power to find their center and integrate/disintegrate the body in fluid ways.

We will end with duet work concentrating on leaning, point of contact, pouring weight, and also one of my favorite exercises, the “Painting Exercise.”

Other specific scores and short exercises will be sprinkled into the session. Important principles, such as leveraging mass and weight will be introduced as participants begin to move in duets. The main idea here is to discover the inherent power of moving from within your own body to connect to another person. Rather than imposing movement as an outside aesthetic choreographic tool, we will find ways to move organically and with fluidity.


Karin, a native of Chile, immigrated to the United States in the late 70s and earned her bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts Dance from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986. Karin danced with many Bay Area artists, including the Dance Brigade, the Ellen Webb Dance Group. She trained with Tony Kramer in Contact at Stanford University.

Karin’s love of site specific-work led to her 2003 full length piece, “Along the River,” performed at the Andy Goldsworthy’s “Stone River” outside sculpture installation, in concert with the Stanford’s museum exhibition, “The Changing Garden.”

Having lived under the dictatorship of Agusto Pinochet as a child in Chile, Karin was inspired to choreograph “In Mourning”, which is a tribute to Karin’s brother who lost his life by the hands of military insurgents in control of Chile in 1973. This work depicts glimpses of the emotional landscape created by the bloody coup. Her choreographic works, inspired by her life experience, and human rights issues is a homage to the disenfranchised groups of society as she depicts and uses imagery elements to bring their suffering to the forefront.

Karin continues to teach modern dance, and contact improvisation in the Bay Area, the Big Island (Hawaii) and abroad. She is a guest artist at Stanford University where she offers master classes for Professor Aleta Hayes classes and her “Chocolate Heads” dance group. She is also a teacher and organizer of the 30-year International known Contact Improv Festival at UCB.

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