Material for the brain #15

The current evolution in culture - Individualism vs a sense of multiplicity.

The evolving nature of CI Culture. Is consent in CI a question of values or morality?

Episdoe #15 - Practice as Research

My guest for 15th episode is Nita Little, a dance pioneer who’s work had an international impact and changed the course of dance history. Nita is a performer, teacher, choreographer, scholar and theorist. She is one of the founders of Contact Improvisation and in the last 50 years, has been touring the globe to teach and share her research on what she calls relational intelligence.

Nita holds a PHD in Performance Studies and her writing investigates ecological actions of tactile attention and the creative potentials present in entangled relations.

I met Nita in 2014 at the Austrian contact festival. I was really impressed by her genuine interest in research and discovery which was especially impressive due to the fact that she was already doing so for so many years. Since then I have met with her several times and have always enjoyed conversing with her and sharing studio time.

It was such a honour to speak to Nita since the legacy of her work had such a profound effect on my life. Having the opportunity to share more time with her was very special for me and I hope you would appreciate the conversation we had.

Connect to Nita:

Relational Intelligence online:

Short extracts

Suzanne Miller

I listened to the first half of your conversation with Nita Little with my eyes closed. I attended to the words that were spoken and exchanged. I listened to the different accents and concentrated on following the conversation. I was intrigued by Nita’s experience of dancing/teaching during the pandemic. How we can still relate to ourselves and the world around us. As objects, things, plants and animals have replaced human bodies as dance partners this year. Our research and discovery in dance (or physical arts of any kind) belongs to exploring relationships! Ideas related to freedom, expansively conducting the unknown. Never repeating, trusting the resolve, the immediacy of communication, becoming greater by inviting someone else into the shared experience. The interiority, intimate, a body/mind multiplicity, how limited our waking consciousness is and how we can tap into and trigger inner resources, perhaps we can unleash the unconscious mind/body by entering into that zone of the dance where two bodies become more than their equation. When I opened my eyes, I was distracted and entertained by the visual information of your bodies, the gesticulations of Nita’s right hand/arm. I noted the predominant handedness. Your long neck, your centeredness, calm, listening, responding. You reminded me of my son - an aspiring basketball player with smarts! You talked about a blind exercise where one must use only touch, you talked about consent, sexual predators, rules and no rules, inclusion, codes, the importance of taking class, learning the foundations, saying no! This was a very rich conversation filled with many interesting questions and reflections. I have always avoided CI because of the beginners and sexual predators in jam situations. However, I have so much respect for CI and the information and practice-led research it’s contributed to all movement based artists. Thank you for this wonderful conversation.
All my best, Suzanne

Suzanne Miller

Thank you both for a wonderful conversation that covered a vast territory of interesting and important issues related to CI (and more!)

Matan LevkowichSuzanne Miller

Thanks for the positive feedback. Would you mind to share further what you find interesting? Curious to hear more.. Thank you!

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