Community Underscore with Nancy Stark Smith

Event Type
Event Description

Community Underscore . May 7.

a talk and a practice


Sunday, May 7.  Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater.  9:30 am - 4:30 pm.

9:30-11:30 am Talk Thru (required), 1-4:30 pm Underscore


please note enrollment is limited, once limit is reached enrollment will be closed.


The Underscore is a long-form contact/improvisation/composition/jamming score that Nancy has been developing since the early 1990's as a framework for dance improvisation practice and research.  It guides dancers through a series of "changing states"--from solo relaxtion and sensitizing to gravity and support, through group circulation and interaction, contact improvisation (CI) engagements, opening out to full group improvisation, and back to rest and reflection.


The Underscore is a vehicle for integrating CI into a broader arena of improvisational practice, for developing greater freedom dancing in spherical space, and for integrating kinesthetic and compositional concerns while improvising.


The 3.5 hours will include periods of small, quiet activity and other times of higher energy and interactive dancing.  The 20+ phases of the score--each with a name and a graphic symbol--create a general map for the dancers.  Within that frame, they are free to create their own movements, dynamics, relationships--with themselves, each other, the group, and the environment.  Each Underscore is unique.


PLEASE NOTE:  Previous experience with Contact Improvisation and attendance at the talk are required for participation in the Underscore practice.  Please send a few sentences about your experience to Jessie Marasa at


The Underscore talk-through (Sunday morning (required for participation in the practice) will give some background as well as outline the structure in detail.  This will be followed by physical practice in the afternoon.


Photo:  Nancy and dancers in a Helsinki Finland, Underscore, 2007.  

photo@Raisa Kyllikki Rantau.


Dance Styles
Modern / Contemporary


Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater

Hamlin Park Theater, Hamlin Park Fieldhouse 3035 N. Hoyne
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 880-5402