Meet the Team

We have an international team of teachers and facilitators that will guide you through the festival journey. We have been working together in different festivals and events. We bring our talents together to support your dancing festival experience.

Vega Luukkonen

VEGA LUUKKONEN

Intensive Teacher
FINLAND

I am dancer, dance teacher, performance artist and bodyworker made in Finland, but currently based in Berlin, India and nomadic temporary moments in time and space. I studied formally in Finland at the Theatre Academy of Finland (TEAK) and Metropolia AMK; I graduated with an MA from TEAK in 2008 as dance and theatre teacher. Though – I guess my dearest high-school and university in dance and contact-improvisation has been the Finnish contact community, where I have learned so much, by sharing the dance and rolling point with the other spiraling beautiful finns…

Read more about Vega & her classes

ULLI WITTEMANN

Intensive Teacher
Germany

I have had a passion for movement and growth since I was a child. After practicing ballroom dance and hip hop as a teenager and studying different martial arts forms for many years (judo, aikido, kickboxing and boxing), I fell in love with contact improvisation in 2001, while studying as an actor at the University of Performing Arts in Frankfurt, Germany.

After my diploma and eight years of performing more than 1000 shows as an actor in the German State Theater system, I decided to change my focus from performing to teaching. I now share my ideas and experience in contact improvisation, acting, awareness and communication in Munich and abroad. In recent years I have taught intensives, workshops, classes and retreats in India, Thailand, China, Japan, Israel, Palestine, USA, Canada, Turkey and many European Countries.

Read more about Ulli & his classes

Zuzanna Bukowski

Contact/ Acro/ Orga
GERMANY/ Poland

Festival organiser, dancer, yogi, life coach, online marketing specialist, musician and life artist. I teach yoga, contact improvisation, communication and online marketing. My last few winters I have spent in Goa, India, supporting contact improvisation festivals there, and I do the same in the summers in and around Berlin.

Contact Improvisation and somatic movement have changed not only my body but my way of thinking and looking at the world. They have influenced my work as a life coach and communication trainer and as a yoga teacher. I have started to dare more and fear less. I particularly love to see the links between movement and cognitive work. Enjoying the interconnection between all these disciplines, I now organize workshops and one-to-one sessions with creative minds and entrepreneurs. I love to find out what people really want and how to get there on their own terms—in dance and in life

DOLORES MARKS


Water Dance/ Orga
GREAT BRITAIN

Festival organiser, nomadic artist, water dancer, performer, teacher of Contact Improvisation and Somatics. Since 2015 I have been traveling through Thailand, Philippines, India and Europe sharing CI and Water Dance. I am a student of Somatic Movement Education programme at the School for Body-Mind Centering in Germany.

“CI is a unique dance form and tool I use to support myself in the world; each dance is a insight into my state of mind and my bodies’ mind. With CI and BMC practices I am cultivating a deeper awareness of my body’s consciousness. Though the perception of touch, the practice of listening to sensory feedback from interaction and play with others we can better know ourselves. This research gives space for the imagination to freely flow in movement, celebrating expression and physics of the body’s wisdom, and thriving in the present being.”

Ely Bouchard

Ely Bourchard

Orga
Canada

Ely is our wonderful host at the Pyramid Yoga Center. 

 

Pyramide Yoga Center

 

Alice Rose

Musical Director
Denmark

Singer & Songwriter.

Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Alice Rose plays and sings beautiful, mesmerizing and thoroughly modern music that captures the essense of the old world and the new. Her one-woman performances, her stunning vocals, her jugglers skill using samplers, computer, beat boxes, strings, casios, keyboards, harmonicas and toys–all come together in a delicious concoction of electro-folk–equal parts trip-hop, pop, electronica and dance. She is a true adventurer in the music world today and is constantly exploring new ground.

alicerosemusic.com

Soundcloud Alice Rose

 

Hugh Stainer

Hugh Stanier

Intensive Teacher/ Contemporary
UK

Hugh is a Freelance Dance artist specializing Contact Improvisation and Contemporary Dance. He trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and has worked as a performer and teacher for over 10 years. Throughout the past few years he has been training in different movement disciplines- from Contact Improvisation and Yoga, to Circus and Tai Chi – to gain a deeper understanding of the body and the power of moving with presence and awareness. He teaches with a variety of different approaches to all ages and abilities, with a focus on creating an inclusive and open environment in which participants can feel free and able to discover new ways of moving. A space of ‘serious play time’!. 

Human Moves

This this class offers a diverse experience of movement, improvisation & contact-improvisation. We will explore some core principles vital to understanding and finding freedom in the body. Exercises will focus on investigations to deepen a physical knowledge of the body in motion both alone and with others. Building up a functional understanding of the underlying physical principles and structures of contact improvisation, as well as widening the trust to our instincts, impulses and intuition.

Exercises will alternate between contact and solo work to connect to our own body as well as to the group as a whole. Together we create an open, safe space to feel free to discover new ways of moving and being.

 

 

 

Sasha Dodo

Contact/ Butoh/ Theatre
Russia

Independent nomadic artist, poet, director, performer, organiser of creative projects, teacher of dance improvisation and performance, photographer and film maker.

I like unstable, unexpectable and playful environments where perception of body and space shift all the time, where all knowledge about what is going on becomes poetic.

To enter such an unstable environment we need to have a lot of stability and base, meaning techniques of self-organization while supporting the weight of the others in the moments of spiralling, flying, falling, rolling and also plasticity of consciousness.

We are going from the base to the un-base, the state where we can play with our base – and that is exactly what makes it wider and deeper.

lostplace.tilda.ws

unoungallery.com

Daniele Sardella

Daniele Sardella

Contact/ Acrobatic
Italy

Daniele Sardella: Mechanical Engineer, since 1997 is dedicated to Street Art, juggling and equilibrism, from 2002 it became his main job. In 2003 he came in contact with the Biotransazionale Method and begins to practise it and study its principles, and to integrate them with the study of circus techniques; simultaneously he got formed artistically by attending various courses of Equilibrism (Arial Miluca, Claude Victoria), clown (Rita Pelusio, Jean Meningault, Michelin Vanderpoel), dance (Claude Coldy, Lucia Latour, Ketty Russo, Simona Fichera, Marta Ciappina, Tom Weksler, Kira Kirsh, Nita Little, Angelika Donji, Ray Chung), studying theater at “Pontedera Theatre Foundation” (2004-2005) and working at the Bellucci Acquatic Circus  (2005-2006). From 2009 to the present days he is forming in teaching a personal application of Biotransazionale Method to Handstand and Movement and to Contact Improvisation, through a continuous personal research and by giving classes and intensive workshops. Now he is going deeply into the research of Acrobatic Fluid Dance and Acrobatic Contact Improvisation with special focus to a training that increases both the health and the performance possibilities.
 
Sveta Bird

Sveta Bird


Contact/ Contemporary
Ukraine

Professional dancer, performer, dance teacher, modern dance choreographer, teacher and organizer various events of contact improvisation. Certified massage therapist (Chiang Mai School, Thailand), modeling designer (polymer clay crafting), economic degree.

Over 20 years of regular practice in different dance techniques. Working with several dance groups and show ballets in Kiev (Ukraine) including P.Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble.

12 years of regular practicing, teaching and performing of contact improvisation in different countries (Ukraine, Russia,Spain, Germany, Finland, Poland, Moldova, Brazil, China, Malaysia and others.)

Exploring and practicing different approaches to movement such as authentic movement technique, axis syllabus system, release technique, body-mind centering, hatha yoga, acro-yoga, Laban movement analysis and Butoh dance.

Traveling masses: Constant Impermanence

Recently I’ve found very fascinating to go deeper into observations of the mass shifts in my body and beyond – the constantly traveling centre of the masses even when there is no physical movement. The process of redistributing and following the directions of mass shifts (weight) while moving seems never ending.

We will build our journey by practicing concrete physical methods together with very abstract mental approaches to enrich our dance skills and maybe even make a little glance at some metaphysical aspects of moving. 

Just to enjoy CI – one of the best ways to express the dance if the universe.

DANIEL DRAGOESCU

Daniel Dragoescu

Holistic Dance
Romania

Performer, dancer, sound designer, music producer/DJ, filmmaker, movement coach.

Sampradana is a multi-side artistic project always looking to expand the musical and movement exploration through a fusion of various music genres, dance styles and
creative collaborations. As a sound designer he collaborated in theatre projects. As a performer and dancer he merges different artistic forms (butoh, contact improvisation, urban freestyle) and he collaborates with theatres and with theatrical groups . Under the same alias he creates visual poems and short dance films.

The Freedom of Limitation
 
Working with predetermined body frames to breath more creativity into motion and allow the emergence of new ways in our movement and dance; By adopting certain motion principles we’ll explore and develop a conscious flow within imposed physical restrictions and beyond the usual personal patterns. 
 
We ask physical questions then find and share together dancing answers.
 
Absorbing Ground – Building and collapsing structures from a shift in the relationship with the ground – using bone frames in individual and partner work (non-muscular approach in groundwork) and expanding into a common collective structure.
 
Working with and through layers and levels of interaction – resistance, surrender and proposal. 
Tiki Masala

TIKKI MASALA

Ecstatic Dance
BELGIUM / GOA

After first traveling in India, Tikki Masala was inspired by the deep flavors of authentic Indian classical music. in his productions he blends together sounds of Indian classical instruments like Sitar, Tabla, Santoor, Sarod, Flute, Tanpura, Harmonium and Vocals … with beats, synthesizers, drums and percussion. Recordings made across India from Bhajans, Kirtans, Mantras, street musicians, fellow travelers, jam sessions, concerts, nature and temple sounds are mixed together with psychedelic hypnotic electronic sounds, rhythms and bass lines. After some time the music evolved to world Beat, tribal, ethnic  fusion, dance music with influences from all over the world.  He is playing a lot of his creations at ecstatic dance events. The interest in dance became more present, when he discovered Ecstatic dance and other forms of dance, and found that dancing was so beneficial for the personal, emotional, physical and spiritual development, opening up and discovering the freedom and authenticity. There was a call to start organising, holding space and play at ecstatic dance events in India, Thailand and Europe…  And share with others, what was for him such a beautiful exploration and growing in the being through movement and Dance. https://www.facebook.com/Masalarecords https://tikkimasala1.bandcamp.com/ http://darshanatmosphere.bandcamp.com/releases http://www.facebook.com/DarshanAtmosphere
Matthieu Panassie

Matthieu Azul

Singing Circle/ Contact
France

My story with singing and music began 10 years ago when friends introduced me to the magic of singing circle and rainbow gathering. I realised how powerful it is to come together to share beautiful mantras and songs from different cultures and languages. It brings me the greatest joy to join people together in celebration of love and unity through song. I’m honoured to be invited to different places and festivals around the world. And to have the opportunity to combine my passions for music and dance.

VIRGINIA NEGRU & CATALIN DIACONU​

Virginia Negru & Catalin Diaconu

Contact Improvisation Romania

Virginia and Catalin are partners in life and in dance. They are very different and they use this to find complementarity and learn from each other. Virginia is a dance performer, CI teacher, traveler and philosophical practitioner. At the present moment she facilitates CI classes, jams & workshops, performs with the dance & theater company PETEC and also organizes Contact Bucharest Festival. Catalin is one of those artists who don’t know they are artists, or at least that’s what Virginia thinks. Even though he has a day job as IT support he also produces electronic music, plays guitar and drums, and dances and performs with PETEC

Since 2015, after an intense period of traveling and dancing, Virginia focused more on creating practice frames for CI and building up the CI community in Bucharest, directing her energy in one place. And for Catalin the last 10 years were a mixture of enjoying the stability of a job but also anguishing by postponing his dream of traveling. So now they have decided it’s time to dive together in a traveling adventure sharing at the same time their passion for dancing, music and improvisation through teaching and performing. It’s now or never.

The flow of opposites

Movement happens because of contrasting forces. There is gravity pull and there is the opposing reaction of the materials that do not let our body simply melt into the center of the earth. There is also friction, and there is inertia, both containing opposition in their functioning. Commonly opposition is seen as something undesirable, but actually this is what creates change, movement redirection and newness. So when we look closer we discover that contrasting forces are at the same time complementary forces.

We want to work in our class with the analogy of water and stone, as an example of contrast that generates movement. This metaphorical view on movement and CI principles will lead us to practical understanding and organic embodiment of technicalities of Contact. It will help those that practice CI to rediscover, deepen and refresh their improvisation by revisiting movement patterns that became mechanical. And for those that come for the first time, or feel beginner, the class will offer an organic way to learn the CI basic principles of sharing the weight, rolling the point of contact, reaching, pouring, lifting, falling.

‘Same thing, new eyes’ or ‘Newness of the simple’.

ALON RITTER

Voice&Dance/ Con-Tango
ISRAEL

Alon Ritter is a certified Feldenkrais teacher. Contact-Improvisation, Tango and Voice & Movement Improvisation teacher. His unique methods and approach to movement & therapy have allowed him to travel around the world, leading workshops in Germany, London, Switzerland, Israel, Russia, Ukraine and Greece to name but a few.

http://www.alonritter.com/

Feldenkrais for dancers- “Awakening the Center” :
A feldenkrais awareness through movement class that will focus on the ability to move from our body’s center in a organic and elastic way. We will focus on floor work.

Con-Tango:
A class that will focus on the meeting points between this two amazing forms of dance. We will try to explore what can a contact dancer gain from the language and form of Tango.

david Rhein

DAVID RHEIN

Contact/ Massage
USA

David began singing and dancing in high school as a cast member in several musical theater productions. He deepened his interest in movement and performance arts at University where he also practiced Shotokan Karate. Later, in 2011 he began to practice Capoeira and Nia Dance, becoming a Nia Instructor in 2012. He also began his study of the healing arts in 2012 at the Devanadi School of Thai Yoga Bodywork in Minneapolis, MN. In 2013 he moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand to deepen his practice. The next two years were dedicated to bodywork study with many schools and masters, eventually leading into apprenticeship with Mike Tan of SEA Bodywork. During this time in Chiang Mai David also discovered Contact Improvisation and connected with the form immediately, recognizing its versatility and the potential for each dancer to integrate and incorporate their unique backgrounds into the dance.

Anatomical Chains in Action; exploring the intersection of bodywork and contact improv. 
 
In this workshop you will learn to therapeutically stretch, compress, and release myofascia which is binding and restricting your range of motion. We will discuss basic anatomy and the system of tensegrity, with exercises to gain more confidence in weight sharing, bone stacking, exploring the back space, challenging new range of motion, non-verbal communication, and finding total relaxation thru the pathway of the parasympathetic nervous system. Ultimately you will see how to create a more therapeutic and relaxing CI experience through activating and passifying the body’s internal spirals and natural tension systems.
Igor Halizev

Igor Halizev

Contemporary / Contact
Russia

Igor has been engaged in contemporary dance since 2006, his main interest being Contact Improvisation. He explores methods of integrating dancing with physical and movement practices from his earlier training, such as judo, aikido, capoeira and deep massage. After meeting the famous dancer and choreographer Frey Faust, he began actively studying his Axis Syllabus system and ways of applying the ideas and principles of Axis Syllabus in contact dance.

Co-founder and ideological inspirer of the research dance-movement project Nobody Knows Movement Theater (together with Sasha Dodo).

Initiator and co-leader of the laboratory of contact improvisation and related practices CiLabsUs (together with Sasha Dodo).

Creator and developer of the Inertial-Wave Movement practice, which incorporates elements and principles of the Axis Syllabus system adapted for daily independent training in limited space.

He teaches Contact Improvisation and Inertial Wave Movement at regular classes in Moscow and at various international festivals.

Rosalind Holgate Smith

Contact/ Contemporary
UK

Rosalind(UK) is a Dance Artist and Somatic Movement Practitioner. She creates immersive installations and performances for gallery and site-specific environments. She has been passionate about Contact Improvisation since encountering it as a student of Fine Art and Choreography at Dartington in 2009 and now teaches internationally. Besides Contact Improvisation her practice is informed by Body-Mind Centering, Authentic Movement and Skinner Release Technique. She holds a Masters degree in Dance, Creative Practice and is also a Yoga Teacher and Shaw method Swimming Instructor, which combines the Alexander Technique.

Website: Rosalind Holgate Smith

Sarantaki Sarantoula

SARANTAKI SARANTOULA

Contemporary/ contact
Greece

Born in Greece, living in Germany

Sarantoula is a freelance movement artist in the field of Improvisation and Contemporary Dance. She has worked as a performer, dance maker and teacher in Europe. She got introduced to dance through somatic principles and martial art – BMC, Yoga, Medical Qi Gong – which supports&allows her to develop an integrated body and kinaesthetic awareness. During her education in&at TIP- Bewegungs art, school for contemporary dance and improvisation, she expands her knowledge in Release Technique, Floor Work and Contact Improvisation. Her teaching integrates different movement approaches which focus on creating a playful, available ground where the body gains trust and articulates multiple layers of movement.

Website: Sarantaki Sarantoula

Guru Suraj

Contact/ Art
India

Guru Suraj, based in India, has been travelling and sharing Contact Improv throughout many places in India.
C.I. has become the central aspect of his work. 
While traveling Guru has been exposed to the vibrant creative milieu of musicians, 
dancers, painters and actors from all over the world.
 
He started practicing C.I. 9 years ago and hasn’t stopped since. 
Guru is the founder of the Contact Improv India Organization, which focuses on spreading Contact Improv around India and making it accesible for everybody.
One of the initiatives of C.I. is the exchange of cultures utilizing contact dance to reach as many people as possible.
He is also a member of the Goa Contact Festival, that has taken place annualy for the past 8 years. 
In addition to C.I., Guru has a BFA in Painting and MPhil in Yoga & Meditation studies.
Michelle Berrange

MICHELLE BERRANGE

Yoga
SOUTH AFRICA

Michelle has been teaching Yoga & Meditation full time since 2009. Her development as both teacher and practitioner has drawn on experience and inspiration and trainings from different styles of yoga over the many years. Michelle is inspired by the precision and alignment focus of Iyengar. She connects deeply with the authentic Hatha principles of action and non action and its traditional philosophy and spirituality.
A nomad who teaches in the UK, Europe, the USA and Africa, she has been based teaching and studying in India since 2014: deepening her wisdom in the ancient healing therapies of Yoga, Massage, the study of Ayurveda and the power of Dance.
“Yoga to support the Dance……”
Morning Yoga classes will be restorative in nature, especially working with postures to help ease compressions and tightness in the lower back, neck, and shoulders.

Website: Michelle Berrange

Mandy Ruangit

MANDY RUANGRIT

Contact/ Orga
THAILAND/AUSTRALIA

Mandy is driven by a desire to connect more deeply within herself and with other souls. An instinctive leader and community organizer, she regularly guides journeys of circling in sisterhood and new moon circles. In recent years Mandy discovered the joy of contact improvisation and has been playing and exploring in the world of CI as often as possible. She feels that CI offers a unique opportunity where we can peek to our world within, that CI is an inner reflection of our approach to our outer world. Contact is LIFE!! Mandy is trained in the healing modalities of Chi Nei Tsang (Chinese abdominal massage) and Therapeautic Thai Massage, including the use of ancient Thai massage tools to perform delicate and intricate myofascial release work. If you are curious to learn more, please ask her! She loves to share the experience of these ancient healing practices and offers one-on-one healing sessions.

Simona Baciu

Simona Baciu

Contact/ Contemporary
Romania

I am a performer, Contact Improvisation dancer, teacher and organizer of art events in Romania. I’m dancing since I was 3 years old and I have been travelling as a performer in Europe for more than seven years. Later I graduated Bucharest University of Theatre and Film. Teaching Contact Improvisation happened for the first time in Thailand. At home I organize events focused on development of fields like Contact Improvisation, Gaga, Axis Syllabus, Butoh, BMC and Sufi Whirling. I love to travel with friends and write when I am alone. Now I travel and teach Contact Improvisation.

Julie Sangha

Yoga
France

I am offering Ying Yang practice of yoga connected with chinese medecine gifts (techniques) as accupressure, sounds and differents warm up.

Mixing yin (passive) yang(active) energy bring balance in your body/mind/ soul.

Yulia Orlova

Yoga
Russia

Our teacher Julia Orlova (Durga) obtained her certification from the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres and teaches according to these traditions. 
 
Swami Vishnudevananda made the yogic teachings understandable and available to all by simplifying them into five points, showing specific ways to develop physical and mental health as well as spiritual growth through: proper exercise (Asanas), proper breathing (Pranayama), proper relaxation (Savasana), proper diet (vegetarian), positive thinking (Vedanta) and meditation (Dhyana).
 
The yoga every morning will help you to have light, strong and flexible body for your best contact dance! 
Irina Trippel

Irina Trippel

Contact / Guest Teacher
Germany

Irina is a cultural pedagogue, dancer and networker born in Kirgistan, based in Freiburg. Her passion
goes for collaborative projects that connect meaningful interaction with the body as an artist,
group sharing practices and various body-mind connecting practices.
A major interest of her is it to unite the necessary dialogue between feeling and thinking as well as
experiencing and reflecting.
She is practicing and researching within the field of human body language since 10 Years. Her
bachelor thesis „Contact Improvisation- percieving, moving and creating in relationships“ brought
her a deeper and wider understanding of the origin of the form.
And by now she is massively inspired to contribute to its continues shaping.