Global Underscore Mission | 2021 Vision & Events
The GLOBAL UNDERSCORE (GUS) is a yearly event in which the Underscore is practiced simultaneously for a 4-hour period by people all over the world near the summer solstice (northern hemisphere).
In addition, GUS’s expanded mission is: to support Underscore, Contact Improvisation, Contact Quarterly (CQ), and the legacy of Nancy Stark Smith on a global level.
We dedicate GUS to Nancy Stark Smith (NSS), the creator of the Underscore, who passed on 1 May 2020.
Our 2021 events: (Registration coming in April 2021!)
- In-Depth Underscore Talk-Through: 12 June 2021, time TBA
- GUS Practice: 19 June 2021, 14:00–18:00 UTC (10:00 am–2:00 pm EDT)
- GUS Meta-Sharing: 26 June 2021, time TBA
We will continue to organize our dancing around GUS sites. Given COVID-19, many people will be connecting through Zoom (video conferencing app). Some will have outdoor and even indoor sites as well – either with or without Zoom. If you are dancing through Zoom, we suggest you connect with a local site in your region, yet we have this incredible opportunity to connect to any site in the world, so that is your choice.
In addition, a “Catch-All” Zoom will be available for anyone around the world to join, if you did not have a regional Zoom near you, or if you had a desire to be part of this instead of your regional Zoom.
The site options (inside/outside, Zoom/no Zoom, open/closed) are in addition to the 3 main Levels for Participation: Full Score Practice and Modified Score Jam and then the 3rd level, a solo Satellite, a solo person who can only tune in GUS a little, who is not dancing at a in-person or Zoom Site.
We suggest that dancers use the Underscore practice of Zooming, telescoping your awareness in and out – e.g. to a sensation; to the dancers at your site, to any quality/focus that arises or that you choose; to all of the GUS dancers around the world! …Ahah — a coincidence — Zooming in 2 different ways!
If you choose to do an outdoor or indoor GUS, make sure your laws/guidelines permit it and you practice whatever the safety guidelines are. These may include “physical distancing”, staying apart from each other an appropriate distance, wearing a mask, excusing yourself from participation if you are sick, using hand sanitizer, and doing any other safety procedures that your facilitator recommends. Though, in some places, touch will be ok.
We suggest that each site has a Zoom. You will contact the site facilitator for the Zoom link. We will not publish them for safety reasons. As a dance participant, please register with the site(s) that you wish to participate with — in advance.
To focus for 4 hours is a long time, particularly using Zoom. We will have suggestions in the Facilitator Packet on how to connect and to have dance relationship with Zoom (such as going away from it a lot!). Use the time to be in embodied space. “You are always in” (NSS) — no matter what you do. Use the time to dance/meditate/write/be with your individual and the “group” experience in regards to CI, improvisation, the Underscore, and the teachings of Nancy.
David Koteen: If you were to fantasize—in your dream of dreams—the effect of CI on Western culture, what will you project?
Nancy Stark Smith:
Flexibility (improvisation) based on a direct sense of being on the physical earth, in your physical body;
communicating with respect, intelligence, curiosity, compassion, humor, and love across boundaries
(race, language, ideology, dance form, cultures, subcultures, generations).
Clarity, confidence, risk, respect.
And more: cooperation, imagination, vitality.
High art play, adventure in work, responsibility, and humor.
A sense of independence and interdependence.
from Caught Falling: The Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas
by David Koteen and Nancy Stark Smith
The GLOBAL UNDERSCORE (GUS) in 2020 could not have happened without all the enthusiasm of its dancers and site organizers. The GUS coordinators also are very thankful for the financial contributions from the sites and individuals that make GUS possible. Donors listed below.
Triade Tanzforum e.V.
April Butcher, Chicago Contact Improvisation
Bonn, Germany GUS site, Tanja Striezel
Danse Orée des Bois
Florence, MA USA site
Hong Kong GUS site
Ian D Allen
Jo Dorado, GUS website genius
London Contact Improvisation
Marlene M Wong
Nancy Stark Smith
Sebas van Wetten
Sze Wei Chan
Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands GUS site (Kees Lemmens)
Thank you, Thank you!