Global Underscore 2020 Vision
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).
Due to the passing of Nancy Stark Smith (NSS), the creator of the Underscore, on May 1, 2020, we dedicate GUS 2020 to her. We will honor Nancy is by having an In-Depth Underscore Talk-Through on 13 June 2020, 14:00–16:00 UTC (10:00 am–12:00 pm EDT) and a Global Underscore Meta-Sharing on 27 June 2020, 14:00–16:00 UTC (10:00 am–12:00 pm EDT) in addition to our practice on 20 June. (London Contact Improvisation is donating the Zoom membership for these events!)
We will continue to organize our dancing around GUS sites. Given COVID-19, most people will be connecting through Zoom (video conferencing app) to these virtual Zoom sites. 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 “home-base” 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 (registration closed) was 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 Options for Participation (maybe levels of participation is a better phrase!): Full Score Practice and Modified Score Jam and then the 3rd option, 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 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 even 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.
The Global Underscore Meta-Sharing, 27 June 2020, 14:00–16:00 UTC (10:00 am–12:00 pm EDT) is a space to share further experiences from our GUS 2020 practice, to discuss about the Underscore, and to tell stories about Nancy Stark Smith.
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