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CounterPULSE is building a movement of risk-taking art that shatters assumptions and builds community. We provide space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture.

Contact Improvisation Teacher Bios

Rossana Alves
Bianca Cabrera
Cathie Caraker
Daniel Bear Davis
Krista DeNio
Joe Edelman
Katarina Eriksson
Kristen Greco
Ralf Jaroschinski
Aaron Jessup
Vitali Kononov
Diana Lara
Utam Moses
Stuart Phillips
Antoine Ragot
Carmen Serber
Rajendra Serber
Carol Swann
Ronja Ver
Miriam Wolodarski
Ali Woolwich


Rossana AlvesRossana Alves, born and raised in Brazil, is a dancer, dance teacher and performer. She has been practicing Contact Improvisation for 13 years, teaching classes and participating in festivals in Brazil, Argentina and USA. Currently based in the Bay Area, she recently graduated from Moving On Center and has been studying at the School for Body-Mind Centering, as well as performing with Oakland Improv Collective.


Bianca Cabrera has been creating new dance work in California since 2010 and teaches weekly in West Oakland at Project Bandaloop (Technical Practice for the Adventurous Dancer) and in San Francisco at ODC (Pop Up Choreo). She is the Artistic Director of Blind Tiger Society, a contemporary dance band based out of Oakland, CA. Blind Tiger Society premiered their first evening of work, Sunk in Sleep, at CounterPULSE in August of 2012. Bianca began her training in ballet and Graham Technique at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Training at the Alvin Ailey School and the Martha Graham Center prefaced a BFA in dance at Cornish College of the Arts.


Cathie CarakerCathie Caraker has been practicing Contact Improvisation since the early 80’s, when she was introduced to the form by Nancy Stark Smith while a dance student in Amsterdam. A dance artist and teacher, she has developed a body of work that investigates movement through Body-Mind Centering®, dance improvisation and other creative and somatic disciplines. A life-long learner, she loves to share her passion for movement research and deep play through her teaching. She was on the faculty of the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam for over 10 years and has performed and taught her work across Europe and the Americas. She has collaborated with many inspiring artists including Katarina Eriksson, Ray Chung, Rosemary Hannon, Vitali Kononov, Henry Kaiser, Daniel Lepkoff and others. When at home in San Francisco, she helps to run the CounterPULSE jams and the WCCIJam festival.


Krista DeNio is a choreographer, director, performer, writer, & educator. She is committed to developing new forms of performance work, and evolving interdisciplinary thinking and creation within the fields of dance and theater. Her work attempts to address social issues we are grappling with, serving as a forum for opening dialogue, questioning, responding and learning together. She has been a practitioner of Contact Improvisation since 1998, and values the principles of C.I. on and off the dance floor, and recently has investigated issues of anti-racism and multiculturalism within the context and container of C.I. Krista has worked in the Bay Area, California, NYC, New Mexico, Western Mass, Colorado, and internationally and was recently the Executive & Artistic Director of Earthdance.


Daniel Bear Davis has been teaching and dancing CI and improvisational composition for 13 years. For 5 years his focus has been co-directing the dance theatre company, Shah and Blah Productions and performing with acrobatic stilt theatre company, The Carpetbag Brigade. He is currently an Axis Syllabus teacher candidate and his study with Frey Faust has been instrumental in developing the concepts that inform his CI practice in addition to his background as a bodyworker in myo-fascial release. His performance work has been presented in Estonia at The Imagining Bodies Symposium, at the SF International Arts Festival, and the SEEDS Festival and (with Kristen Greco) E|MERGE residency at Earthdance. Daniel has also performed with Felix Ruckert in Berlin, and on a suspended welded sphere with Copenhagen’s Live Art Installations (formerly Half Machine). He has performed full evening improvisations with Nita Little and Erika Tsimbrovsky in SF. His approach to CI is one of constant research into the expansion of range and choice.


Katarina ErikssonKatarina Eriksson has been involved with improvisational dance since 1989, collaborating with artists, such as Ray Chung, Cathie Caraker, and Swedish improvisation ensemble Floke. She teaches Contact Improvisation and other improvisational forms in Europe and the US, and curates the performance series Moments Notice in Berkeley since 2000. Recent performance endeavors are; touring in Sweden and Germany with improvisational folkdance troupe Hoppalappa, site-specific dancing with Siljeholm/Christophersen in Beirut, and directing multi-disciplinary performances in Massachusetts and New York.

 


Joe Edelman. High in the Himalaya, Mr. Joe Edelman first taught CI in the mountains of India. He’s been an adjunct professor in dance and once slapped Steve Paxton, inventor of contact improvisation, on the ass. He loves teaching undergrads, but his best students have been goats.


Sonsherée Giles
Sonsherée Giles is the Associate Artistic Director and dancer with AXIS Dance Company. Originally from New Orleans, LA she moved to the Bay Area to attend Mills College and receive her MFA in performance/choreography. Since 2005 AXIS has become a home for her where she can explore her passion for movement, push boundaries and work with extraordinary choreographers and dancers. Sonsherée has received an Isadora Duncan Award for ensemble performance of To Color Me Different choreographed by Alex Ketley. In 2010 she was honored to receive a Homer Avila Award for Excellence in the field of Physically Integrated Dance. She has toured and performed for audiences throughout the United States, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Russia and Austria and has taught contemporary dance in public school systems, universities, institutions and dance festivals throughout the country. Sonsherée makes dances based on observations of animals, landscapes, art history, and daily life experiences. She formed this sweet nothing as a container for her dance art and has been generously supported by Zellerbach Family Foundation, CLOROX Company Foundation, CA$H grant, and East Bay Fund for Individual Artists.


Kristen Greco
Kristen Greco has directed, performed, and taught internationally in Mexico, Canada, South America, and Europe both independently and with The Carpetbag Brigade since 2000. Kristen most recently performed with Syzygy Butoh (CO), Human Nature Dance Theatre (AZ), and Live Art Installations (Denmark). Kristen holds a BA in Studio Arts/Performance from University of Colorado and a somatic education certificate from Moving on Center’s School of Participatory Arts. Kristen serves as guest faculty at USF teaching CI and partnering techniques. Kristen’s current research includes how access to different perceptive lenses can affect our habits, somatic processes, and performance experiences.


Ralf JaroschinskiRalf Jaroschinski, born in Germany and raised in Brazil, was trained in classical, modern and contemporary dance techniques in Germany and New York City. He works as a freelance dancer, teacher and choreographer in the Americas, Europe and Asia since 25 years. He performed contact improvisation in scores designed by Brandin Steffensen (New York City) and Scott Wells (San Francisco) and has also produced and staged his own scores and entire dance concerts based on contact improvisation. He has been facilitating contact improvisation classes and workshops at various festivals, dance studios, schools and universities since over 10 years, and he has trained the members of the dance companies “Karen Peterson & Dancers” in Miami, the Peruvian “Compañía de ballet de Trujillo”, “Terpsicore Proyectos”, “Danza Viva”, and “Ballet San Marcos” in Lima, the Brazilian Curitiba Guaíra Ballet, the Swedish “GöteborgsOperans Danskompani”, and also the “Cullberg Baletten” in Stockholm in contact improvisation.


Aaron Jessup: A second-generation performing circus artist, Aaron first movement discipline was circus acrobatics, but his first movement love was contact improvisation, which he discovered in 1990 and began teaching 1997. Aaron has taught workshops and at festivals nationally and internationally, including at WCCIF (CA), Earthdance (MA), Contact Festival Freiburg (GER) and Contact In Rio (BRA). His classes are influenced by his eclectic background as a dancer, actor, acrobat, street performer, river guide, animal tracker and bodyworker. Aaron has performed with Pickle Family Circus, Make*A*Circus and the Izzy-Award winning Scott Wells & Dancers. A two-time recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship, Aaron recently received his MFA in Dramatic Art/Acting at UC Davis and is currently teaching at the Berkeley Rep School of Theater. Information about Aaron’s classes, along with his one-man show, Flying Dreams, can be found at http://www.aaronjessup.com.


Vitali Kononov is a movement artist, bodyworker and somatic movement educator, working with improvisation as a performance discipline, therapeutic tool and a contemplative practice. He was born in St-Petersburg, Russia, in 1966. He has been teaching contact improvisation since 1997 in Russia, Europe, USA and Mexico. His background includes contemporary dance, physical theater, contact and ensemble improvisation, Somatic Movement Therapy, Body-Mind Centering and yoga. He taught at Moving On Center – School for Participatory Arts and Somatic Research since 2002 and was a faculty member of American Dance Festival (2003-04). Vitali has a private bodywork and Somatic Movement Therapy practice in Berkeley, California.


Diana LaraDiana Lara is a teacher, choreographer and dancer from Honduras. She graduated from the choreography program of the Center for Research and Choreography at the Mexican Institute of Fine Arts and from the Somatic Research and Participatory Arts program at Moving On Center in Oakland. In 2011, she graduated from the Embodied Developmental Movement and Yoga program offered by the School of Body Mind Centering. Diana teaches dance based on somatic principles for women recuperating from drug abuse and domestic violence at Purple Moon Dance Project, and yoga for elders at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Since 1995, she has danced and choreographed for contemporary dance groups in Mexico and Honduras, participating in festivals in Mexico and Central America. She currently works as an independent artist developing projects based in the exploration of somatic elements and improvisation with performers in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Mexico.


touch meUtam Moses is a dancer, activist, and visual/performance artist. She is fascinated by the intersection of the geographic and the psychological, the breaking down, the imaginative and the untold. Her creative process has been greatly influenced by contact improvisation, Qi Gong, Amerta movement improvisation, and currently paratheatrical explorations. She completed her Master’s in Performance Studies at NYU, and is curious about the cultivation of deeper receptivity, disorientation, the subtle articulations of presence and agile shifts of state and story. She has recently performed with Body Research/Karl Frost, The Contact Project and The Doors Project in NYC, and has been a teaching assistant for contact improvisation classes at Juilliard and Indiana University, Bloomington. She is currently a member of Theater Together Now and co-founded Underneath Us, an experimental performance group centered around deeper social and political engagement through art and ritual.


Stuart Phillips is and has been devotionally performing and teaching improvisational contact dance for over 27 years throughout the US, Canada, New Zealand and Europe. He has been practicing, performing and teaching improvisational dance for over 33 years.  Find out more at http://stulip6.wix.com/stulips.


Antoine Ragot is a performer and creative elementary school, sports and movement teacher from France. The past few years he has been passionately involved in teaching contact improvisation on a weekly basis in Paris and increasingly throughout France. He trained intensively in multiple sports like judo, swimming and handball until the age of 18. A few years later, he ran into contact improvisation and immediately felt in love… and began exploring the path of becoming a dancer. After 2 years of sometimes hilarious sometimes slightly depressing daily training in contemporary dance with 5-15 year olds at the Conservatoire de Nantes, he finally discovered the Axis Syllabus community and research. This encounter brought back enthusiasm, progressively enabled him to heal from a long lasting back pain and continues to nourish his natural instinct for movement research.


Carmen SerberCarmen Serber is a German native and moved to the Bay Area in 2012. She traveled the world for several years: Dancing, learning, working and performing in Finland, Denmark and in the 2nd Himalayan Butoh Festival in India, 2011. She is a psychotherapist, dancer and a curious human being. She is one of the organizers of the West Coast Contact Improvisation Jam (WCCIJ). As a teacher Carmen is interested in facilitating a space where people can learn from each other. She is researching creative ways of developing one’s individual dance without being stuck in concepts. Her background in Axis Syllabus gives her a technical understanding of CI that informs her feedback. As a performer she enjoyed being part of her husband Rajendra Serber’s dance movie “Who Asked for It”. This year she created two solos: “skiing bird” and “milk”, has performed in Mary Armentrout’s “Life is strange” at Baker Beach and collaborated with Bianca Cabrera’s Blind Tiger Society in “Wreckage” and other projects. You can read more about her at planetcarmen.wordpress.com.


Rajendra SerberRajendra Serber was born in San Franciso and has presented choreography for stage and screen in his hometown and internationally. His work has been nominated for Isadora Duncan Awards and a Lester Horton Dance Award. As a performer he has collaborated with many wonderful artists including Scott Wells, The Residents, and Sara Shelton Mann. He was born the same year as Contact Improvisation and grew up wrestling as a playful and loving practice. Starting with his father, who was a national wrestling champion in Argentina. Since that time he has studied a variety of physical and energetic forms: Contact Improvisation, Release Technique, Alexander Technique, and Chi Gung. Some of his teachers have been Anna Halprin, Nita Little, Simone Forte, and Daniel Lepkoff. He is one of the organizers of the West Coast Contact Improvisation JAM (June 29 – July 3, wcciJAM.org). For films, teaching schedule and more see RJNDR.NET.


Carol Swann has been teaching voice, somatics (movement re-pattering & psychology), Alexander Technique, Authentic Movement, Contact and Performance Improvisation for 35 years in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Israel and Russia.  She is Co-Founder and Director of Moving On Center School of Participatory Arts and Somatic Education which links somatics and the performing arts for social change (1994-2013).  She is a registered movement therapist (RSMTsm) with a private practice in Somatic Psychology (blending Hakomi Method and Process Work) and the Alexander Technique.  She is a group process and conflict facilitator and weaves her extensive studies and practices in Social Somatics, Body-Mind Centering and Laban/Bartenieff into all of her work.  She has shared her dynamic, liberatory singing with groups of people internationally.  Her work is influenced by her parents Bob and Marj Swann, Steve Paxton, Bonnie Cohen, Arnold Mindell, Ron Kurtz, John Cage, Meredith Monk, Balkan Singing, nature, and the history and practice of liberatory politics.


Ronja Ver is a lover, explorer, performer and teacher of Contact Improvisation. Since 2000 she has taught both at festivals and in the academia, e.g. Freiburg Festival in Germany, American Dance Festival, Theater Academy in Helsinki, Prescott College, AZ, Hollins University, VA, Earthdance, MA, the West Coast CI Festival, and most recently she gave a week long intensive at the Finnish Contact festival Skiing On Skin. She has studied and worked with Contact Improvisation originators Steve Paxton and Nancy Stark Smith, and is much inspired by the continuous investigation of the form. Although technical, her classes offer an environment of learning that encourages improvisation, and supports the dancers in finding their own vocabulary within the dance. She loves to jam, which for her represents the heart of Contact Improvisation. When not dancing Contact, Ronja is kept busy with one year old Ainara, as well as dancing for Scott Wells and Dancers, Avy K Productions, and in other creative collaborations. Find out more about her at www.ronjaver.com


Miriam Wolodarski is a performance person based in San Francisco, California. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University, a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Uppsala Universitet, and a banana in her left hand. She believes in dance and performance as a contemplative practice for both creator and observer. Find out more about her at www.senseobject.com


Ali WoolwichAli Woolwich has been working in Contact Improvisation (CI) for 22 years, and has taught CI since 1996. Ali has produced workshops, live performance and media through HumilitySwim in the SF Bay Area, NYC, Seattle, and New Mexico. Ali teaches dance/performance in university, studio professional and recreational venues, and in years as a dance teacher has worked with professional dancers, children, gay teens, queer women and trans men, integrated classes of disabled and non-disabled dancers, and seniors. A Lighting Designer and Theatrical Electrician (union Local 16), Ali is a founding staff A/V Tech at CounterPULSE. Ali is Co-Director of CIRF: Contact Improvisation Research Forum, which provides year-round CI events and training (see: ci-rf.org). Ali credits Peggy Schwartz, Keriac, KJ Holmes and Karl Frost as primary CI teachers. Ali’s performance work and teaching is influenced by training as filmmaker and classical musician, and through 20 years of training in post-modern dance/theater, Release Techniques (Joe Goode Performance Group, Lower Left, Umo Ensemble, Kathleen Hermesdorf and Joan Skinner), yoga and massage practice. Currently, Ali is investigating queer tango as a source for partnering innovation. More info: www.humilityswim.org

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