CounterPulse is proud to host the longest running contact improv jam in the Bay Area! 25 years going strong. Each Tuesday evening features a focused or thematic class from 6:30PM-8PM followed directly by a jam, which lasts until 11:30PM. Attendees are welcome to attend one or both, and both are open for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. The class and teacher rotates each month.

Claire with crutches, standing on top of Jess lying down on the floor. Audience looking on.

Pictured: Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis, Photo by Robbie Sweeny

February Class: Precision Contact

Contact Improvisation is an improvisational dance form utilizing physical principles such as touch, momentum, gravity, friction, resistance, counterbalance, lifting and falling. Primarily practiced as a duet form, Contact trains the senses and reflexes to allow for nuanced communication through touch,  and the playful interaction of weight and momentum in space.  The dancers work at the speed of reflex, tuned to the speed of falling.[1]


I’ll be teaching an accessible skills-based Contact Improvisation workshop for movers of all levels that want to increase the awareness and precision in their dance.  We will address and practice 1) sustaining a clear point or points of contact.  2) the modulation of speed and pressure, 3) control during inversion, supporting and riding, 4) sensitivity to the floor, 5) integration of multiple foci, and 6) extending the variety of qualities in your dancing and your ability to move easily and intentionally between them. People of diverse physicalities are welcome and encouraged to attend.  Please contact me if you have questions or require particular access accommodations.

[1] Paraphrased from Steve Paxton.


February Teacher: Jess Curtis

Jess Curtis is an award-winning choreographer and performer committed to an art-making practice informed by experimentation, innovation, critical discourse and social relevance at the intersections of fine art and popular culture. Curtis has created and performed multidisciplinary dance theater throughout the U.S., Europe with seminal group Contraband, the radical performance collective CORE and the experimental French Circus company Cahin-Caha, Cirque Batard. From 1991 to 1998 he co-directed the ground-breaking San Francisco performance venue 848 Community Space with Keith Hennessy and Michael Whitson. In 2000, Curtis founded his own trans-continental performance company, Jess Curtis/Gravity, based in Berlin and San Francisco. In 2011 he was presented the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts for choreography. Curtis is active as a writer, advocate and community organizer in the fields of contemporary dance and performance, and teaches Dance, Contact Improvisation and Interdisciplinary Performance for individuals of all abilities throughout the US and Europe. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of the Arts in Berlin. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies  from the University of California at Davis.


An art space for contact and improvisation, experimentation and inquiry. Tuesday nights jams are a focused forum for movers and shakers: experimentation is welcome, be it in physical, sociological, performative, or compositional realms. Each improvisor is responsible for their own choices. Each jam is cooked up by those who show up.



  • Class: 6:30PM-8PM, Jam: 8PM-11:30PM
  • All levels, including beginners
  • Classes are drop-in, no RSVP necessary
  • In the upstairs studio at CounterPulse, ring the doorbell for entrance
  • $15 Single Class, $5 Single Jam, $18 for both