Underscore Meeting 17-22 September

Facilitated by Christine Mauch (GER) and Malcolm Manning (UK), live music Baptiste Sejourne (FR)


This six days immersion in the world of Underscore is an opportunity to dance contact improvisation and practice, study and develop how we play together in the container offered by Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore.

We welcome anyone already familiar with contact improvisation, both those who are already engaged with the Underscore, or maybe have heard about it or met it somewhere and are curious to know more. Throughout the week, we focus on developing our ability to dance together as a group. We do this by taking care of ourselves, each other and our environment. There will be no teaching of CI technique.

The week will be facilitated by Christine Mauch and Malcolm Manning, two experienced practitioners who both began to work with the Underscore 25 years ago during its formation. They will also offer some practices from their own work that they consider supportive to the Underscore.



Rather than setting the whole programme in advance, we will adjust the schedule according to the needs of the group as we go. We will offer:

  • at least one Underscore practice each day
  • open-ended jamming
  • practices to support the Underscore
  • facilitated talks including an introduction to the Underscore
  • time and varied spaces for spontaneous self-organised activities
  • a silent day
  • an open evening practice for local dancers to join us


A constant theme will be how the quality of listening, attention to sensation and self-observation can be brought into sharing the life together when not dancing. This way, we also think of the week as offering an experience of improvisational community living.


More about the Underscore

The Underscore was developed by Nancy Stark Smith as a container in which to practice and research dancing contact improvisation and other associated phenomena. It is a group score that we each negotiate as individuals. The score is written in the form of a list of phases – each represented by a name and a graphic symbol. These days it is typically introduced by being talked through for about an hour before being danced. Studying the Underscore with Nancy offers a different experience. There is the deepening into the practice that repetition over days or weeks offers. And the possibility to get to know and develop history with others in the group. She also offers a number of supporting practices that allow us to study and sharpen particular behaviours that enhance the Underscore, and gives time to reflect on and share with each other about our our experiences.

As familiarity with each other and the Underscore grows, so does an ease and richness of practice where the Underscore becomes less a sequential set of rules to de followed but more a container with a common language that allows us to research together the consequences within a group of our individual freedom to act; what we create together. It is in this spirit that Christine and Malcolm offer this week of dancing with the Underscore.


More resources

Nancy Stark Smith on the Underscore from her web site – https://nancystarksmith.com/underscore/

An Emergent Underscore: a conversation with Nancy Stark Smith, London – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzG609NWp1Y

Global Underscore with Nancy Stark Smith – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOGLMZdm2uA

Malcolm Manning – Some thoughts on Nancy Stark Smith’s UnderScore – http://movetolearn.com/wordpress_2016/index.php/2009/01/01/some-thoughts-on-nancy-stark-smiths-underscore/

A week-long immersion in the world of the Underscore in a contained and supportive rural environment. 

Registration closed!

Price – € in own Tent, – € in rental Tent, – € mattress in dorm, – € pp. in bell tent, couple occupation– € bed in the Farmhouse.