“Dive” into Ecological Awareness by Improvising Under Water

Contact and Flow Festival

March 3rd-17th, 2024 – Bacalar, México

By: Lucas Carravetta

Image from https://www.contactandflow.com/

Just four hours beneath Cancún’s wild party scene, along the calm shores of a freshwater lagoon, international improvisers will gather once again to jam under water.

Contact and Flow, a unique company spearheading innovative approaches to contact improvisation, is gearing up to host its annual festival in the beautiful backdrop of Bacalar, México. Scheduled from March 3 to 17, 2024, this series of workshops led by international facilitators offers participants a somatic approach to movement training, while immersing them in the embrace of endangered nature.

Sn image of Bacalar Lagoon

Image from https://uprootedtraveler.com/bacalar-lagoon/

Nicknamed “Laguna de los Siete Colores” or “Lagoon of Seven Colors,” Bacalar’s shoreline provides a helpful backdrop for contact improvisation. With its crystal-clear aquamarine waters and white limestone bottom, the lagoon offers an ideal temperature for explorations in movement. Along with their ongoing permission to submerge in this majestic lagoon, the festival will curate a wide variety of movement activities for its participants that explore the profound connections between body, water, and earth.

Their overarching goal is to create a community space that not only provides technicalities of contact improvisation, but also encourages ecological consciousness and embodied connection. Thus, the highlight of this festival is certainly the Bacalar lagoon—an endangered ecosystem that holds several tree species currently threatened by extinction. As a result, participants who encounter the lagoon are encouraged not only to discover personal connections with the water, but to consider their relationship with regeneration and protection of ecosystems. Headlining this goal is Contact and Flow’s ethos “artivism,” which encapsulates their holistic approach of allowing artistic practitioners to develop movement skills and sensitively engage with the realities of eco-social crises.

Embedded within their philosophy lies an imperative discovery of infinite play. By engaging in profound contact with water, their participants strive to rekindle their relationship with this vital fluid by witnessing the way it dances and unlocking boundless possibilities for play when interacting with other bodies. These unique approaches of play align with the coveted “flow” state that all improvisers strive to attain in their practice, and are particularly pertinent for dancers in this case.

Image from https://www.contactandflow.com/

A variety of facilitators from Mexico, Ecuador, Germany, Italy, and Spain, provide guidance while working in these amphibious settings, and share their expertise in three segments over the course of a fourteen-day festival.

  • Pre-Workshop (March 3-6): This phase encompasses an intensive program focused on the technical principles of contact improvisation.
  • Immersion (March 7-13): Here, participants embark on a journey from land to water, engaging in five full days of contact improvisation and water dance workshops. They will delve into somatic exploration, deep ecology discussions, and even traditional sweat lodge ceremonies known as “Temazcal”.
  • Post-Workshop (March 14-17): In the final phase of the festival, facilitators lead participants in a three-day exploration of freediving, weightlessness, and deep dance.

Image from https://www.contactandflow.com/

Yet, in between their lessons in contact improvisation, participants are encouraged to envision a more symbiotic relationship with the planet. So, perhaps Contact and Flow might not just be a festival, but also a call to action. As participants gather on the shores of Bacalar, they spark a journey of self-discovery, ecological awareness, and collective transformation.

For more information about the festival, visit Contact and Flow’s website here: https://www.contactandflow.com/