Improvisation & Contact Improvisation

Photos by Timothy L. Richards

I began performing improvisation since 1985 in solo and ensemble, on-stage and off-stage with a dynamic range of artists. Contact information entered my life in 1986.

Selected Performances:


Total Support System: a performance AKA support for water bugs is different. As guest artist with Lower Left. Performers: Andrew Wass, Anya Cloud, Karen Schaffman, Leslie Scates, Margaret Sunghe Paek, Marion Ramírez, Nina Martin with music by Loren Kiyoshi Dempster at Critical Mass CI @50, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH.


Contact Improvisation performance, for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies at UC Riverside. With: Nicole Carr, Anya Cloud, Justin Morrison, Makisig Salcines, Karen Schaffman and Cornelius Stringer.


The Chameleon Complex (CSUSM Experiment #1). Concept and composition with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. At OFF-Centre: the annual spring dance concert, San Marcos, CA. With: Kevin Benitez, Xochitl Garnica, Alex Maravilles, Emilia Medina, Raelene Pellos, Karen Schaffman, Cornelius Stringer. Rehearsal Direction: Anya Cloud. Music Composition & Performance: Malesha Taylor. Costume Collaboration: The Ensemble and Jelonna Byers.


Action Movie, with BODYCARTOGRAPHY PROJECT, directed by Olive Bieringa. SFMOMA, San Francisco, performed as part of the Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules exhibition with Margit Galanter, Justin Jones, Diana Lara, Joy Cosculluela. Kevin Lo, Karen Schaffman and Rebecca Haseltine.


Glimpse 3: PERFORMANCE INSTALLATIONS of the UNDERSCORE. Directed by Nancy Stark Smith, at Velocity DFounders Theatre, Seattle, WA. Collaborators: Jun Akiyama, ANya CLoud, Katherine Cook, Yeong Wen Lee, Rachel Lincoln, Blake Nellis, Karen Schaffman, Nancy Stark SMith, Brandin Steffensen, Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot, Mike Vargas and Ronja Ver.

2007 – 2015

LIVE. Weekly Thursday morning practices from which emerged performances throughout Southern California, Tijuana, Mexico and Landau, Germany. With constellations of artists including: Kristopher Apple, Dina Apple, Liam Clancy, Anya Cloud, Ron Estes, Eric Geiger, Allyson Green, Jess Humphrey, Justin Morrison, Blair Robert Nelson, Mary Peterson (Reich), Karen Schaffman, Leslie Seiters and Yolande Snaith.

1994 – 2006

LOWER LEFT. Lower Left dance collective, founded by Nina Martic, Mary Reich, Karen Schaffman and Jane Blount, hosted and produced workshops and performances. Available Space was an ongoing series of ensemble improvisation performances. Among the many remarkable guest artists: Simone Forti, Mary Overlie, Paul Langland, Red Fish Blue Fish (music ensemble) and the Taco Shop Poets. Lower Left also produced season Process Works, a seasonal works-in-progress event with Sushi Performance & Visual Art. We also hosted day, evening, and intensive workshops based in improvisation, contacts improvisation, and creative research.