Contact Improvisation Global Archive (CIGA)

“What CI materials exist and where can they be found?”

The goal of the Round Robin Project’s Contact Improvisation Global Archive project (CIGA) is the creation and development of a digital archival structure that lists (and in some cases houses) materials addressing diverse subject areas within Contact Improvisation.

We envision the CI Global Archive as nonhierarchical and multilingual, offering a source for information and inspiration by making materials about CI known, categorized, searchable, and thereby available. Once the structure of the CIGA website is set up, a platform will immediately exist for sharing resources and making materials easily searchable.

Anyone will be welcome to list their CI materials in the Archive database (and eventually upload some of them, space permitting) by entering the information directly into the CIGA website or through links on collaborating CI websites.

Through the synergy of collaboratively gathering materials, we wish to foster research, critical discourse, a spirit of inquiry and curiosity, and inspire further production of information, supporting the ongoing development of CI.

From an archive to an anarchive to

The vision of creating a global sharing place on the Internet for CI calendar and archival material emerged from CI36, Contact Improvisation’s 36th Anniversary event in 2008, at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, US. The initial team investigating this vision included Eckhard Mueller, Nancy Stark Smith, and Dieter Heitkamp.

Numerous individuals have joined the team for periods of time, contributing their expertise and commitment to the project, including Tinu Hettich (who introduced the idea of a “round robin”-style of sharing information), Colleen Bartley, Norbert Pape, Martin Huelse; and more recently Defne Erdur and Emma Bigé.

In March 2012 Nancy Stark Smith (Contact Quarterly), Dieter Heitkamp (University for Music and Performing Arts Frankfurt am Main) and Norbert Pape met and exchanged with other archive projects (Motion Bank, Siobhan Davies Archive, Pina Bausch Archive…) in the framework of the 3rd Dance Education Biennale 2012 Frankfurt am Main. Colleen Bartley and Dieter Heitkamp participated in the European Video Dance Heritage Conference 2013 and continuously share the project in other dance events.

In 2018, Emma Bigé joined the Round Robin Project team and obtained a Research and Archive Grant from the Centre National de la danse in Pantin, France, for a project entitled Anarchive internationale du Contact Improvisation [Contact Improvisation Global Anarchive]. This new “anarchical” orientation for the archives underlines the idea of Contact Improvisation being a movement form to which anyone can contribute; its archives should be structured similarly.

After the passing of Nancy Stark Smith and the bequeathment of her archive to the New York Public Library, Dieter Heitkamp, Emma Bigé and Defne Erdur (who had joined the Round Robin Projecy Team in 2018 and contributed to the realization of CI Global Calender ) gathered again to ask themselves the question: what kind of archive would three queerdos from Germany, France and Turkey make if they were to retrace their lineages in the practice of Contact Improvisation? Meaning: if they were to look at ancestors working with social justice, queer & feminist frames & consent practices? At a moment of global turmoil, in the midst of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movements, it became urgent to celebrate the runaway and fugitive tendencies that have been a motor in Contact Improvisation's development. And so instead of starting Global, the anarchive decided to delve in the minor, and celebrate the insurgent and activists trends of Contact Improvisation herstories.

This resulted in the creation, in 2022, of the, “a web- and practice-based archival project that investigates the counter-hegemonic potentials and wayward histories of Contact Improvisation,” which is still ongoing and open to contributions.

If you are interested in joining the team, you can contact Emma Bigé.