Somatic Survival Strategies #3

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Online workshop taught by karen nelson and mayfield brooks

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Tuning and Decomposing dance in the inverse (fizz for short)

with karen nelson and mayfield brooks

November 20-22, 2020

​A workshop exploring fissure (an opening) ​& fission (the act of splitting into two or more parts, while releasing energy.)

"….we enter the fissure to be within the fission….”


November 20, 2020 from 3-6pm EST // 12-3pm PST (Drop ins welcome!)

November 21 + 22, 2020 from 1-4pm EST // 10am-1pm PST

Participants may attend Friday only, Saturday + Sunday only, or may sign up for the full 3 day workshop.

In “fizz” mayfield and karen will hold the space together as each guides specific workshops within:

DE-composing dance and choreographing breath with mayfield brooks

​What is your understory and how do you de-compose dance? In this workshop we will dance, move and breathe alongside social and ecological decomposition processes--body/society/body/earth--as we live in quarantine, in small apartments, on Zoom, in homes, gardens, city parks, on occupied land, on the streets, and in the midst of global Black Lives Matter uprisings. How do we move and breathe in a pandemic that continually takes our breath away? How do we acknowledge the decomposed matter of Black life? How can we dance with and through an embodied decomposition process by exploring disorientation, dissent, disorder, wildness, earth, ocean, forest, ground, rest and repair? Improvising While Black (iwb) invites participants to de-compose into the forest floor and become a part of the understory. Come as you are.


mayfield brooks improvises while black, and is currently based in brooklyn, new york on lenapehoking land, the homeland of the lenape people. mayfield is a movement-based performance artist, vocalist, urban farmer, writer, and wanderer. they are currently an artist in residence at the center for performance research (cpr) and abrons arts center in new york city/lenapehoking, is faculty at movement research nyc and the editor-in-chief of the movement research performance journal. mayfield teaches and performs practices that arise from their life/art/movement work, improvising while black (iwb). Image below by Malcom-x Betts.

Tuning in Unison with karen nelson

I see you. I feel you. I join you. I see and feel what you are offering. I show you that I see you. Do you feel seen by me, and me by you? BEGIN! What can we learn by tuning beyond what we expect or rely on in ourselves? Tuning Scores, is a unique system (originated by Lisa Nelson) that communicates choreographies of desire, giving, and receiving each other’s notions during the play of improvisation. Our embodied perceptions open to the field of exchange in a collective collaboration. Tuning, a site specific practice, adapts to online collaboration in a surprisingly satisfying way.


karen nelson, dancer/choreographer, performer, teacher and organizer, co-taught with mayfield brooks and Ray Chung a life changing 6-day residential workshop called FISSURE (2019) that reverberates with its powerful anti-racist vision and action. karen interrogates whiteness within her own embodiment and larger community continually moving towards fully respecting each being’s experience and identity location. Across decades she has instigated annual dance events investigating access, research and improvisation while touring widely. At the start of social distancing in March, she moved her long practice of Tuning Scores (developed with Lisa Nelson and Image Lab throughout the 1990’s) onto zoom. Now, during this poignant transition for the dance journal Contact Quarterly, karen is a part of the editor team for CQ’s on-line blog format Rolling Edition.

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