17-22 September 2019

Underscore Meeting


A six-day immersion in the world of the Underscore

This 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 are curious to know more.


Ensemble Improvisation

The Underscore Meeting will be facilitated by Christine Mauch and Malcolm Manning who both began working with the Underscore during its formation 25 years ago.

Throughout the week, we will focus on developing our ability to dance together as a group – ensemble improvisation. We will do this by taking care of ourselves, each other and our environment.

We will also offer some practices from our own work that we consider supportive to the Underscore. There will be no teaching of CI technique.

The Menu

We will adjust the schedule as we go. We will offer:

  • at least one Underscore practice each day
  • open-ended jamming
  • practices to support the Underscore
  • facilitated talks
  • spontaneous self-organised activities
  • a silent day
  • an open evening

A constant theme will be how our quality of attention dancing can be brought into sharing the life together. We 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 the ease and richness of each practice . 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 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
An Emergent Underscore: a conversation with Nancy Stark Smith, London
Global Underscore with Nancy Stark Smith
Malcolm Manning – Some thoughts on Nancy Stark Smith’s UnderScore
Malcolm ManningOn teaching Contact Improvisation


We, Monica, Samuel and Surya, invite you to Quinta Braz – an original country side house nestled in typical Portuguese farmland at the Algarve coast close by Faro. 

We have been building in new ways, with respect for the tradition, our grandfather’s farm into an organic ecological home. This two weeks gathering gives us time to be together connecting with nature and being part of the country side life during the blessed harvesting time of September.

Next Airport is Faro/ Portugal. Easy Jet & Ryan Air offer roundtrip from big cities in Europe for economical prices of about € 160 . From the airport you can take a taxi (35€) or Bus to Tavira and then a taxi (15€). 

We are very exited you are coming and make this happen with us. Its going to be a very international group of dancers. All teachers, musicians, cooks, helpers, special helpers, organisers and hosts alike preparing to be ready for you when you come.

In order to make it a smooth and lovely gathering we ask you to organise and communicate your journey well. Please read the follwing information carefully and feed back to us if something changed in your plans! 


Quinta Braz, Sitio da Igreja, 156-c, Santo Estevao 8800-506

Google coordinates 37°07'26.3"N 7°43'11.8"W

IMPORTANT TO BRING, FOR EVERYONE (as well those sleeping in the house):

-light jacket and sweater nights can get chilly in September

-biological shampoo


-a bottle (to be filled with drinking water)

-Towls for swimming.


-Bathing suite, Bikini etc.



People in rental tents, tents and camper please bring aditionally;

-your own dishes, plate, bowl, cup

-knife, falk, spoon etc.

-cushion to sleep


People in own tents please bring aditionally;

-sleeping bag (and bedsheet)




Its about time to buy your flight or train ticket.

You can arrive to the gathering grounds for the Festival 9-15 Sept. If you coming for the Underscore Meeting please make sure you arrive ONLY on 17th Sep until 4 pm. You should not come a day before. For those joining both events its possible to stay during pause time 15 afternoon - 17th morning in the venue.


You need to leave the gathering grounds the day your CI Festival or Underscore Meeting ends. Thats September 15th for the CI Festival and September 22nd for the Underscore Meeting.



Make sure you send your deposit of € 100 for each booked event is paid. We can not hold your place if you didnt confirm buy paying the deposit. Some of you coming from far away and we made an agreement that sending us a copy of your flight ticket it is the confirmation.


CI Festival Monday 9th Sept  2 p.m. Underscore Meeting Tuesday 17th Sep 2p.m. Bring the rest of the fee in cash to your registration.


We recommend to rent cars and be open for sharing them. It will be self organized. If you have the possibility to rent one please do it and we share later a list to be able to get in touch with each other.

You have to take care of your valuables all time by your own. Best is not to bring unessesary valuables like Labtops, expensive cameras. We can lock up valuables in the house, which you can get only during a special time a day. There is Internet, but its slow!

Use this days to live the new luxury of being UNPLUGGED and RELAX competely

For more information and conversation please use this mail.



Vegetarian food prepared by local cooks with daily fresh vegetables from market in Tavira.

Rental Tent

Single occupation

Contact Dance Camp Algarve Portugal


Bell Tent, Couple occupation

Rundzelt zu zweit




single bed in double room


€ Regular Price, incl three meals a day. With your own tent or camper van.

€ Rental Tent, single occupation

€ Mattress in Dormitory

€ pp Bell Tent, couple occupation

€ Bed in Double Room 


 Regular Price includes all program, accommodation in own tent, breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. You also can get a rental tent, or rent a bed in a room in our Villa. 

alfarroba room
Portuguese Villa

Meet Your Facilitators

Malcolm Manning Contact Improvisation

Malcolm Manning

researcher, educator, mentor and artist. In my classes, I share my inquiry of what it is to be a thinking, feeling, moving subject in this world through developing a dialogue with ourselves and our environment in which we are empowered to be our own experts. I specialise in teaching the application of somatic approaches to contemporary dance practices and teach courses in both the Danish and Finnish national schools of dance. I’m also interested in how this work can be applied wider society. I am certified to teach the Feldenkrais Method® and the Body And Earth work developed by Andrea Olsen and Caryn McHose. I studied for two years at SNDO Amsterdam and have an MA in Dance Pedagogy. I also made extensive studies of Contact Improvisation, Authentic Movement, Movement Shiatsu, Body Mind Centering and experiential anatomy. I have danced Contact Improvisation since 1991 and was part of the group of regular students who studied with Nancy Stark Smith throughout the 1990s while she was developing what eventually became known as the UnderScore.  

Christine Mauch Contact Improvisation Berlin

Christine Mauch

The deeply personal sense of perception and how it gets expressed in texture, rhythm, form, imagination, vitality never ceases to inspire me. How each of us is making sense of what is going on, how we engage with ourselves and the environment. What are the fine negotiations constantly necessary to honor definition and responsability as well as freedom of choice? My background involves both dance and body work. Holding a degree in physiotherapy and being a certified Zen Shiatsu practitioner, I studied Body-Mind Centering, Yoga, the work of Gindler/Jacoby, experiential anatomy and Authentic Movement. My teaching and practise draws on this intense research and reflections in the field of movement and  awareness, and a firm belief and joy in improvisation in all areas of life. I was invited to teach intensives at the CI Festival Freiburg, Contact Meets Contemporary, and In Touch Berlin, and share a long history of teaching and organising different formats for the study and practice of dance, keeping both content and context alive. Like Malcolm I was part of the group of regular students who studied with Nancy Stark Smith throughout the 1990s while she was developing what eventually became known as the UnderScore.

Baptiste Sejourne

Baptiste Sejourne

Baptiste Sejourne is a lifelong musician playing the guitar, drums, violin and cello. Over the past 10 years, he’s been dedicated to the electric cello, developing a specialised technique for building loops with special effects. Baptiste has performed in festivals around the world including the Contact Improvisation Festival and Bali Spirit Fest. Embodying music in all forms, he’s also a dancer, teaching contact improvisation and organising dance events. Most of his music is played from improvisation for Ecstatic dance and is a mix between electronic, ambient, world and classical. His music evokes a sense of serenity and presence. Baptiste is available to play electronic cello and DJ at Ecstatic dance events.

Explore the World of Forgotten Land