Contact meets Waterdance Gathering

In the CI meets Waterdance Gathering we are working with experiential somatic disciplines we explore inner and outer states, discovering where movement arises. With practices to enliven the sense and develop our somatic communication skills, we experiment with movement and touch in a safe, held container. We invite the healing elements of nature into our research through exercises on the beach. An evolutionary journey from water, to land & onto the dance floor!

Arambol Beach, Goa

Welcome to our movement oasis, located at Arambol Beach, North Goa, India. Built by the community, for the community; Forgotten Land is where we come to learn, play, and connect. Our unique ocean-side dance floor is the perfect place to sing, dance, and perform together.

In the Contact meets Waterdance Gathering we explore and celebrate Contact Improvisation, Waterdance and Experiental Anatomy. We allow our senses to enliven, investigate our moving, touching and relating bodies and invite the nurturing elements of nature to support our practices.

In this one week journey we explore movement and touch in water and on land. With and without partners we practice somatic awareness, explore developmental and evolutionary movement patterns as well as other elements inspired by Body-Mind-Centering and wonder how that informs our Contact Improvisation dances in different environments.

The individual and the group process will be supported by other practices such as Singing, Sharing and Authentic Movement.

Why go into the water?

Evolutionary and developmentally we are all coming from the water. The water in our bodies makes up to 70 % of our body weight and also 70 % of the planet is covered with water. So, water plays an important role in our life. Going back to the water in a somatic awareness and dance context can help us to reconnect to this element, to its qualities, its sensations and can enrich and inspire our movement experience.

For us, the richest inspirations from moving and being moved in water is remembering softness and permeability in the body as well as three-dimensionality, slowness, lightness, effortless flow. The water gives us the chance to establish a state of being rather than doing. Being surrounded by water can also be very comforting and healing.

The dance journey we have created starts in the water – inspired by the evolutionary and the developmental movement process we have gone through as human infants. This particular exploration of the movement patterns is inspired by a somatic practice called Body-Mind-Centering which is brought into the world by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. During the week we will alternate the sessions in the water with the sessions on the land. Exploring how the moving and touching in the different environments inform each other. Eventually we will land in the world of gravity, weight and structure.

We wish to create a safe container where we can integrate the qualities of the water as well as the earth into our body-mind and also inviting a sense of innocent playfulness, curiosity, lightness and joy.

Who are we?

The Contact meets Waterdance Gathering is mainly facilitated by Marielle Gerke, Dolores Dewhurst Marks and Vega Luukonen. Dolores Dewhurst Mark and Marielle Gerke will hold the space in the Water-Beach-Motion sessions and the Somatics into Contact Improvisation sessions which have an explorative character working on the qualities and sensations of the movements. Vega Luukonen will facilitate Authentic Movement and the Contact Improvisation classes which look more on the useful technical aspects of the form and that will feed and support the explorations in the other sessions and vice versa. Matthieu Panassie is supporting the journey with his beautiful and touching Singing Circles.

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Early Bird Price: €320

Cost of Event: €350

Indian Nationals Early Bird: INR 17.000

Indian Nationals Cost: INR 18.500

What's Included:

• Contact Improvisation
• Somatics Practices
• Waterdance
• Beach-Ocean Sessions
• Ritual & Music
• Daily Lunch and Dinner

Meet Your Facilitators


Marielle Gerke

Marielle discovered her passion for dancing –
specially for Contact Improvisation in 2012. Since then she is continuously fascinated by this unique and exciting danceform. In her practice as a dancer and teacher the exploration of developmental movement patterns described by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, principles of leading and following over the soft tissues of the body and water work are very useful and exciting. She is interested in exploring anatomical structures in hands on work and while dancing.

Marielle assisted twice Daniel Werner’s and Joerg Hassmann’s CI Training Programme in Berlin. In Witzenhausen she organises the weekly Contact Improv Jam together with Katja-Bahini Mangold and teaches Contact Improvisation in regular evening classes, different workshop-formats and on various Contact Impro festivals in Germany and internationally in Austria, India and Portugal. Since 2016 she is also teaching in the school for contemporary dance Sozo Visions in Motion in Kassel and is involved in a couple of different performance projects. She is investigating somatic practices such Body-Mind-Centering and the Axis Syllabus as a point of departure for solo movement and Contact Improvisation in water and on land.

Dolores Dewhurst-Marks (UK)

Nomadic artist, water dancer, performer, teacher of Contact Improvisation, Somatics, and festival organiser. Since 2015 Dolores has been traveling throughout Thailand, Philippines, India and Europe sharing CI and Water Dance. Dolores is a student of Somatic Movement Education programme at the School for Body-Mind Centering in Germany and includes Axis Syllabus amongst her research and inspirations.

“CI is a unique dance form and tool I use to support myself in the world; each dance is a insight into my state of mind and my bodies’ mind. With CI and BMC practices I am cultivating a deeper awareness of my body’s consciousness. Though the perception of touch, the practice of listening to sensory feedback from interaction and play with others we can better know ourselves. This research gives space for the imagination to freely flow in movement, celebrating expression and physics of the body’s wisdom, and thriving in the present being.”

“Dancing in water opens channels into a fluid consciousness. Letting go of the action and doing that so controls us and surrendering to simply being in peaceful comprehension. When we attune to the liquid element; we inhibit our evolutionary lineage. Physical and emotional tensions are reduced, space opens within us, liquid moves through joints, organs, bones. Life flows through us freely as we spiral and dance with the organic rhythm of the waters currents.”

Vega Luukkonen

I am dancer, dance-teacher, performance-artist and bodyworker made in Finland, but currently based in Berlin, India, and nomadic temporary moments in time and space. From the formal side of my life I have studied in Finland – in Theatre Academy of Finland (TEAK) and Metropolia AMK, graduated from TEAK 2008 as dance- and theatre-teacher (MA). Though – I guess my dearest high-school and university in dance and contact-improvisation has been finnish contact community, where I have learned so much, by sharing the dance and rolling point with the other spiralling beautiful finns… 

About 15 years I have been teaching contact and dance all around the world, on many internationally acknowledged festivals and retreats, and especially recent years more focused on organising my own workshops, events and festivals. I am one of the organisers of Goa Contact Festival since 10 years, and that has become big part of my life – to live in India, to create platforms and possibilities for cultural exchange, dance and learning – throughout the whole season in Arambol, as I have spent my last 14 winters in India.

Contact Improvisation has been part of my life more than 20 years, so – many kind of chapters I have gone through. More and more I look for lightness and grace in my dance – in the sense of organic, fluid, effortless and integrated movement. I love to find ease and effortlessness in my dance, like water would do. Breath plays as well big part in my dancing, brings me naturally into moments of momentum, falling, flying, suspension, swinging, accelerating and bouncing. Other precious topic for me is the spine, never ending story with our head & tail, and the whole dialogue between them. Life-energy flowing through our spiralling, reaching, twisting spines.

My dance is drawing inspirations from aikido and capoeira – loving all these spirals up & down, and deep understanding about the role of the center in our movement. Developmental movement patterns and flying low for all the lovely floor rolling-sliding-gliding-fun. Bodywork & massage for softening, surrendering and meeting. Listening our whispering fascias. Spicing up the soup with meditation and authentic movement, to look from inside out – to connect with our emotions, intuition and felt sensations. 

For me dance is always combination of technique and intuition. Form and freedom. Being and doing. I try to find ways to explore and teach technique by understanding the underlying principles of movement, so that we can stay connected to our dance and expression, and learn in the spirit of exploration. Where our curiosity can stay alive, and we can always find new details on the way. 

Matthieu Azul