Your Dance Dollars at Work!

Quarterly Update from the Boulder Contact Improvisation Lab Core Group

APRIL 2012

Hello dear contact dancers,

We've got some exciting news!  Please read below...

Dancing at Boulder Circus Center (and Pearl St. Studio):  After many months of collecting feedback and experimenting with different dance spaces it feels like the next step for our growing community is to host Lab more often at the Boulder Circus Center. We strongly considered the Avalon Ballroom, but for many reasons (including that Movement Mass is moving to Avalon on Sundays) we feel the BCC is the best next step for us, and is a wonderful space in general.  

Due to scheduling conflicts at the BCC we cannot reserve the space every Sunday. Therefore we'll be dancing at the Pearl Street Studio some weeks and the Boulder Circus Center on other weeks. For the next 4 months we'll be dancing at BCC 11 out of 18 Sundays. Please get used to checking the website calendar ( for the week's location! We'll also be passing out wallet-size calendars for the upcoming quarter at Lab to help you remember.

Extra 30 mins (10am - 12:30pm):  We've noticed at the end of Lab people are hungry for more dancing.  So we've decided to experiment with making the Labs at Boulder Circus Center 30 mins longer.  Labs at the BCC (with a few exceptions) will run from 10-12:30pm!  

New cost = $5 - $10:  Hosting lab at the BCC and extending lab by 30mins will double our rental costs, but as always, our goal is to keep the price reasonable for the community.  The cost for dancing at Lab is now $5-10.  

Thank you!  Our community is growing and evolving. Thank you for all of your patience, feedback, love, and support as we experiment with how to create an environment that lets us dance, love, and grow together.

For the dance,

The Core:  Lucien, J'free, Susan, Jennifer, Morgan, Victor, John and Lindsay

Lab is at Boulder Circus Center this Sunday April 8: 10am - 12:30pm, $5-10!

Spring, 2011

Dear Community:

Welcome to the second edition of “Your Dance Dollars at Work”--a quarterly letter to the community from the Boulder Contact Lab Core Group (organizers) It is our intention to keep the community informed and up to date on what goes on behind the scenes, what dreams and schemes we’re hatching for you and the future of our community, and most importantly, how we as an organizing group use your dance dollars!

Below is our quarterly update of the Boulder Contact Lab, including activities that support the lab and how your dollars are spent, plus an overview of the structure of this lab.

The Basics

The Core group is made up of 8 volunteer members: Susan Coates, Morgan Stanfield, John Caron, Victor Warring, Lindsay Sworski, Jeffrey Dann, Lucien Renjilian-Burgy, and Jennifer Peck. As volunteer organizers we see ourselves as stewards and guides whose main role is to serve a rich and vibrant community. Therefore, when we collect your weekly contribution, one of our main goals as organizers is to ask, “How can we put that money back in to the community?” We are doing that in many exciting ways, and it is our hope that this quarterly newsletter will give you a clear look into how we are trying to serve you and this community and to invite you into this conversation.

Behind the Scenes - What does the Contact Lab Core do?

Being an organizer used to consist of opening the doors, facilitating opening and closing circles, creating a safe lab container, taking money, and closing the doors. As the community has grown, so have our responsibilities and the richness of our offerings back to the community.  

First and foremost, we work hard to facilitate the weekly Lab, our main event. That involves writing and revising Guidelines and introducing them to newcomers, reading and responding to comments and concerns from the feedback box, providing art supplies, buying mindfulness bells, having the piano tuned, renting the space, setting up and breaking down, and occasionally speaking one-on-one with people about safety and boundary concerns, etc, etc. We have monthly meetings where we get together to discuss any and all issues regarding our community, and we regularly give our selves all sorts of new and assorted tasks - like creating this newsletter!

Besides running the weekly Lab event, we have expanded to adding a quarterly Extended Lab-- a longer lab time that also provides guest musicians and snacks.

Did you know?

Did you know that the Boulder Contact Lab has a website?  It’s a simple Google site that has online access to our Guidelines, contact information for all Core members, information about special events, links, and photos. You can also see a copy of this newsletter anytime online at:  Check it out and send your friends there for more info on the Lab!  

We also maintain a Facebook group page at Boulder Contact Lab. Join this group to stay in touch!

The Boulder Contact Lab Core also maintains online marketing and points of contact so people far and wide can find us! We field multiple calls per month from newcomers interested in joining this Lab!

Where does the money go?

When you pay at the Lab, we put your dance dollars to work! By far the largest expense is monthly rent for our shared dance space. Weekly facilitators get $20 for running the weekly event. We have our Core lunch meeting about once a month to get all the business done and we usually pay for lunch with Lab funds. We pay for food and musicians for special events. We do little things like buy bells, art supplies, piano tuning, and printing of the guidelines. Occasionally, when a Core member does a significant amount of work on a special project like writing an article for Contact Quarterly or website building we pay ourselves for the extra effort. We also contracted Matrix Leadership to facilitate a community discussion on sexuality and CI.

We save any leftover money so that we can pay for larger future purchases, and to ensure that the Boulder Contact Lab goes on for a very long time.

Supporting the Larger Contact Community

Did you know that the Contact Lab seeded the money for the Strawberry Contact Jam (which was paid back in full), and the Denver Contact Lab? That’s right, your dance dollars supported individuals and groups to make their CI dreams a reality. We’re even supporting a budding Contact Improvisation group in Wichita, Kansas!  

We’ve also been featured in Contact Quarterly in an article praising the use of our Guidelines.  Jams in Boston, Madison, Chicago, San Diego, the Bay Area, and overseas have contacted us for permission to use our Guidelines for their events. So, not only are we putting energy into our own community, but we’re also serving as a major player in the larger Contact community.

What’s cooking right now?

Public Health
In response to the recent health-related concerns raised in this community, we’ve incorporated a public-health clause in the Boulder Contact Lab Guidelines. Please take a moment to read this clause, intended to help you take care of yourself and others’ health during this lab.

Quarterly Extended Labs
The Boulder Extended Contact Labs are held quarterly around both the equinox and solstice. This allows us more time to dance, in a larger space to dance. Boulder Extended Contact Labs are all snack potlucks, and the contribution for these labs is $10.

The next Extended Lab is June 19th (Father’s Day) at the Avalon Ballroom. Mark your calendars!

The Future of Our Community
We dream a lot about the future of the Contact community. We continually have discussions about getting a larger space, starting a second Lab/Jam, and how to make things even better. For the past few years we’ve dealt with continually increasing attendance at Lab, and the Lab Core looked into finding a larger alternate location. Although Avalon Ballroom was our prime candidate, we decided that for the remainder of this year we will not move the Lab to a larger studio.  This was due to three main reasons: 1) concerns around sustaining considerably larger numbers at our top alternate location, Avalon Ballroom, in order to pay for a space that costs nearly three times the hourly rate of Pearl Street Studio, 2) concerns about shifting attendance due to longer commutes to the Avalon Ballroom, and 3) concerns about raising the lab fee to a considerably higher amount in order to cover costs, and 4) the potential decline in attendance for financial reasons (after increasing the lab contribution during a downward economy).

For now, what can we do when the Pearl Street Studio gets crowded?
  • Witness! Take a good portion of your dance time to witness what other dances and feel what comes alive in you as you witness.
  • Allow your dances to move from duet to ensemble. This allows for less bubbles needed around dances and more awareness and availability for contact with others.
  • Look for empty pockets of space and use them! It’s remarkable how often there are large, empty pockets of space that go unentered. If you’re hungry for more space, be ready when it appears.
  • Attend the quarterly Extended Labs at the Avalon Ballroom!

In order to better align with the community’s needs and desires, we’re creating a survey that will be posted to this Yahoo group. We would greatly appreciate your input and feedback on this survey, as it will help us plan for the future!

Finally, we’ve begun an exploration into forming a non-profit organization whose goal would be to seek funding for a permanent organization and location/structure to call home! So, it just may be that someday in the future your $4-$7 will go towards the acquisition of funding and the ‘Earthdance’ of the Boulder area!

That’s just a taste of what goes on behind the scenes at the Boulder Contact Lab, and how your money is being used to create the best experience of dance and community that we know how.  Please feel free to email us with your feedback and be a part of this conversation.

In gratitude and support,

The Boulder Contact Lab Core
John Caron:
Morgan Stanfield:
Victor Warring:
Lindsay Sworski:
Lucien Renjilian-Burgy:
Susan Coates:
Jeffery Dann:
Jennifer Peck: