Classes & Workshops

Aggressive Snuggling: From the Politics of Touch to the Poetics of Touch - March 2018


Aggressive Snuggling: From the Politics of Touch to the Poetics of Touch - March 2018

from 35.00

with Eroca Nicols
two sessions:
weekdays Tue March 6 - Fri March 9 12-3p
weekend Sat March 10 + Sun March 11 11a-5p
either whole session: sliding scale $85-125 by Feb 7 / $100-150 after
daily drop in: $35 single class weekday / $55 single class weekend

session choice:
sliding scale amount or drop in:
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Aggressive Snuggling: From the Politics of Touch to the Poetics of Touch
with Eroca Nicols

two sessions:
weekdays Tuesday - Friday March 6-9 12-3p
weekend Saturday + Sunday March 10 + 11 11a-5p (includes lunch break)

whole session - sliding scale $85-125 by February 7 / $100 - 150 after
daily drop in - $35 single class weekday / $55 single class weekend

About the workshop from Eroca:
"it's somewhere between queer-self-defense-and-survival and embodied-risk-taking-with-agency movement practice..."

I recently started studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and I see many parallels to contact improvisation (CI). Like CI, in BJJ it is absolutely necessary to commit all my attention to the task at hand because of real physical risk. One of the aspects I love about BJJ and where I see a very real difference from CI, is the incredible clarity of boundaries. When a person "taps out" a little tap on the shoulder or leg or really anywhere that can be reached, means: stop doing what you are doing, let go, physically come apart and start again. Also, before engaging in any touch, there is a customary high five then fist bump. The cues are not a suggestion of agreement, these cues are clear; yes, I agree to engage and; no, I no longer agree and we are now stopping.

Often boundaries are muddy in contact improvisation and there are many reasons for this including systemic hetero-patriarchy, white supremacy, colonialist ideas of "freedom" and ableism. CI culture can include clear boundaries but in my experience it does not and this excludes many people particularly many women and femme presenting folks, queer folks, gender fluid folks, people of color and folks of different abilities. I want CI to be a place I can invite my community but it is currently not. Perhaps by adopting some of the explicit consent codes of BJJ, we can address some of the issues around consent and boundaries that exist inside the CI community. And do so with care and openness.

I want to stress the importance and the place for the politics of touch to precede the poetics of touch. I believe that we can begin to work on this and at the same time have a good time learning some fun skills from another partnered movement practice (BJJ.) 

Here's a list of some of the things we will definitely do:
-Ask for and receive consent before touching anyone!
-Develop and practice both a physical and a verbal start and stop signal.
-Practice saying yes and saying no and meaning it.
-Practice hearing yes and hearing no and responding to it.

More skills we will work on:
-play with different levels of compression and weight
-extreme squeezing, how do we dial up and down our tone?
-improvising from BJJ "positions" 
- mount, guard, half guard, side guard.

I will introduce the specific physical consent strategies practiced in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We will work on techniques for application of pressure on another body as well as several submissions, specifically an arm lock and a blood choke from multiple angles.

Eroca Nicols is an international performance art and body nerd. Her alter ego and company, Lady Janitor combs the globe looking for places to incite radical moments of art chaos, consume massive amounts of coffee, wear amazing unisuits and confer with movers and thinkers of all varieties. Her teaching, dancing and training are deeply influenced in her continued study of ritual, biomechanics and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.



Photos by Michelle Panting
of Taking it to the Grave
Eroca Nicols and Glamdrew Henderson