17-22 September 2019

Underscore Meeting

We offer a six days-long immersion in the world of the Underscore in a contained and supportive rural environment. 

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 maybe have heard about it or met it somewhere and are curious to know more. 

Throughout the week, we focus on developing our ability to dance together as a group. We do this by taking care of ourselves, each other and our environment. There will be no teaching of CI technique

The gathering begins with the Portugal Contact Festival 9-15 Sep. The Underscore week is the second part of the gathering and will be facilitated by Christine Mauch and Malcolm Manning, two experienced practitioners who both began to work with the Underscore 25 years ago during its formation. They will also offer some practices from their own work that they consider supportive to the Underscore. 

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 an ease and richness of practice where 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 together the consequences within a group of our individual freedom to act; what we create together.
It is in this spirit that Christine and Malcolm offer this week of dancing with the Underscore.


Rather than setting the whole programme in advance, we will adjust the schedule according to the needs of the group as we go. We will offer:
  • at least one Underscore practice each day
  • open-ended jamming
  • practices to support the Underscore
  • facilitated talks including an introduction to the Underscore
  • time and varied spaces for spontaneous self-organised activities
  • a silent day
  • an open evening practice for local dancers to join us
A constant theme will be how the quality of listening, attention to sensation and self-observation can be brought into sharing the life together when not dancing. This way, we also think of the week as offering an experience of improvisational community living.


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€). Location will be send in mail after your registration.

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

Information coming soon


Choose your accommodation sleeping in my own camper vansleeping in my own tentrental tentbed in double roommattress in dormitory

I recognize, the organizers and teachers are not liable for any damages or injuries.

I confirm that the information provided is correct and I agree to the above registration rules.



350 € Regular Price

400 € Rental Tent

470 € Bed in Double Room

410 € Mattress in Dormitory


 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

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.

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.

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.  

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