I never received a lot of training but I got most of my initial input from Malcolm Manning and Janis Claxton when they taught and held the jam in Bristol. When Janis, left, I had the choice of either going without contact or running the jam myself. So along with Jamus Wood, I started teaching contact and holding the Bristol jam.
I made up for my relative lack of experience in contact by reverse engineering the principles of tai chi and circus acrobatics, which I had a lot of experience with. It looks to me like many of the core principles of contact and tai chi are the same but that might just be because I don’t know any better. Anyway, hardly anyone has complained.
I still get a lot of inspiration from tai chi. Which I find gives me a sophisticated and grounded feel for how bodies relate to their environment and to each other.
I’m broadly interested in science and get a lot of relevant information from my haphazard research into anatomy, physiology, psychology, sociology, physics and even astronomy.
I am also influenced by my ongoing spiritual practice, which is essentially about surrendering to present reality as gracefully as I can manage and finding ways to support myself when I’m just not managing to be that graceful.
I try to find a dynamic balance between being and doing in my dancing and my teaching.
I am particularly passionate about the community aspect of contact. I try to make my classes and jams as inclusive and welcoming as I can. I hate to leave anyone behind and I feel very sad for all the people who are unable to have as much fun doing contact as I do.