The essential thing is to minimize restriction of movement while protecting from abrasion. You want stuff that doesn’t get in the way of rolling and stretching, yet covers your torso and limbs, and isn’t so slick that people slide off you when you’re supporting them. Cotton tends to be the magic ingredient. Lycra not so much.
Most commonly, people wear loose-fitting cotton athletic clothes, like t-shirts and (light) sweat pants or pajama bottoms/”lounge” pants. Covering your torso and legs is good so your skin doesn’t get caught while sliding on the floor. You particularly want to avoid obtrusive fasteners like buckles and rivets, because they’ll poke you and others while you’re rolling around.
On the other hand, tight-fitting athletic clothes, like ballet tights and lycra sports fashion, tend to be too slippery for supporting other people, and paradoxically, not as good as cotton for sliding around on the floor.
Some dancers use specialized clothes like loose dance pants – drawstring linen pants, and so on. Plain or fancy, protection from friction with minimal restriction of movement is best.
Food / Drinks
It is recommended that you bring water to avoid dehydration.
Contact improvisation is a practice where dancers are in often close contact. Thus please be mindful about the hygiene of your body and your clothes. Very simple precautions like washing hands, brushing teeth, using deodorant and clean clothes make big differences.
The Jam is a Focused Environment. Be mindful of how sound and language affect the Jam. The jam is meant for the practice of contact improvisation and related movement practices. Please keep social/casual conversation outside the dance space; sounds or words that are a part of the dance are quite welcome; and low-volume talking related directly to dancing is accepted and appreciated, particularly if the communication is about safety within the dance.
You are responsible for your own safety – physically and emotionally. CI can be a very physical practice. Please be aware of your own safety in the space. Listen to yourself; be aware of what is comfortable for you, for your body. We are all different and have different skills, abilities, and comfort levels. It is always okay to say “NO” or “STOP” if something is uncomfortable or unsafe.
Please be mindful of the space around you. Be particularly mindful if you are dancing with speed, large amounts of weight, jumping, or other potentially risk-taking
In the Jam
- Cultivate awareness of self, others and the jam environment in general. Through vision and energetic awareness we can bring awareness to the connections that exist between dances, across the room, etc.
- You can always leave a dance (or conversation). Also, if someone leaves your dance, do not take it personally.
- You can always join a dance. Enter dances with a spirit of listening and tuning into what is already there
- Grazing is a simple, pleasurable way to experience dances. Grazing (warming up to interaction with others and the environment through a series of short connections) could last for a few seconds or a few minutes.
- Witnessing is a necessary part of the form. Please feel more than welcome to watch from the outskirts of the dancing space. A lot of learning occurs this way.
Ask for Help. You are welcome to speak with jam organizers who can assist in finding qualified people to address each individual’s needs in the situation.
Most of this document is originally published as “Earthdance Jam Guidelines“.
Section about clothes is taken from this page.