ACIC, or The Convergence, is the major gathering of the Australian contact improvisation (CI) community. It takes place over the Queen’s Birthday weekend – the 2nd weekend of June. Initiated by NORPA in 2005, the convergence has doubled in size since it’s origin to become one of the most anticipated events of the Australian CI calendar. Since 2009, ACIC has been proudly presented by <proximity> magazine. Each year’s programme is a rounded mix of workshops, discussions, jams and labs, which support a rich CI culture and conversation. Highlights of the schedule have been the live music jams, with musician Barry Hill and friends, and the performance evening on the final night.
The convergence is currently located in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, where the idyllic landscape infuses the event with a deep tranquility. As dancers commune more with their physical bodies and natural laws, the resonance can be felt to the surrounding environment. Many participants relish the outdoor jams that have occurred at the convergence. The possibility to stay residential, since 2007, has only increased the ability of those at the convergence to enjoying the stunning surrounds.
But at the core of the convergence is the opportunity for the growing number of CI dancers, of many different levels of experience and from all over this wide continent, to share their immersion into the CI realm. Here the value of collaboration and exchange come to the fore. As we converge and deepen into the dance together, the spirit of investigation, research and play expands. And this continues to foster our strong national CI community and identity.
history of ACIC
acic05 & acic06
Emma Newman was the main organizer and driving force, producing the event on a small grant and assistance from Dance Action and NORPA. In these first two years, ACIC was a small scale, non-residential event hosted at Durrumbul Hall in Mullumbimby, NSW. About 40 participants came each year.
At the conclusion of the second ACIC, Emma Newman, Lucy Angell, Joey and Jacob Lehrer and Peter Notley gathered around a table on the verandah of Durrumbul Hall to plot the future of ACIC. The event was growing, Durrumbul Hall would likely be too small for next year and ACIC could logically grow and develop into the key annual gathering of CI practitioners in Australasia.
As the saying goes, “if you build it they will come”. The new ACIC organising committee found a new location in Lennox Head, that allowed the event to grow and become residential. The event was still supported by NORPA. About 60 participants arrived that year. The beach access, the awesome caterers we found, and the unique dance hall provided for a great atmosphere.
Building on the success of the past year, ACIC drew 70 participants as we focused on fine-tuning and experimenting with the program – running simultaneous sessions and ensuring a diversity of sessions, like jamming, jabbing and exchange. We also added a two-day residential Teacher’s Exchange (ACITE) prior to the beginning of ACIC. Again, we were generously supported by NORPA.
acic09 & acic10
We grew more independent with the generous support of <proximity> magazine to present the event – a natural fit, as <proximity> has had a strong presence at ACIC from its beginnings.
2011 to 2015
ACIC did not occur in these years. Yet, it’s vibrant energy was certainly carried into a number of regional events that occurred during this time: Rolling Point, Surf on Skin, Body in Gravity Festival, The Melting Edge, to name a few.
ACIC was relaunched. Again, with the generous support of <proximity> and returning to Lennox Head, we exceeded all expectations and sold out, with 90 in attendance. The program was full and juicy, with lots of variety, good weather, great food. what more could you ask for?
Supported by <proximity>, ACIC grew again. We extended the event by a day and switched around the program to have all participants (whole event & partial-event attendees) begin together. Only two more years until our 10th event!
about Contact Improvisation
Contact Improvisation (CI) is a highly enjoyable dance form where partners improvise their movement around a shared point of contact. It involves the dynamic interplay of natural forces, such as gravity and momentum, with the communicative ability of touch and contact. CI is danced all over the world by people from all walks of life and levels of experience.
The above is just one breief description of CI, and many more can be found on the web if you choose to search them out, but perhaps its truest description is in the dancing itself.