In 2024 we will celebrate 15 years of the seed for the Touch&Play project. We don’t know exactly the day but we know that at some point at the end of 2009, when Daniel was on a retreat in the Polish countryside, he woke up very early one morning with two words in mind “Touch” & “Play”. After some months of creating and crafting, in the early summer of 2010 the first Touch&Play gathering saw the light at Schwelle7, the Berlin dance studio run by choreographer and conceptual artist Felix Ruckert.
During this beginning, when Daniel was explaining his big ideas around the theme, I would not understand anything he was saying. Similarly, a portion of the Contact Improvisation (CI) community felt threatened by the Touch&Play framing and proposal. Daniel was accused of corrupting CI and making it unsafe by introducing eros and sensuality onto the dance.
Meanwhile the first Touch&Play festival was a big success. More than 130 people registered for this first exploration. As well as fear and detractors, a growing interest in exploring consent, power dynamics, sexuality, helped Touch&Play to slowly but surely gain traction. As time passed and Touch&Play integrated with different Dance communities, it became evident what the effects of this work actually were.
By bringing taboos to the surface, a skill which is promoted within the Touch&Play culture, we have witnessed the emergence of greater transparency, clarity, and deeper connections within the dance and Contact Improv communities where we’ve been working.
Growing in consciousness is not a destination, it is an ongoing process: bringing the subconscious to the surface, touching the discomfort, and dancing with respect and curiosity around our shadows. It’s within this very sweet spot, controversy and connection, that Touch&Play flourishes. Touch&Play holds the talent to deeply connect us, but it also has the potential to bring forward triggers and ignite controversy. The challenge then is to maintain respectful dialogue while fostering connections and expanding into the multiple realities that are true at the same time rather than seeking uniformity of thought.
Earthdance, Massachusetts, USA. October 2023
Queralt Jorba – Psychotherapist, Relationships Coach and T&P Global producer