EROCA NICOLS (TO) — Aggressive snuggling: from politics of touch to the poetics of touch

Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, 2018 – 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Mon.-Fri.)
$75 with the support of *Emploi-Québec (or $215, non-eligible rate)
$17 drop-ins (unless full)
Open to artists of all disciplines / In English
Capacity: 25 people, priority for full week attendance

“Eroca is stellar. This workshop was so much more than I imagined it would be.” (Anonymous)

I have recently I started studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and I see many parallels to contact improvisation (CI). Like CI, in BJJ it is absolutely necessary to commit all my attention to the task at hand because of real physical risk. One of the aspects I love about BJJ and where I see a very real difference from CI, is the incredible clarity of boundaries. When a person “taps out” a little tap on the shoulder or leg or really anywhere that can be reached, means: stop doing what you are doing, let go, physically come apart and start again. Also, before engaging in any touch, there is a customary high five then fist bump. The cues are not a suggestion of agreement, these cues are clear; yes, I agree to engage and; no, I longer agree and we are now stopping.
Often boundaries are muddy in contact improvisation and there are many reasons for this including systemic hetero-patriarchy, white supremacy, colonialist ideas of “freedom” and ableism. CI culture can include clear boundaries but in my experience it does not and this excludes many people particularly many women and femme presenting folks, queer folks, gender fluid folks, people of color and folks of different abilities. I want CI to be a place I can invite my community but it is currently not. Perhaps by adopting some of the explicit consent codes of BJJ, we can address some of the issues around consent and boundaries that exist inside the CI community. And do so with care and openness.

I want to stress the importance and the place for the politics of touch to precede the poetics of touch. I believe that we can begin to work on this and at the same time have a good time learning some fun skills from another partnered movement practice (BJJ.)

Here’s a list of some of the things we will definitely do:
— Ask for and receive consent before touching anyone!
— Develop and practice both a physical and a verbal start and stop signal.
— Practice saying yes and saying no and meaning it.
— Practice hearing yes and hearing no and responding to it.
— More skills we will work on:
— Play with different levels of compression and weight
— Extreme squeezing, how do we dial up and down our tone?
— Improvising from BJJ “positions”
— Mount, guard, half guard, side guard.

Eroca Nicols is an international performance art and body nerd. Her alter ego and company, Lady Janitor combs the globe looking for places to incite radical moments of art chaos, consume massive amounts of coffee, wear amazing unisuits and confer with movers and thinkers of all varieties. Eroca is currently known a dancer/choreographer/teacher but her multiplitous practice stems from a family of semi-mystical nomadic trailer people, years working as a janitor, and a BFA in video/performance art and sculpture from California College of the Arts (formerly and Crafts.) Her teaching, dancing and training are deeply influenced in her continued study of choreography, anatomy, biomechanics and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

She is super stoked to be all over the world including stints as Teaching Artist in Residence at The Whole Shebang in Philadelphia and at various festivals and institutions including The School of Making Thinking in NYC, P-af/performing arts forum in France, ImPulsTanz in Vienna and Studio 303 in Montreal. Eroca is a Chalmers Research Fellow, and investigates death, ritual and performance with healers and conveners around the globe.

All workshops are for professional performing artists. Some require advanced dance training.

Registration – Please contact (514) 393-3771 or at A non-refundable deposit of $20 is required to reserve your spot.

Payments – By check, cash, Paypal or credit card on the phone or in person ($1 to $2 fee)

Reimbursement policy– No reimbursement possible without a good reason (ex: sickness or injury).

*Emploi-Québec –  With the support of Emploi-Québec. In order to get this rate, participants must be Canadian citizens or permanent resident and live in Québec. Full-time students and social assistance beneficiaries are not eligible to this rate. In case of inadmissibility, you can refer to the non-eligible rate, contact us for questions.

Studio’s accessibility – Consult this page for detailed information.