Glimpse 3 performance installations


Glimpse 3
DEC 16 + 17 / 5-7PM
Velocity Founders Theater
1621 12th Ave
TICKETS $15 / $12 MVP





You are invited to step into a living world—somewhere between a 3D moving art installation, a visit to the zoo, and your living room. Your observation is an essential part of the composition.

After 8 days in retreat on the Olympic Peninsula and in residence at Velocity, a group of dancers and musician Mike Vargas will share the results of their research in a series of performance installations. In each 2-hour installation, they will create a live improvised movement composition based on their investigation of the multi-phase dance improvisation structure called the Underscore.

What is the Underscore?
The Underscore is a long-form dance improvisation structure developed by Nancy Stark Smith. It has been evolving since 1990 and is practiced all over the globe. The form includes contact improvisation and allows for a full spectrum of energetic and physical states progressing from rest to active dancing and back to rest and reflection.

What is Glimpse?
The Underscore is rarely observed by those not participating in it. Though not conceived initially as a performance form, it offers rich and intriguing views of human and artistic phenomena in dance improvisation.

The two hours will include periods of very small, private, and quiet internal activity and other times of higher energy and interactive dancing. The 20+ phases of the score—each with a name and a graphic symbol—create a general map for the dancers. Within that frame, they are free to create their own movements, dynamics, and relationships—with themselves, each other, the group, the music, and the environment.

As an audience member, you are invited into a close, direct level of observing over the course of the two-hour event—to view the work from different places, through different suggested lenses, to have a snack, write, and to meet the field of this collaboration and concentration in your own way.

The event will be two hours without intermission. Snacks, writing materials, and observation lenses will be provided.

Directed by Nancy Stark Smith + Mike Vargas (live music Dec 17th only), with Katherine Cook, and other co-researchers:

Jun Akiyama, Anya Cloud, Anne Cooper, Yeong Wen Lee, Rachael Lincoln, Blake Nellis, Karen Schaffman, Brandin Steffensen, Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot, + Ronja Ver.


Glimpse 3 Performance Installations are presented as part of the The Glimpse Project: Nancy Stark Smith and the Underscore (Nov 30–Dec18), three weeks of workshops, conversations, community performance scores, and a performance installation. Nancy Stark Smith is a legendary central figure in a generation of brave experimentalists whose ground-breaking work in the 60s and 70s continues to have a profound impact on the “cutting-edge” of contemporary dance today.


The Glimpse Project is part of Next Fest NW 2016: pastFORWARD


about the artists


Glimpse 2 NSS solo SILO by Jun Akiyama copyNANCY STARK SMITH first trained as an athlete and gymnast, leading her to study and perform modern and postmodern dance, greatly influenced by the Judson Dance Theater breakthroughs of the 1960s. She danced in the first performances of Contact Improvisation in 1972 with Steve Paxton and others and has since been central to its development as dancer, teacher, performer, writer/publisher, and organizer. She has traveled extensively throughout the world teaching and performing Contact and other improvised dance work with Paxton and many other favorite dance partners and performance makers, including Ray Chung, Julyen Hamilton, Peter Bingham, Andrew Harwood, Karen Nelson, and musician Mike Vargas. She co-founded Contact Quarterly, an international dance journal in 1975 which she continues to co-edit and produce along with other dance literature. Her work is featured in several books and films, and she has been developing the Underscore, a long-form dance improvisation structure, since 1990. Her first book, Caught Falling: The Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas, with David Koteen, came out in 2008. She lives in western Massachusetts.




Mike-VargasMIKE VARGAS has been performing and teaching internationally for the last 30 years. Started working with dancers in 1978. Collaborated with Bebe Miller and toured with Liz Lerman in the 1980s. Composed probably 150 commissioned dance scores to date. Worked at Naropa, re-focused on piano music, and met Nancy Stark Smith in the ’90s. Published two articles about composition and improvisation and nine albums of original music so far. Last 16 years touring with Nancy, currently teaching dancers at Smith College.





A Glimpse into the Underscore
Kaitlin McCarthy, Seattle Dances, December 28, 2016