Karen
Schaffman

Karen Schaffman (dance artist, professor, presenter-curator, Feldenkrais™ practitioner, white, jewish, feminist, collaborator, she). Dancing for me is a transformative, transgressive and gravitational force for self-awareness, historiography, political change and social connectivity. I studied experimental dance at EDDC Arnhem and earned a PhD In Critical Dance Studies at UC Riverside. Since 2001, I have been cultivating Dance Studies at California State University San Marcos.

My offering is with Veronika Blumstein, a quote by Nancy Stark Smith:

“In the early ‘70s, when I first was getting immersed in the world of practicing and performing dance improvisation, I spent a lot of time watching the Grand Union perform. For hours, I would see material surface on shaky ground, get nourished, worked, referred to, develop, and I’d see it begin to strengthen, come into its own, and become the ground for what would happen next. I saw material be given life or death (which in itself could become the next material), and I learned there was, in practice, no inherent hierarchy of material. Every move had equal potential to unify, clarify, destroy, or transform what was going on. It was not just the material itself but how and when it was delivered that gave it depth and power.

Where you are when you don’t know where you are is one of the most precious spots offered by improvisation. It is the place from which more directions are possible than anywhere else. I call this place the Gap….”

Excerpt from Nancy Stark Smith’s “Notably not where you expect” in Steve Paxton: Drafting Interior Techniques. Ed. by Romain Bige´. Lisboa: Culturgest, 2019.