The Single Moment

One year immersion into Contact Improvisation

Dates:
September 9-11, 2022 
February 3-5, 2023
June 2-4, 2023 
October 6-8, 2023 

2022 is the year where Contact Improvisation turns 50. I have purchased Contact Quarterly’s Sourcebook from 1975-1992 (print, pdf) and enjoy reading it immensely. I am kind of baffled that I haven’t been very interested in reading what dancers in the beginning of this form had to say. I am inspired by Steve Paxton’s 24 hour dance class, the amount of time students had to dive into explorations within themselves and with one another. I understand that many early CI dancers where interested much more in the subtleties of the body communicated through movement than I had thought. The underlying practice of this form requires an appetite for not knowing.

In that spirit, my one year offering is an investigation of the single moment. Everything else in a dance develops and falls into place around this moment. If it arises we experience an unfolding ever changing presence. A direct way to access that is our capability to feel sensation. I offer subtle and playful ways to deepen our felt sense of gravity shifting in space through touch. Experiential anatomy is another key orientation, familiarizing ourselves with the tone of our muscles, learning about tensegrity, finding pathways into accessing stillness, creativity and being a witness in a dance. We explore and take care of our animal self, and lastly by improvising perceptions instead of exercising form.

I am determined to find ways for students to avoid “trying hard” to emulate what they see and rather focus on an experience of learning along the edges of feeling comfortable – allowing trust in the unknown material that they may encounter. In my experience a skilled contact dancer orients around what they are sensing. The more orientation a body inhabits the more an ability of availability can arise – in a dance and life alike. Dancers new to the form and more experienced movers can benefit in that approach. This allows a deepening of subtlety into infinity.

I am already in conversation with a couple of friends that I consider to invite to inform our bodies.

Here are the details:
CI immersion starting in September 2022-October 2023.

Dates:

September 9-11, 2022 
February 3-5, 2023
June 2-4, 2023 
October 6-8, 2023 

Times:

Friday 2pm – 7pm
Saturday 10am – 5:30pm
Sunday 10am – 5pm

Location: 
Wildcat Studio, Berkeley

Exchange and registration:

Sliding scale $800 – $1200 for the whole year. If you experience financial hardship please reach out to me: mokaratta@gmail.com or 510-213-4007

There will be a rough curriculum and also an openness to the needs and interests of the group.

In anticipation and gratitude,

Carmen 

Bio

Photo: J. Lothrigel

I am a dancer, mother and therapist. In the last 25 years I have been exploring and deepening my practice of embodiment. My guide is the dance. I consider Frey Faust, Sarah Shelton Mann and Mary Armentrout as my main influences. My studies in dance are expanding more into the somatics of sensations. For me (Contact) Improvisation is a practice of presence through the movement of attention.

During the last 5 years I have been practicing weekly moving and witnessing scores developing from the foundation of Authentic Movement. This shapes and fine tunes my understanding of improvisation and the witnessing of the mystical ways of existence.

I have recently finished my BCST (Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy) training and started to dive into pre and perinatal work. Teaching Contact Improvisation, facilitating group processes in somatic movement explorations and giving private movement and BCST sessions is what I do for living. I live a simple life with my family in Bellingham, WA next to a beautiful creek.

Felt Sense Expansion

with Carmen Serber, Mihyun Lee and Marcus van Duren

Friday May 6 – Sunday May 8

Contact Improvisation. What a multilayered dance! It offers so much and challenges each and every dancer on levels we probably haven’t even known existed. It ranges from stillness and awareness practices to highly athletic dancing.

This workshop strives to be facilitated in the spirit of a beginners mind placed in a container of inspiration and awe. Our guide and main support will be our felt sense. The intention is to play, to learn skills through improvisational and introspective scores, to become more familiar and curious with ourselves and deepen the practices that we already know. There will be a possibility for one on ones with the facilitators.

Times:
Friday 5:30pm-8:30pm
Saturday 9am-5:30pm
Sunday 9am-4:30pm
@ Wildcat Studio, Berkeley
Registration: Call/text Carmen: 510-213-4007

1 hour lunch break.

Sliding scale: $200 – $300 (I have a NOTAFLOF policy but please reach out to me beforehand)

Continue reading

Exploratory Movement Practice

In Bellingham
Mondays 5pm – 8pm
Series of 6 (sliding scale $180-280 + notaflof)

This class fosters personal growth by building upon our self-expressive capabilities in an interplay of inner and outer worlds – an antidote to fear and anxiety. 

I offer guidance and a structure that is simple and inviting. For folks that are more familiar in the somatic movement field, this class draws from Authentic Movement, Contemplative Dance Practice and other modalities that center around our felt experience as we move in relationship to what we are feeling and doing. It is about becoming intimate with the range of possibilities that are arising moment by moment. A way to come in contact with our direct sensory experience of movement/stillness. And of course strengthening our capacity to be a grounded and buoyant witness.

This practice invites us to lean into the unknown, as this is the place where things usually get juicy and magical.

We move at the speed of trust and learn how to listen into space. 

This is not a drop-in class and welcomes people who want to commit to a continuous movement practice over a longer period of time. If interested and/or curious please give me a call or write me.
510-213-4007 – mokaratta@gmail.com

Contact Improvisation

This is the start of a Contact Improvisation series
@ Heartsong Transformative Arts Center
5685 Sand Rd, Bellingham WA

Sundays in January 2:30 -5:30pm
$20 drop-in, $80 for all 5 classes
(cash, PayPal, venmo (@carmen-serber) or check)

In this class we will move together and develop personal practices that support delightful and surprising improvisation. Each class will begin with fundamental exercises, with individual feedback, and end with time for jamming. This class is open to everybody: whether you are just beginning or want to deepen your practice.

Each of us will present a different pathway into the multilayered practice of CI. We are looking forward learning AND dancing with you.

with Carmen & Rajendra

Masks are respected but optional.

For more info please reach out:
mokaratta@gmail.com

The Oceanic Body

Contact Improvisation Workshop:

Friday November 5th – Saturday November 6th
Friday: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm (open space til 10pm)
Saturday: 10:30 am – 5:30 pm (1 hour lunch break)
Sliding scale: $130 – $220 (NOTAFLOF!) 
Where: Wildcat Studio in Berkeley
Register: Please send me an email:mokaratta@gmail.com

Do you remember the last time you were standing on the beach while the tide was coming in? Could you feel how those long waves that move across the oceans also move through you? Could you feel the abundance of power and clarity?
Since I started my Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Training, I am experiencing that those powerful tides are as much part of my body and being and that there isn’t any difference. We have the ocean inside of us.  
We are co-creating and coexisting with a complex network of moving masses. It is possible to feel what is moving inside us, supported by what is changing around us. We will be exploring inner space in relation to outside space. The more direct experience we have with our sensational oceanic bodies, the more we can be available in our dance. From an oriented body we can learn how to orient in space. Holding the whole, not just the parts. We will be playing with space, time, weight and relationship. 
We’ll explore different layers of our bodies. Surely we’ll take lots of time for experiential and inspirational anatomy for moving. I will introduce some ideas on how to “hook” on people, using arms and legs to find easy ways to catch a ride. I would like to play with our awareness and its magical non-consistency, we’ll practice patience outside of time and especially resting. There will be group scores, duets and witnessing.


(This workshop is limited to max. 16 people. I trust that we have the tools to take care of ourselves and hold a safe and loving container for us all. Please assure your own safety precaution regarding covid as we will be sharing intimate space together. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have any.) 

CI – Workshop

Inner Compass

I offer a full day CI immersion! Come, join me in exploring, experiencing and creating with our sensing bodies.

  • Sunday, June 27th
  • Wildcat Studio, Berkeley
  • 10:00 am-5:30 pm (1h lunch break)
  • Sliding scale: $110-200. (Talk to me if that is a challenge) – Please PayPal me at mokaratta@gmail.com. Thank you!
  • You can register by sending me a text: 510-213-4007

This day will involve experiential anatomy as a basis for moving through space. We will sense in to find our inner compass, develop a deeper felt sense awareness and we will use that to investigate our bodies in dynamic motion with and without a partner. I will also be sharing my love for improvisation to experience more of ourselves, the collective body and gain more possibilities for our dance.

Details:

Morning: Focus is on the spine and its poly-articular and curved constitution. A wave that suggests seemingly effortless propagation of kinetic energy through the body. Depending on the flow of the morning, we also dive into our limbs.

Afternoon: Exploring Improvisation. The core of CI. We will work in the speed of trust. We use our bodies, our senses and sensational cosmos, presence, empathy and changing perceptions. It helps to start simple. Solo and group. Accountability will be celebrated, comfort and discomfort are encouraged and respected.

For any covid related questions, please contact me.

Storage No. 45

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10 years ago I left Düsseldorf. I still remember that day as if it was yesterday. A very present moment engraved into my memory. The truck I rented was very small and fortunately I had very talented friends that knew how to load all of my belongings in  probably the only way everything could fit. It was hard to leave but I was ready to move on, store my stuff in my mother’s garage, seek adventures and meet parts of myself that weren’t visible yet.

10 years later it is happening again. When my dear friend Nicola that helped me pack that truck in Düsseldorf saw that title picture, she said: “Your material life stored in a garage again.” Yes, again. It feels good and timely. My body is lighter and happier. Less stuff produces more simplicity and a deeper listening to what is. This is a process of letting go and of shedding what needs to be shed. Once more an experience of uprooting in order to find more depths; a clear message from my soul and spirit and a deep dive into my love for the unknown. Continue reading

Mother Courage

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Photo credit: Alvin Lumanlan

The German word for mother is “Mutter” and the first 3 letters “Mut” mean courage. German can be such a detailed language and in this case it is so true and precise. Courage is the word which describes motherhood the most. It already takes courage to be pregnant and to give birth, but the ultimate courage that surpasses each and every idea I had about being a mother is motherhood. I see pregnancy and birth as a start and preparation for motherhood that often exceed words and understanding at first. In any scenario, birthing a child is raw and stirs up a lot of things in hidden places – Oh yes, pregnancy can do that! (cut the crap). Continue reading

Ab jetzt unspektakulär?

B970664A-0764-457E-9AB1-99F3BA291C05Ich glaube das war der unspektakulärste Geburtstag meines Lebens. Es dreht sich nicht mehr um mich. Das Leben hat sich gewendet, gedreht, umfokussiert. Mein Mann versucht mir einen schönen Tag zu bescheren, fährt ganz früh mit beiden Kids in unsere Lieblingsbäckerei und bringt die besten Croissants der East Bay nach Hause, kauft mir Blumen und lässt mich bis kurz vor 9 Uhr schlafen. Sie singen Happy Birthday und ich bekomme einen frisch aufgebrühten Kaffee mit sage und schreibe nicht pasteurisierter Sahne. Dennoch, sogar mit den Blumen in der einen und dem Kaffee in der anderen Hand, sind meine Gedanken schon bei unserer nächsten Morgenaktivität. Continue reading