Facebook Group and upcoming sessions

hi all,

for all of you who spend half their lives on Facebook ūüėČ ¬†– we have now a meeting place there in the form of a Facebook Group called “Interdisciplinary Improvisation Research

You can share everything there that relates to our subject – thoughts, events, questions, inquiries…

Other than this blog, where we only post Session invitations and news about the Knowledge base to keep it clear and readable, the Facebook Group can be our big bazaar of ideas and questions (for example also links to relevant things you find elsewhere on the internet). So feel free to use it extensively!

–¬†click here for the Facebook link¬†–

Upcoming sessions:

This afternoon (13:00-17:00):  the 3rd look at Abundance/Containment with Johnny Schoofs and Kristien Sonnevijlle.

15th of January, Kenzo Kusuda and me will look at the complicity you have with your audience as live performers. We will post more about it soon.

29th of January and February 3rd: Video in Dialogue with the body with Anne Gentenaar and Maria Michailidou


Have a great Christmas and New Year!





Continuing Improvisation Research for 2014/2015

Dear all,

we are looking back at another year of intriguing little projects and great investigations in interdisciplinary improvisation.

As always towards the summer I am asking what your ideas and wishes would be for next season, projecting forward your intentions to open new area’s of improvisation or revisit and deepen some of the existing lines of research.

So please let me know about your intentions to stay connected to this platform also in the coming year.
(read the three questions below)

Just to first give you an overview of the things that came by and got re-worked in the last two seasons by you and others:

Interlocking Principles (Balinese kecak rhythms as common ground for improvising interdisciplinary)

Objects and Stuff (object theatre, props and puppetry in improvisation)

Shadow Carpet (using shadow theatre in improvisation)

Structured Improvisation (improvisation scores, plots and structures and what they conjure up)

The dreamer and the observer (two aspects/attitudes/archetypes of the interdisciplinary improviser)

Time and Duration (taking time, losing time, using time in improvisation performance)

Games of Interaction (the world of rule-creating and rule-following in improvisation games)

What’s whispering (listening to the more subtle layers of reality while improvising)

The secret Life of Phrases (phrasing in improvised music, phrasing in improvised dance)

(Dis)connecting the dots (actors/dancers/musicians and the question of ‘readability’ and ‘meaning’)


So what are we picking up for next season? What will be new land to explore?

Continue reading

(Dis)connecting the dots

An improvisation meeting of theatre, dance, music and more

At the end of the Carpet Sessions season, you are invited to join the exploration of an issue that is probably the biggest source of discussion in interdisciplinary art making:
How concrete and readable should our work be? What should be left unexplained – how opaque, many-layered, confusing or abstract do we like it?
Connecting_Dots_PusteblumenThe problem is often that we don’t even know from each other what we exactly mean with all these words, while the issue itself is not so complicated, and applicable to all art disciplines:
Any artist wants his work to be readable to a certain extend, in the sense that it somehow ’speaks’ to the audience. And at the same time, any piece needs a certain obscurity, leaving something for the audience to wonder about. Only in how to concretely create this mix is where genres and artists differ.
As interdisciplinary instant composition wants to be inclusive to all genres and differing perceptions of art, our question is: How can we improvise, talk and play around this topic effectively?
On 29 May (Hemelvaartsdag), we would like to do a research session with this question in mind.
As especially the perceived difference between improvisation theater and improvisation dance/music is big on this issue, Anja Boorsma is inviting a group of improv actors, while Thomas Johannsen is inviting dance improvisers. We are also inviting musicians with experience from both the ‚Äėconcrete‚Äô theatre genre and the more ‚Äėmodern/abstract‚Äô performance genre.
Any other disciplines/improvisers who would like to participate are absolutely welcome. Just write us a comment below this post if you are interested (if the group becomes too big to be workable, we keep the option of selection).
Let’s see if we can create both crystal-clear and many-layered pieces of performance, and survive the clash to tell about it. ¬†ūüėÄ
There has been so many reactions that we had to make a selection. Otherwise the studio would be too crowded for what we want to do.
So the session is not open anymore, and this is the research group for the 29th of May:
Anja Boorsma
Esmeralda Detmers
Jurriaan Kamp
Wouter Snoei
Hans Kuykens
Ralph de Rijke
Thomas Johannsen
Annabel Garriga
Johnny Schoofs
Tanaquil Schuttel
We will keep you posted on our findings!

Review 1st open session Phrases Research

Hallo everybody,

thanks so much for all the good work during the Open Session at Dansmakers on 30th of February.

We were with 40 dancers/singers (+ 1 dog), which is an amazing number for a research session, and it worked magically, beautifully well! ¬†The performance in the evening was surely something to remember…

I just wanted to post here the aspects of the research that we gathered during the session, with your help. The core group will now dig deeper into it the coming weeks and we hope to see you again on the rounding off Open Session on 29th of March.


Phrase =  beginning Рduration Рend

Linked to the question of beginning/end in phrasing:
Landing/Arriving – What ends? – Transformation – give new life to… – what comes after? – same/different/similar thing in different context.

Linked to duration:
Coherence/Integrity of a Phrase – What holds is together? – ‘It makes sense’ – Dynamics – Shape – Rhythm

What is Silence? (in Phrasing)

Awareness of choice in Phrasing: what, when, where, with whom?

Why phrasing? For readability / For clarity of your vocabulary
Phrasing = Articulation

Phrases are Building Blocks and Markers – in time/material. Creating perspective in the sea of meanings.

What are the different layers of a phrase?     

More quotes that were put on the second paper at the end of the session:

“Interaction is important for phrasing/meaning.”

“For something to be a phrase you need at least two elements and a connection between them.”

“I make decisions all the time.You need to keep in mind your destination the entire road.”

“What is being proposed?” “Making a choice brings clarity and readability. Awareness of another phrase is a starting point.”

“Letting it grow, not make it”.

“10 people, many phrases. One phrase is contagious: Three people pick it up, join and finish the phrase.”

Phrase –> Receiving

“Relating in time to phrases:
– Starting together
– Slow starting after each other –
– Together: A – one phrase and B – three phrase in one”

“Timing, Dynamic, Play!” /¬†“Connect”

To join the upcoming open session on 29th of March or read more about the project, find all information here.


Kick-off “Phrases” research with open session at Dansmakers today!

Today we are opening the project that will run through March in the Carpet Sessions: “The Secret Life of Phrases”

You are all very welcome to join us and the research group either in the open session and perform with us or simply come to watch the performance:

16:00-16:30  Individual Warm-Up time
16:30- 18:45  Practice session
19:00- 19:30  Joint Performance

Location: Dansmakers Amsterdam (WG terrein),¬†Eerste Helmerstraat 102 ¬†¬Ĺ (opposite 147)
Contribution (if you join the practice session): 15 euro
Performance at 19:00 is free.

voicemovemnt3Look here for the full description of the project and here for the follow-up post.

The second open session, which will close the project, will be at Dansmakers on 29 March.

Looking forward to see you either today or in March!

Thomas Johannsen
Marisa Grande

“Secret Life of Phrases” project is set!

Dear improvisers,

Thank you for all your reactions to the “Secret Life of Phrases” research!

We had great response from a number of colleagues and heard clearly the shared intention to support and take part in these self-organized research projects under the Carpet Sessions wing. The idea is to grow in the interdisciplinary practice and feed the improvisation community in the Netherlands.
Next to this project, we trust that other events of this kind will follow and we would like to encourage other artists to feel inspired and organize such a gathering under a theme they feel strongly about.

voicemovemnt3For this particular project, we have the division between two longer, open sessions (22-02 and 29-03) and closed sessions with the core group on four Thursdays in between.

Our choice of a core group has been made considering different aspects of having a balanced and challenging configuration, as well as limiting numbers to be able to work intensely in this limited time frame. The core group is:
Sarah Kate Gardiner, Maria Michailidou, Johnny Schoofs, Marc Nukoop, Virag Dezso, Moira Mirck, Petra Pieck, Yinske Silva, Marjolijn Roeleveld

The core group will deepen the research during the Thursday Sessions, but before and after we would like to welcome everyone on the two Saturdays where the dialogue with movement and voice and a reflection with a larger group can take place.

So we are looking forward to meet you in the Secret Life of Phrases research!  See for the whole project description this post.

If you want to take part in (one of) the IC practice sessions, on Saturday 22nd of February and/or 29th of March, do let us know by commenting below, so we have an approximation of numbers.

Times and Address for the two IC Sessions:

16:30 -18.45 Practice (studio open 16.00)
19.00 -19.30 Performance

Contribution: ‚ā¨15,-
Address: Dansmakers Amsterdam, Eerste Helmerstraat 102 ¬Ĺ (opposite 147)


We hope to see you there and play/reflect together! 

With warm greetings,

Thomas & Marisa

update: Carpet Studio saved!

Hi everybody,

in the wake of last week’s post a number of people reacted, willing to help and share the weekly hire, and this means we are able to keep the Thursday afternoon slot in the Vredenburger Studios for the Carpet Sessions this season – Thanks a lot!

So, like last year – if you have an Instant Composition research topic you would like to pursue, or an issue related to Interdisciplinary Improvisation performance that you would like to work out, you are welcome to get in touch and be hosted by the Carpet Sessions in Amsterdam!

Looking forward to this season, with greetings,


Practical announcement, new season

Hi everybody,

after the question of the studio hire that I posted at the beginning of this summer, I had talks with a number of Carpet session people and it seems that those who are willing to share the costs of the Thursday afternoon studio are too few in number (even if it would only mean 5 euro a month and would give those people free access to the studio).

Nothing to do about it. So let us see how everything will work without a fixed studio.

If you think – “WAIT! – You didn’t ask me! I think we should keep it, and by the way I could very well make use of a cheap studio in the centre of Amsterdam”, let me know veeery quickly.¬† ūüôā

As for now, the Interdisciplinary Improvisation Research will continue this season in a more flexible way. The up-side is: there could be Carpet Sessions any place in town, including those better equipped to work with light for example. I will also look into the possibility of hiring a 4 hour slot once a month, so we keep a connection with this charming spot that we have been working in for 2 1/2 years now.

Let’s see what this season will bring.

Former sessions leaders: If you would like to continue your research theme with new sessions, or even dig into something new, just let me know.

Anyone else: If you are a professional improviser who would like to propose a research topic, lead a session or expand our Knowledge Base, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I am very happy to keep facilitating in any way I can.

Looking forward to the growing content and insights we will be gathering!

all the best, Thomas

PS: Because of the nature of the contract, we will have the Thursday afternoon studio for another two months, anyway.  So for the period until beginning of November, sessions can be planned in the familiar way.