Carpet season starting! – Overview for 2015/16

HereandNowfrontpageHello all!

While the first Carpet session of the season is on it’s way – have fun over there! –  I prepared this season’s start update for you.

  • Below, an overview of all the currently planned sessions.
  • There is a report on our recent Carpet picknick. You can read there what we discussed – about what we find important in being part of this initiative and about how to develop this open platform of professionals further this season. Follow this link to read more.
  • The costs sharing we do this year in two ways:
    • Carpet Session regulars and session leaders give 50,- for the whole season. Then you don’t have to donate for any session anymore, whether joining or leading.
    • ‘Guest’ to a session we ask to donate what they can, on a gliding scale between 5 and 10 Euro. The idea is that to cover all costs we make the year round, 10 euro is realistic to ask, but we do not want to create a barrier for those improvisers who want to check us out and wouldn’t join because of money. So for those on a small budget, any amount from 5 euro is fine!
      If you want to be a Carpet Session regular and give the 50 euro per season (or you simply want to be a supporter of this initiative, however often you will be able to attend), follow this link to read how it works.

Here now all planned sessions until now:

17+24 September – ‘Identity’
sessions with Zwaan de Vries and Nadine Grinberg

29 October, 12 & 19 November – “Grooves & Grounds” (worktitle) – An exploration into ‘groove’ as a focus for interdisciplinary improvisation, using voice, body, materials (with Bettina Neuhaus and Thomas Johannsen – more info soon)

As you know, any professional improviser is invited to bring his research to the Carpet Sessions and lead an afternoon (or more) of investigating their chosen issues. If you don’t know the sessions, it is of course best if you join a few times and in that way get in touch with us. But also don’t hesitate to write us a message.

Picknick in the city

wpid-cam00263_edited_resized1.jpgThis Saturday, 15th of August, I am meeting with (at least) Johnny Schoofs, Maria Michailidou, Bettina Neuhaus, Virag Dezso, Anne Gentenaar and (tbc) Kenzo Kusuda to lie in the grass and talk informally about the experiences of last year, wishes for the coming season and how to build further on this open platform initiative.

We are gathering informally for a picknick and if you like, you are very much invited to join us!

It’s a potluck picknick (everyone brings food that he/she likes), I will bring drinks. Place is the lush Eastern Harbour part of Amsterdam.

Gathering point: playground Keesje Brijdeplantsoen (Ertskade), pinpointed here on GoogleMaps.

Time to meet: 16:30

As most of you know, the Carpet Sessions are an open invitation to improvisation professionals from the Dutch scene or from abroad to make use of the Amsterdam studio on Thursday afternoons and propose interdisciplinary research sessions. Any issue that deepens the understanding of improvisation performance and/or of working with several disciplines is welcome here. If you have an urge to research or would like to help expanding the open improvisation knowledge base, feel free to get in touch through our contact page or otherwise.

Here also the preview for the beginning of the Carpet season 2015/16:

10 September –  2nd edition of “Writing on Improvisation”

17+24 September  – “What is identity?” (in improvisation performance) – facilitated by Zwaan de Vries & Nadine Grinberg

For October, Esther Eij is preparing a row of sessions on the issue of group/solo in instant compositions.

Other things on the horizon are furthering our ‘How to write about Improvisation?’ quest through a collaborative session with Benedikte Esperi, visiting from Sweden, and a performative research (theme still to be decided) with Bettina Neuhaus.

More info will follow in due course…!




Carpet Improvisers gathering around foundation Here & Now

Hi everyone,

in anticipation of the coming season of Carpet Sessions, I have some great news:  We have founded a ‘stichting’ (foundation) for improvisation work, which all active members in the Carpet Pool of improvisers could use in the future for their improvisation/research projects, for subsidy applications and for us to generally get organised!HereandNowfrontpage

The foundation got the official name ‘Here and Now, Interdisciplinary Instant Composition’ and we made a provisional website that can be reached via

I would like to meet with all those of you who want to keep this initiative going with me, so we can talk and see how to best organise things from here onwards.

Concretely for next season, my wish would be that we can share the costs of the studio hire (which is done per whole season) with a bigger group.
I can imagine that contributing 35,- Euro per year is in everybody’s reach, and a very attractive amount for a full year (shared) use of a studio. You then become one of the hosts of this interdisciplinary research platform, you can use the Thursday afternoons for your own improvisation projects, but more importantly as a space to invite colleagues to train and investigate with you in open or semi-closed Carpet Sessions or longer Carpet projects.

Next to this, it becomes possible for everyone in this group to apply for funding via the stichting, if at any point that is an interesting option. European projects, connecting us to our friends and improvisation research platforms in other cities (Berlin, Paris, Helsinki,…) also now come into our reach.

Please talk to the improvisation colleagues around you about this! It would be great if we can keep offering this open training ground for improvisation in Amsterdam, and build further with even more people getting involved from all disciplines!

Let me know if you’d like to be part of this via

A nice picknick on a rooftop or in the park, somewhere in August, would maybe be a great moment to gather all of you who want to join  😀   Will let you know!

hug & warm summer wishes,

Relevant Others – regular impro initiatives we are connected with

This post is to list for you some other initiatives that the Carpet Collective is connected with, either in content or geographically. They are all worth checking out!

And do let us know if we forgot about other regular initiatives for interdisciplinary improvisation work that should be mentioned here!

Outside of Holland, there are two Improvisation Laboratories that the Amsterdam scene has been connected with for some time:

Helsinki Meeting Point (HMP) in Helsinki

Instant Pudding in Paris

For Amsterdam and Utrecht people, the following are returning initiatives that you can check out and join, next to our Carpet Sessions:


Area59 – who are organising morning classes and interdisciplinary impro labs in Amsterdam. Area59 is based in the community of dancers/choreographers, but they are very open & investigative concerning interdisciplinary work. The following Carpet Session regulars are at the moment active in leading sessions at area59 (click on the names for more info about the sessions)

Maaike van de Westeringh is hosting an intensive Impro Lab this afternoon. (17:00-19:00)
Maria Mavridou is giving TrainingLabs this week and next in the ‘Dangerous Mouse’ format (intensive movement training)
Thomas Johannsen is giving three interdisciplinary instant composition TrainingLabs next week (8-10 April)
Sarah-Kate Gardiner is following on 13-17 April and
Maria Michailidou on 18-22 May

IC Practice

(Instant Composition Practice bi-monthly at Dansmakers, Amsterdam)

This initiative is completely focused on Instant Composition work and is another great initiative for ‘knowledge&training sharing between improvisation professionals’.

Next edition of the IC Practice will be on April 25th 2015, 16:30-20:00 (audience welcome at 19:00) – Eerste Helmersstraat 102 1/2

More info about this initiative of Dansimprovisatie Utrecht & Amsterdam you can find here.

Genetic Choir
Coming from the field of vocal instant composition, the Genetic Choir bridges from their research into the human voice and open systems to other disciplines on a regular basis. Connecting their musical approach to fine art (graphic score), video and movement research.
Singers of the Genetic Choir are regulars at the Carpet Sessions, but they have also their own training sessions and workshops, mostly in Amsterdam, which you can check out here.

Monday Match, Bimhuis

Formerly called “The Meeting Point” and originally set up by Marcos Baggiani and Valeria Primost (which connected back then already Amsterdam with Helsinki – see above), this is the well-known monthly night of dance&music improvisation in the Bimhuis Amsterdam, which also is sometimes side-stepping into other disciplines…  It is a free evening, thanks to the support of the Bimhuis, almost always a great place to be.

Next edition is curated by Michael Schumacher and Sandra Pujols on 13 April 2015

Boiler Room, Utrecht

Also bi-monthly, this is the regular dance&music improvisation performance night in Utrecht (what the Monday Match at the Bimhuis is for Amsterdam). performance.

Next one is on April 12th 2015, curated by instant composition veteran Katie Duck.




…so far for now.  🙂

Of course this overview is not complete. And we are happy to add to it! Let us know if there are more interdisciplinary improvisation initiatives – near or far – that should be mentioned here!

Facebook Group and upcoming sessions

hi all,

for all of you who spend half their lives on Facebook 😉  – 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

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.  🙂

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.

Next season studio rent?

Dear improvisation researchers,

the season is coming to a close with the summer-break in July and August, and as every year I will have to decide whether to rent the studio (on Thursday afternoons) for another whole season.

This year I feel I definetly need your help in the decision, so please read on.

The arguments for and against are mainly:

+ It is great to have such a pleasant. low-priced studio in the middle of Amsterdam and the weekly slot of available studio time is a good incentive to organise sessions (no extra work to set something up).

– As there are also a lot of Thursdays that we are not using the studio, I am losing money on it. One could argue that our project/this website does not necessarily need a fixed, weekly studio and we could organise things in another way.

I personally still believe that it is a great good to have the studio and therefore have a ‘home’: For the pleasurable feeling of returning (to the work and to the company of great people 🙂 ), and also because the available time every week ‘asks’ to be used and therefore things are more likely to happen.

What I imagine would help is if there would be more people who would shoulder with me the financial risk of the studio being (not) used – or who would be interested to use the studio on days that it is not used for Carpet sessions.

So my concrete question is this:
Would you be willing to become part of a circle of Carpet Session supporters, so that the financial pressure is taken a little bit off me for the coming season?

It would mean something between 5 and 10 euro a month to share the basic costs (depending on how big this circle is), and it would give you free acces to a very nice studio whenever it is not being used.  Next to this, the per-session-contribution for joining Carpet Sessions would fall away for you.

We can, inside this supporters-circle, decide together how to exactly divide the money and use the income from Carpet-Sessions, etc…

Please let me know if you would be up for this (you can also write me an e-mail if you prefer, or use the Contact page)

Any other comments, encouragements or wise words concerning this question are also very welcome.

Looking forward to hearing from you,