Calling all improvisers – Sandberg grad exhibiton session 18 June

Hello everyone,

My name is Julien, I’m a student at the Sandberg Instituut and a past participant of the Carpet Sessions. I am looking to invite you for an exploratory improv session during my grad exhibition on the afternoon of Saturday, June 18th.

I am currently concluding my research into movement as political expression. For my graduation work I’m constructing a round platform 480cm in diameter and 50cm high, with a curved and unstable underside. I aim to use the platform as a basis for generating alternative gestures, scenarios, and concepts, in an effort to enable latent forms of political expression to emerge.

I’ll be programming the installation with a panel discussion and (hopefully) a session with SNDO students, and I’d love to host a session with participants from the Interdisciplinary Instant Composition group.

I’m looking for 3-10 people to join me in exploring how the platform can enable new ways to improvise political expression. I can create a framework or meet with you beforehand to co-create, it’s up to us.

If you’re interested, please send an email to And if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

In gratitude,

Second round of ‘Can i go solo?’ starts december 3. 13.00-1530. Welcome!

3/10/17 december 13.00-15.30

A new series of three sessions start next week. artists from any discipline (performing ans non-performing) are welcome to join us in the search for balancing the groupwork and solowork within improvisation. What makes us a group, how do we perform as a group, how can i go solo within the group, where is my timing, our energy, how does it flow?

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor group

all these questions came up in the previous series. Now we want to continue our work.

if you want to know what happened in the previous sessions, read our summary below

Leave a respons if you want to join in.

There was a sense of Rebellion”

About Can I go solo?

Three sessions have taken place by now.

In these three sessions we worked with actors, musicians, dancers, visual artists.

A lot of questions arose during the work. We wrote them down to share, but we didn’t try to come to a group answer on them. Everyone found their own answers (or not). The ones i write down here are a combination of our shared observations and my personal thoughts on the subject.

Questions written down were:

  • What is my relationship to groups 4-20 people? How do I explore that physically, sonically, etc.?
  • if you are are so together as a group, how do you start a new initiative? When do you leave what you do and adept/imitate?
  • Is being a group truly in what you do or in being aware the others are doing/starting something else? (how to make it organic instead of dropping it immediately)
  • How to keep personal freedom within a group.
  • Where’s the balance between following-leading?
  • Is it possible to follow and lead at the same time by all at once? A group mind which also listens to the individual?
  • What is the role of patience?
  • In which layer can we do “all the same”? Surrender to actual copying and trust that this will lead to something else?
  • Can a solo be created organically through group work or the sensitivity of the group?
  • Do you (I) dare to ‘take the stage’ in group work?
  • Can i tune into group thought the focus of developing solo material? During the sessions a lot of questions arose. Such as:
  • Are you a soloist when you are the only one doing something (e.g. a remark on being the only one with a certain expertise in the group)
  • Are you having a solo moment when you are not doing what everybody else does, but are still attributing to the impro?
  • What does it mean to be together and how does that relate to different disciplines?
  • How do we become a group thanks to our diverse background, instead of in spite of that.
  • How can we use our own expertise/background/discipline to contribute to this improvisational set

Observations on GROUP:

We started our research by doing the same thing all together at the same time. There was no audience, everybody was improvising all the time, the whole time. This lead to the following remarks:

Not copying defines the group, but focusing on the same while doing different things.

A group becomes interesting to watch when you can still see the individuals within the group.

Feeling part of the group came with a feeling of organic mood/rhythm/movement.

There was a sense of rebellion, which leads to making small changes to the given group theme: was this impatience or evolution?

The second and third sessions we worked with a more structured way of improvising. There was audience, and the structure meant we started with an empty space, and one by one we would start improvising, up to a maximum of 4 performers. This way we wanted to create more room, time and space for all the elements we encountered in the first session. It gave us the possibility to observe the process more. These are some observations on those sessions.

What makes us a group? The very fact that we are in this room, concentrating on the same work, makes us a group. But then we find there are groups within groups.

The performers are a group, the visual artists are a group, the audience is a group. You can play with this. You can try to diffuse the boundaries between these sub-groups by not acknowledging the difference. If you consider everyone who is physically present as part of the group, then you create a kind of confusion for everyone about the part their taking in the improvisation (e.g. Is there an audience, when you consider the audience a part of the improvisers?)

TRUST was a word that came up more and more; trusting your group members to focus on the same thing as you. Trusting the each other to follow and lead when it feels necessary. But also trusting yourself to change or alter the improvisations form/energy/etc. When you think it necessary.

It appears that often everyone felt the action needed to change, but no one dared taking charge and break or shift the action. So group ca also mean no one dares to take initiative.

Trusting the group gives a natural rhythm to the improvisation.

Waiting long enough to be/ feel like a group seems to be important.


We defined a difference between the several actions you can take as a group;

You can ADD to one another’s action. Meaning a does something, and B steps in and does something to counter it, or support it or, broaden it.

but you can also BUILD. This would mean, A starts with an action, B steps in and does the same, so does C, D, etc. By committing our self to this one action as a group, we narrow down and intensify the action until a climax is reached, after which something new can start to happen.

DIVERSIFYING would mean that every group member has an individual action, but is still very much aware of the actions of all the other performers. So there is still a group work going on, although it is not immediately clear on sight what the group focus is. It’s just the TRUST between all the group members that our mutual focus will keep us together.

On the matter of SOLO:

Does solo work exist within a group? Or is it merely a continuous shifting of focus, between doing the same thing, to everybody doing something individual to one person doing something different from the rest, with all the group giving their attention?

Also solo moments can work as a tool for changing the group energy ans rhythm. It bends/breaks/shifts the ongoing flow.

Solo can be:

a new starting point

the shifting of focusing

breaking the energy.


In the first session the performing group seemed to be a more dominant subgroup within the group. Fast decision making, feedback, action, leading. Whereas the non-performing artists seemed more observant, following, silent. After talking about this the next session, there was more room for different kind of impulses and initiative. More visual actions, more awareness of space, colour, sound. And a greater sense of freedom by everyone to bring in any impulse or action you wanted. This freedom led to a beautiful series of moments where performance, colour, sound and spacing came together. This freedom seemed to give us more sensitivity for each others’ impulses and more possibilities to explore new grounds.


Dear friends and colleagues,

The last period of time I´ve been searching for opportunities  to share and show my work to different groups of people on the places where they actually live or spend their time.
Like as: zorgcentra/care centers, elderly houses, and community centers/buurthuizen.
During this on going practice ,I would like to explore the following questions: what” it is” to perform in relation to  people instead of creating a relationship with them. How to initiate a dialogue through the body and the senses and being seduced by the ephemeral and unexpected. How to give up expectations that usually arise with performing. How to forget about performing while performing. How  to practice openess within an unfamiliar context.
If you are interested in exploring performing in this context and researching the questions that arise , there is an opportunity to do so in a Buurthuis on 14 December. I asked the coordinator whether they would be interested in a performance by diverse voices and bodies and they responded with enthousiasm.
14th December is the date they proposed..Since  almost everybody in Buurthuizen are working on a voluntary basis, there is little  or no money involved. They offer us lunch instead.
It is important to clarify that I’m taking the initiative but I”m not directing the project.  Instead, I”m calling on you to build up something together. To join forces, ideas, inspirations, availability. The list is long….
If you know fellow improvisers who might be interested as well, please, spread the word.
I hope I hear from you soon,
Warm greetings,
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The Secret Life of Phrases – 2 Concert/Performances

Two Concert/Performances coming up – and another open session for you to join – as a conclusion to our short research into voice and movement improvisation 

A musical phrase, just as a movement phrase are the DNA of any music/dance improvisation performance. They are building blocks, that combined create more complex structures of dance, composition, story…And what are phrases themselves made of? Sounds, tones, rhythmical relationships in music, and for physical performers: smaller pieces of movements and the way they are pieced together in tension and timing.

Dance & Voice: Sarah Kate Gardiner, Maria Michailidou, Johnny Schoofs, Marc Alexander Nukoop, Virag Dezso, Moira Mirck, Petra Pieck, Marjolijn Roeleveld, Yinske Silva, Marisa Grande, Thomas Johannsen

Saturday 29 March at 19.00-19:45 in Amsterdam 

DANSMAKERS, Eerste Helmerstraat 102 ½ (opposite 147) – free admission to the performance

In the afternoon, dancers and singers can join an open practice session (IC practice) where we will share results of our research (16:00 doors open, session 16:30-18:45, contribution: 15 euro) Please announce if you would like to join the session via writing a comment to this post (click here).

Sunday 30 March at 16:00 – 17:30 (with pause) in Utrecht a performance in the BOILER ROOM series @

HET HUIS Utrecht, Boorstraat 107

Admission: 6 Euro

The BOILER ROOM is the new monthly music&dance improvisation event in Utrecht, inviting dance & music professionals to perform in instant composition settings.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the performances and sharing this work with you!

“The Secret Life of Phrases” has been a project by Marisa Grande & Thomas Johannsen, in collaboration with the Genetic Choir, the IC Practice of Dansimprovisatie Utrecht&Amsterdam and the Carpet Improvisation Research.

Signs & wonder(ing)

After last week’s session with Michael Fischer on Instant Composition Conducting, the group of singers, musicians and dancers will give a performance tonight at TABULA RASA in Maarten Luther Kerk, joined by some other great improvisation musicians:

Evening starts at 20:00, we will perform around 21:00.

Wednesday 24th, 2012  – TABULA RASA @ Maarten Lutherkerk – Dintelstraat 134, Amsterdam-Zuid – Entrance free, donations welcome.

20:00 DUO Mayas – Altman

Laura Altman (AU): Clarinet
Magda Mayas(DE): piano


21:00 Connected for lift off – Signs & wonder(ing)

Genetic Choir:
Gabrielle Barros Martins
Yinske Silva
Marjolijn Roeleveld
Emiel Zonneveld
Hans Paape
Tanaquil Schuttel
Amazone Nativel
Thomas Johannsen
Peter Huber
Maaike van de Westhering, Tom Goldhand, Suzan Lemont: dance
José Rodrigues Gomes: recorders, bass dulcian

Laura Altman: clarinet

Christian Ferlaino: alto sax

Felicity Provan: trumpet

Jori van Cranenburgh: violin
Noortje Kohne: violin
James Hewitt: violin
Guillermo Celano: guitar
Harald Austbo: cello
Marko Bonarius: double bass
Jeen Raabs: guitar
Magda Mayas: piano
Kiriakos Spirou: tablet-synthesizer
Robert van Heumen: laptop, controllers
Marcos Baggiani: drums
Michael Fischer: instant composition conducting
This is the first and only encounter of this group of artists gathered, searching for unheard and unseen connections, enriching and uplifting textures, the depth and the wideness, the music is based on free improvisation, hand-signs will organize the performance. Everything emerges out of the moment, even most of us will meet the others the first time ever at MLK this evening. Wish you were here joining us at the unexpected, enjoying this moment in time.
Venue: MLK – Maarten Luther Kerk, Dintelstraat 134, Amsterdam-Zuid /