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.

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!

Everything is looking

photo: Alaina Abplanalp photography
photo: Alaina Abplanalp photography

Happy New Year!  😀

In the first research session of 2015, Kenzo Kusuda and Thomas Johannsen will take a closer look at the central matter of live performance: that you are involved in a moment with somebody else who is looking/listening. In fact, there is no reason to perform if it is not for someone – or something – that is looking. Especially this second notion, that ‘things’ just as people are looking at you, gives a twist to researching the audience-performer relationship that we are curious to follow on this afternoon.

15 January 2015, 13:00-17:00

If you are an experienced improviser (of any discipline), you are very welcome to join us. As we would like to know who is coming, please announce yourself by writing a comment to this post.

Let us know your discipline if we don’t know you, so we get an impression of the group that will gather. See you there!

More info: What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio?  (click here)


“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: €15,-
Address: Dansmakers Amsterdam, Eerste Helmerstraat 102 ½ (opposite 147)


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

With warm greetings,

Thomas & Marisa