Guidelines for the jam

The following guidelines have helped us keep the jam a safe, caring place.  If you are interested using them for your jam, they are in Word files at the bottom of this webpage - feel free to download and modify them as you wish.  At our jam the first flier is on bright orange paper, the second flier is on yellow paper.  They are on a table at the entrance to the jam and also where people sit and watch as well.

---------------------------------------- The Jam Welcome Flier ----------------------------------------------

Welcome to the Chicago Sunday Contact Improvisation Jam


1) You are solely responsible for your safety.  By choosing to be on the dance floor, you agree to assume complete liability for any injuries you incur, regardless of the cause. 

·    Do not do things that make you feel unsafe; do not assume that because others are doing something it is safe for you to do it.

·    Do not try to convince anyone to do something they don’t feel ready to do.

2) If anyone says “Stop” or “No”, STOP.  Assess your own safety and the safety of those around you. Do what is needed to keep the jam safe.

3) Contact improvisation requires sensitivity and attention.  Respect for the needs of others is essential for this activity. Let others know if you feel these qualities are getting lost.

This is a friendly place. Ask more experienced jam members questions when you need to.  Have a great jam!

--------------------------------  Jam Guidelines on Personal Boundaries ----------------------------

Personal Boundaries


You have the right to change how you are in contact with your partner, change the dynamics of the dance, say “stop” or “no” in the dance, or move away from a situation that doesn’t suit you at any time.  Unexpected changes in dances are part of the practice of Contact Improvisation - there is no need to apologize, accommodate, or explain.


Your sense of well-being is important:  you need to be able to define what safe and acceptable behavior is toward you, and to communicate this to your partner(s) as needed. If you are having difficulty with this, remove yourself from the dance (you can say “I’m sorry, but I have to stop now” if you want) and find the person leading the jam – even if they seem busy, let them know you would like their assistance.


Each of us is responsible for helping maintain a dance space where everyone can feel safe.





Talking about thoughts, perceptions and feelings we have during dances is needed for us to develop connections with our partner(s) and to process our experiences.  It is part of the practice of Contact Improvisation.  


Communication is especially important when we have experiences that challenge our internal equilibrium.  If something happens in a dance that troubles you, consider talking with those involved.  It is often helpful to first express curiosity about how your partner(s) experienced the dance.  You can then share your experience, and initiate a discussion of what was difficult for you. 



Intimacy, Sensuality, Sexuality


The Chicago Sunday jam is not the place to look for sexual partners, or for overt sexual behavior. 


Our focus is on Contact Improvisation and improvised movement – qualities of intimacy, sensuality and sexuality can be a part of these explorations, but must be modified if anyone feels things have become inappropriate for the jam setting.




[The above guidelines are based on those developed by the Boulder Contact Lab - the Chicago jam is forever grateful for their insightful work and generosity.]

Please be aware that the above guidelines are not meant to be complete, but instead are just a starting place for raising awareness, reflection and discussion. If you are interested in something more elaborate, check out the Toronto Wednesday Contact Jam guidelines at

(I think they're great.)

Daniel Halkin,
Feb 4, 2014, 7:33 PM
Daniel Halkin,
Feb 4, 2014, 7:33 PM