Letter to Contact Quarterly
Yevhen Vovk
I met CI in Goa in 2012.

In my life there were 2 things that impressed me so much at the first meeting - kitesurfing and contact improvisation.
I looked at these people, and what they did seemed to me incredible. I did not know what I should do, so I did what I always do - sat down in the corner and started a tea ceremony. After a few minutes, people began to roll out of the jam, drink a cup or two with me, and roll back to the dance.

One of the first to roll out was Angelica Doniy :)
A few years later, when we met, we recognized each other.

I started to dance a lot in 2015.
There was a war in Ukraine, I worked in the crisis management of Amnesty International, being regularly on both sides of the front line, and needed something that would make me feel alive. I went to one contact festival, then to another, and since then I've been dancing constantly, contact improvisation has become my passion. Also, since the end of 2015, I have been studying craniosacral therapy at the Upledger Institute.

Since 2016, we have organized various contact activities in Kiev with my friend, but in 2017 I started SOMATIQ and our roads have diverged.

I like to discover new dimensions and opportunities but in a same time I prefer to respect the practice itself and not to challenge it too much.
As an organizer, I like to experiment with formats - for example, to arrange a contact festival in complete silence, snowboard and contact festival or to split the intensives in accordance with gender identity, with the possibility of meeting in the jam. But I never interfere in what is happening in the classroom - this I completely trust the teachers.

In the 90s and 2000s contact festivals arose mainly on the basis of national communities. Somatiq represents a model of the development of body practicioner in the global world - projects in different countries, international community, collaborations and cooperation on the principle of win-win. At the moment I do everything alone but I feel it's time to become a part of sustainable team of independent organisers. Since 2019 I am going to leave 2 projects - Ukrainian Contact Camp, 3 weeks in May, where I want to research the community work and Georgian Contact Festival - 3 weeks in September-October, as an opportunity of deep immersion into practice. Also I started regular contact classes in Tbilisi, Georgia. It is a big challenge for me - to create a new community in a new country, and I am really inspired with that.

My aim is to create the real contemporary art festival with 6 hours of physycal practice daily (instead of drugs or alcohol)

I think that staying connected with all senses, we are able to more clearly perceive, transform and translate into tangible reality the meanings that we meet in the subtle world. This is the main subject of my research and my political manifesto. Being "Somatiq" these days means balancing the digital component of the reality of a modern human being with a living presence in the body and a sensual environment. The connection with sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, proprioception and sense of time creates the quality of simultaneous presence in many dimensions.
I call it "Aesthesys", from the Greek word "aestheticos" - "percieved by the senses". It started with a practice of tea ceremony in 2004 and then, incorporating the principles of contact improvisation, BMC, butoh, performance, craniosacral therapy and a number of other body practices, has transformed into what I am doing now.

In a contact dance, each of the senses can contain an impulse to move or be a support for balance. For example, if you listen, you can restore balance, and by defocusing your vision, you will feel movement better. Working with mental images, you can change the sense of your weight, and by learning to back out within touch, learn to feel the body of another person better than himself.

I think that today's somanauts, using the resources of the global network, will achieve tremendous success in practice, no less than the ancient Yogis or Taoists.
We live in an interesting time, full of opportunities for development. I think we were very lucky. Let's dance!

I just attached a dozen of pics, you can choose some if needed, or ask me about more.
Also feel free to ask questions, if they will come.

SOMATIQ is an international multidisciplinary body platform and community that creates conditions for the development of modern physical (somatic) practices.

We invite interesting teachers who represent different approaches to working with the body and give them space for experiment. We work in 4 main sections - movement, performance, contact and bodywork. We invite teachers from Contact Improvisation, Axis Syllabus, BMC, contemporary dance, gaga, Feldenkrais, cranio and biodynamic therapy, ideokinesis, butoh, playfight etc.
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