Excitement is brewing as we realise the breadth of experience we are able to bring together this year.  We have highly experienced international tutors and also New Zealand tutors from across both Islands!    It shaping up to be quite a week!  In a bid to build community,  emergent teachers are pairing up with  those more experienced and there is lots of co creating magic happening.  

We are starting to get very excited, look below for details and you'll see why!  

Teachers and Facilitators - 2019
Defne Erdur

Defne Erdur (TR/FR) is a multidisciplinary artist and a therapist trained in Contemporary Dance (PhD), Sociology (MA), Inter-model Expressive Art Therapy, Body Therapies (Deep Tissue Release, Trigger Point & Movement, Integrative Cranio-sacral Therapy), Meditation (WPI), and Trauma Healing (Somatic Experiencing, Integral Somatic Psychology). 

She works with different populations ranging from professional and amateur dancers to therapists; from women to migrant children & youth. Her practice is mostly informed by her intensive trainings with Simone Forti, Julyen Hamilton, John Britton, Nancy Stark Smith, Daniel Lepkoff, Kirstie Simson, Nita Little, Frey Faust, Keith Hennessy, Shelly Senter, Aydın Teker, Marcia Plevin and Julia Buckroyd.

Invested in building safe, inclusive, and collaborative creative environments she offers her workshops –Hunting Gathering Cultivating, Every Body Knows, Mind the Body, and Embodying Time– around the world.

She’s been regularly teaching at ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival. She taught in Tanzhaus Zurich, Konservatorium Wien, MSGSU Istanbul State Conservatory, ElimSende, ÇATI Contemporary Dance Artists Association, HaRaKA-Cairo; CI Festivals of Kuala Lumpur, Vienna, Berlin, Frieburg, Paris.

She supported WINPeace and Beyond Borders initiatives; founded CI-Turkey and wrote her PhD thesisnon Contact Improvisation and its effects on the physical, artistic and psycho-social development of amateur dancers. Defne is also the co-founder and editor of idocde.net and co-editor of mindthedance.com.

Currently, she lives in Lyon-France and offers workshops for CFMI Université Lyon 2 and Association Helix. She collaborates with Explorations Spheriques Association and Labodance for various researches around CI (ICICIRPSIT) and with Nita Little for founding ISSC (Institute for the Study of Somatic Communication).

Defne Erdur
Defne Erdur
Belinda Cussen

Belinda Cussen 

In every dance, I feel the global tapestry of contact improvisation - all the people I have danced with, who have danced with each other and all the other dances they’ve danced.

I feel the tapestry of teachers and students weave within me and weave me within the tapestry. I am the product of all those dances and my job now is to share the threads of contact improvisation - to weave in a new generation.

Belinda has been practicing Contact Improvisation globally for the last 20 years and teaches regular CI classes in Melbourne. She also practices Tai Chi and is currently studying Chinese medicine.

val smith is a pākehā, non-binary, queer artist / dance educator / community activator / writer based in Tāmaki Makaurau.  They have been teaching Contact Improvisation (CI) since 2000 throughout Aotearoa, and in Australia and the US, and hosting CI jams, workshop series and performance events through the initiative Community of Touch since 2008.  They are particularly interested in holding space for the difficult conversations in CI communities.

val’s creative practice plays with gentle subversions of perception and participation in performance through somatic and improvisational approaches.  They are currently undertaking a PhD project at AUT in the field of choreographic practice-led research, and also teach dance in tertiary and community contexts.

val smith
Asho Gevorgyan

Asho Gevorgyan is experience Qi Gong instructor and co creator of the NZ Contact Retreat

Catherine Magill

Catherine Magill

Until Catherine gets her bio to me, I am going to affectionately entitle her as "The Grand Mam of CI in Australia.  From the little time I have known her, I have come to realise that she is a driving force for CI, and a supportive and influential being on this earth.  

David Blomcamp

David Blomcamp 'Dingo' is a ZenThai Shiatsu therapist and yoga teacher.   He has spent the last few years of his life immersed in the study of the human body through movement. He weaves his knowledge of ZenThai Shiatsu bodywork, Chinese Medicine, and his multi faceted yoga practice into his teachings. 


His work as a bodywork therapist has given him an intimate understanding of how to release deep tension held within the body. 

He has a disciplined asana practice that takes inspiration from his time studying Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin Yoga. He is continually studying and evolving himself as a student and a practitioner. 

Clare Luiten

Clare Luiten

As a moving artist and human I like to drop in.  Or perhaps drop out? CI is one way of doing that.  CI is like a reflection on where you are, where you’ve been, and opens doorways of potentialities and propositions.  It is very human in its use of touch, playful and challenging as our animal selves can be, and intuitively channelling for our inner artist.   Clare Luiten has a rich and extensive movement career both as a dancer, teacher, artist, and bodyworker.

Clare draws from a broad range of modalities, including Contemporary Dance, Contact Improvisation Dance, Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, Qi Gong, and Zen Thai Shiatsu. She is one of the co -creative forces behind the NZ Contact Retreat and is very pleased to draw together people to celebrate the pleasure and freedom of movement and nature.

Chloe Loftus

Chloe Loftus has been creating new exciting choreographic work that engages the public eye for over a decade.  Chloe returned to live in New Zealand in 2016 and is continuing her career here. She was awarded Auckland Parks Artist-in-Residence 2017, choreographed for Touch Compass, is touring a new outdoor work ‘Out of the Blue’ in NZ and the UK throughout 2018 and gaining new arts festival commissions. 

Chloe’s choreographic work has been routed in contact dance and she has taught extensively throughout the UK including university, MA and professional level workshops and intensives.  

Juliet Shelley

Juliet graduated with a BA in Dance Theatre from the Laban Centre, London and attended the SNDO School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam. She began teaching Contact Improvisation in Oxford in 1987 whilst dancing and performing with Lucia Walker, Andy Solway and Steve Batts. Juliet has taught CI in England, the Netherlands, Italy, Singapore, USA, New Zealand and Australia. She is a performer of live/instant composition and has presented her work internationally, working both solo, with other groups and with Open Frame Performance, her own company. In 2018 she set up a new home base for the Contact community in Wellington at Toi Poneke Arts Centre dance studio in Wellington and currently runs classes and jams on Thursday evenings. 

Leah Baxter


Leah was first introduced to Contact Improvistation as a form in 2013. She dances regularly with the melbourne CI community and has learnt from others in Israel, India and Finland. Her ever evolving movement practices includes Body Mind Centering and somatic flow, Fighting Monkey, partner acrobatics, Zen Thai Shiatsu, tantric hatha yoga and bedroom booty shaking to wake up in the mornings. 

Leah Baxter

Miriam Marler has a background in contemporary dance practices (Unitec BPSA), and has studied dance at post graduate level (PGDip Creative Practice, Auckland; Master of Dance Studies, Otago) with a focus on Min Tanaka's Body Weather. Miriam is influenced by artists she's  trained, collaborated or worked with such as Louise Potiki Bryant, val smith, Anna Bate, Charles Koroneho, Ali East, Hahna Briggs, Ojeya Cruz Banks, Min Tanaka, Dairakudakhan Butoh Company. In 2018 she held the role of Teaching Fellow for Movement Education at the University of Otago's School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences. 

Miriam Marler
Merryn Jane

Merry Jane

Merryn's workshops are founded upon modern science, functional anatomy and movement mechanisms, Traditional Chinese Medicine, ancestral practices and ancient philosophies.   Merryn has deeply explored the fascial network system and its wholistic correlations. Her studies with Thomas Myers (Anatomy Trains), Gwyn Williams (Zenthai Shiatsu), Dr. Robert Schleip and Divo Muller (Fascial Fitness) and Donna Farhi (Yoga Therapy), have influenced her unique body of work which offers a vision into the availability of healing and liberation for the whole being. 

Merryn is truly in her element when presenting at retreats and festivals. Offering workshops at the Woodford Folk Festival, Byron Spirit Festival, High Vibes on the Mountain, Winter Solstice Festival and numerous Yoga festivals and retreats in Australia – these have touched many. Throughout 2018 Merryn has shared her passion and knowledge with students as a Lead Teacher and Co-facilitator within the Zenthai Shiatsu Therapists Program as well as offering an innovative and integrative approach to anatomy within multiple Yoga Teacher Training programs.  

Ben is a Nelson Based dancer.

His bio will come shortly!  

Ben Bushell