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The Basics

This page is for general info about the East Coast Jam. See At the Jam Details for info specifically about being at the jam.

Contact Improvisation (CI)

CI is a kind of game or dance form where points of physical contact provide the starting point for exploration of collaborative movement improvisation. In practice, CI is one of the best-known forms of postmodern dance, as well as a basis for social dance gatherings. For more details, see the Wikipedia CI entry and the descriptions on the Contact Quarterly resources page.

The East Coast Jam

The East Coast jam is a multi-day Contact Improvisation regional gathering at Claymont Court Seminars and Retreat Center in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Charles Town, West Virginia, around one and a half hour's car ride from the center of Washington, DC, USA. This gathering has been happening twice yearly, in the Spring and Fall, since 1987. (Sometimes an ECJ is held to celebrate New Years, as well.)

Welcoming all experience levels, the Jam includes facilitated warm-ups, open dancing, an evening of performance, two dance spaces, shared lodging, luscious vegetarian meals, sauna, wide vistas, lots of beautiful spaces to explore. Each event includes between 35 and 50 jammers.

our residence during the jamThe jam happens at Claymont Court Seminars and Retreat Center near Charles Town, West Virginia. Claymont Court is a 150 year old estate featuring around 350 acres of woods, fields, farmland, and a colonial mansion (pictured) where the jam group resides. Near Harper's Ferry W.Va, it's about a 95 minute (65 mile) drive from Washington, DC, yet it offers an idyllic rural gathering in which to explore, dance, create and find new inspirations for movement and growth.

Claymont is available as a retreat center through the efforts of residents who are part of the evolving Claymont Society for Continuous Education. The society was founded by J.G. Bennett in the spirit of G.I. Gurdjieff's teachings, and the people are friendly, like-minded hosts for the East Coast Jam, with several members of their community participating over the years.

Address: Claymont Society Claymont Court Mansion Charles Town, WV 25414 - the link is to the Claymont Mansion, where we reside during the jam, on a Google map. Use that map's directions feature for up-to-date directions.

All levels welcome

Any responsible adult having an interest in Contact Improvisation and the willingness to dance in so far as you are able. We welcome all experience levels.
We welcome kids, but need to know that their attending parents will make sure that the kids are adequately supervised. Kids 11 and younger get a discount on meals and accommodations.

The Jam is a Collaboration Among Peers - Much Like a Dance

ECJ 2000 GroupWarmups, workshops, performances, and other structures are initiated and lead by participants - jammers. We all gather for a daily "town meeting" to discuss and schedule whatever needs discussion and scheduling, introduce new arrivals, and generally connect as a group. Jam participation includes a one hour community work shift, doing a chore that helps the place run well. A few jammers are responsible for organizing the logistics before and during the event and facilitating the community meetings, but it is up to all the jammers to shape and make things happen

In addition to open jamming, activities might include an UnderscoreAuthentic Movement, Round Robins, volunteer-taught beginning Contact Improv classes, improv structures, group discussions, improvisation scores indoors and out, and so on.

When is the Next one? How much does it cost? Etc...

Logistical details for each jam are in each jam event document - here's the one for the next jam.

Respecting Boundaries

Contact Improvisation is based around mutual cooperation rather than control. To work well it depends on mutual respect for one another's boundaries. Respecting Boundaries describes this core principle - please read it, to help foster a good and safe jam!


Claymont does not allow pets. Exceptions can be made for assistive service animals.

Is there useful information missing, here? Tell us what's missing using the comment contact link (top of the page), and we'll try to add the info.

How to Use This Site

What is all this?

See the the home page intro and the "About" section.

When is the next ECJ?

See "Upcoming Jams" in the middle of the home page or the Upcoming Jams page.

How do I register for the next jam?

Visit the Jam Registration page.

What's new?

See the "Recent News" sidebar or the full list.

How do I contact someone about the site?

Follow the contact link at the top of any page.