Bill Arnold, Courtesy Arnold

Co-creator of Contact Improvisation, improviser extraordinaire, and founder and co-editor of Contact Quarterly, Nancy Stark Smith passed away on May 1. A force as a dancer and an educator, she created a network of love for improvisation on a global scale. She died in her home in Florence, MA, of ovarian cancer. Messages from all over the world registered shock, sadness and poetic memories on social media.

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(clockwise from top left) Douglas Dunn, Steve Paxton, David Gordon, Becky Arnold, Yvonne Rainer and Barbara Lloyd Dilley. Photo courtesy of Dance Magazine archives

“When they entered, they were hidden by huge winglike constructions made from parachutes. Carolyn Brown moved down the center line of the rink on pointe, while the men rolled down the edges of the rink and, having reached the opposite end, spiraled around, switched paths, and rolling back to their starting points, swooped around to pick Brown up as she returned along the center line. They partnered her, lifting her and carrying her as they skated in circles and figure eights..."

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