About the East Coast Contact Improv Jam


The East Coast Jam is a four-day retreat on a large rural estate to practice Contact Improvisation. We've been gathering twice a year since 1987 and all levels of experience are welcome, from those just getting acquainted with CI to those who have been immersed in it for years. (Some who have been attending the ECJ since our first gatherings here at Claymont Court in West Virginia.)

Our gathering is a jam, not a workshop. We recommend some familiarity with CI and comfort with learning by curiosity and exploration.

Our Jam is a Collaboration Among Peers – Much Like a Dance

Warmups, 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

Open jamming is our primary focus. Other activities typically include an Underscore, and may include jammer-initiated Authentic Movement sessions, round robins, improv structures, group discussions, improvisation scores indoors and out, and so on.

All Experience Levels Welcome, But the Jam is Different From a Workshop

While we welcome all experience levels, the jam is not a workshop. If you are looking for a guided introduction, this might not be the place. We recommend some familiarity with CI or willingness to ask questions and to learn by exploration.

We welcome kids but need to know that their parents or other accountable guardians will be responsible for their supervision. Kids 11 and younger get a discount on meals and accommodations.

Being At the East Coast Jam

See At-the-ECJ Details for various handy details.

When is the Next One, How Much Does it Cost?

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

Contact Improvisation (CI)

CI is a kind of game or dance where people explore moving cooperatively, mutually organizing themselves around shared points of physical contact. In practice, CI is one of the best-known forms of postmodern dance, as well as a basis for dance gatherings: jams. See the Wikipedia CI entry for more.

On This Page

ECJ Glimpses

Rejuvenation of Our Dance Floor

In 2017, after 30 years of gathering at Claymont, we recognized that the much-patched primary dance floor was worn beyond repair. Our host, the Claymont Society for Continuous Education, is a non-profit educational organization and community, without sufficient resources to completely fund the replacement, so we spearheaded an effort to raise funds and members of our community organized construction of a new floor. The new floor is terrific!

Special thanks all who helped with its construction!

Big thanks to kp_nine for putting this video together and Rattlemouth for the music!

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 safe jam!

Claymont Court Retreat Center

The jam happens at Claymont Court Seminars and Retreat Center near Charles Town, West Virginia. Claymont Court is an almost 200-year-old estate featuring around 350 acres of woods, fields, farmland, and a Georgian-style mansion where the jam group resides. Near Harper's Ferry W.Va, it's about a 95-minute (65 mile) drive from Washington, DC. 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 specific location is the Claymont Mansion, where we reside during the jam. The primary dance space is a 1⁄2 mile countryside walk from the residence.

The Claymont Mansion


Claymont does not allow pets. Service animals are permitted.

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