Type of Proposal

Performance (Music, Dance, Dramatic Art, etc.)

Streaming Media


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

Gina Lori Riley

Start Date

24-3-2015 1:00 PM

End Date

24-3-2015 1:50 PM

Importance of the Project

This theatrical piece, created by two members of the 3rd year Acting program at the University of Windsor, Marina Gomes and Brian Haight, will focus on examining different qualities of touch as well as the importance of this touch within the setting of a romantic relationship. It will serve as an artistic observation of how relationships change and how people adapt to both give and take weight based on their partner's needs at a given point in time. This piece was devised using the artistic medium of Contact, a form of physical-based theatre and dance formally created in the 1970s and 1980s, and will therefore rely on the actors' bodies to transmit a story both written and performed by the actors themselves. It will also bring Contact to a more public view where it has been (so far) mostly unrecognized. Most importantly, though, it will ask what it means to touch another person both physically and metaphorically. Our piece entitled "Now What" is a poignant expression of the beauty and responsibility that comes with the important, ever-present sense that is touch.

Existing State of Knowledge

Passed on to us by our professor of Movement for the Actor, Gina Lori Riley, Contact is an aspect of dance and theatre that arose in the early 1970s. Originally inspired by American choreographer Steve Paxton, this art form has been used sporadically in Western culture throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Through the transference of weight between two people, great feats of balance and strength are achieved all directed towards the creation of captivating, truthful stories. This art form has been largely neglected by popular theatres in America and Canada and has never truly been recognized for its great potential to engage audiences and sculpt dynamic productions. Marina and Brian hope to bring this niche art-form to the public eye so that it may truly be seen as a powerful artistic method with which to explore human relationships.

Research Question

What does it mean to touch another person?


Through months of exploration, preparation, and finally presentation, Marina and Brian created a piece which centers around the lives of a man and a woman who find themselves struggling to cope with a change in their relationship. After an accident, the man loses the use of his legs and the couple must reacquaint themselves with day to day life as mundane tasks such as getting dressed and brushing their teeth become seemingly insurmountable. The woman must question whether she truly wants to be placed in this situation or if it would be better to leave. To address these qualms and problems, Brian and Marina devoted long periods of time to research and composition of a piece that shows the switch that occurs in the movements and psyches of an average couple faced with a less than desirable reality. Contact emphasizes how these people interact with each other and what it means for them to touch.

Your Findings

This piece has only been a small introduction to the idea of touch and contact between persons, but it has amplified and underlined the ways in which we contact each other. Brian and Marina have grown in this process in their understandings of contact, communication, touch, and love as actors and as people. In discussions with audience members, viewers have expressed their new found respect for the sharing of weight and their views on touch. This piece is an artistic method of sharing human qualities often overlooked or taken for granted by society. Brian and Marina have been moving towards furthering their work by creating a longer, more inclusive show that examines contact and touch at different points throughout the lifespan of two people, but for now they are content with sharing a scene from the piece they have created so far in order to address touch and Contact in our growing world.


Mar 24th, 1:00 PM Mar 24th, 1:50 PM

Now What: An Examination of Touch Through the Artistic Form of Contact