Composing With Gesture – Dance Improvisation Intensive Online. Gesture reveals a plethora of information – the nonspoken, the unrealized, or the potential. What if gesture, posture, and facial expression were compositional tools like any other movement in contemporary dance practice?

Where: Zoom

When: Jan. 26th, 27th and 28th, 2022

Deadline for applications: Drop-ins welcome – register any time before the workshops

Jan, 26th, 27th and 28th, 2022
14:00 – 13:30 Greenwich Mean Time (London)
15:00 – 16:30 Central European Time (Berlin)
9:00 – 11:30 East Coast Time (New York)

can also attend through recording of the classes

Gesture reveals a plethora of information – the nonspoken, the unrealized, or the potential. What if gesture, posture, and facial expression were compositional tools like any other movement in contemporary dance practice? What can they bring up, how can they express an internal dialog or external ideas? Can we drop and tune in as much to gesture as to our body and senses?

Join award-winning choreographer Zornitsa Stoyanova in a workshop intensive exploring gesture, posture, and facial expression in contemporary dance composition and instant choreography.

Tools we will explore during the workshop.

Jan 26th
Composing with known gestures vs. with gestures that lack cultural meaning
Gesture as its own dance vs. as decorative add on to existing choreography

Jan 27th
Distorting the self
Shifting meaning one movement at a time
Shifting meaning through full-body transformation

Jan. 28th
Translation through gesture
Composing with rhythm, repetition, and space

***Drop-ins are welcome.

7 to 25 EURO per class sliding scale – or pay what you wish

Wondering how to determine what to pay?
Here is a useful infographic:

I am also accepting payments directly through PayPal at or Venmo @zstoy… If you are sending payment through there, please indicate somewhere “composing with gesture” and the date.

***no one is turned back for lack of funds *** – if the above price is prohibitive to you, please email Zornitsa directly and we will figure something out –

Zornitsa talks about her history with dance and improvisation:

Over twenty-plus years, I’ve studied contact, compositional and emergent improvisation with teachers from all over the world.
My work and research focus on improvisation for performance and I always approach the compositional techniques with an eye toward to presence of the dancer – focusing on methodologies to make my performance alive and in the NOW. I’ve been using gesture and speech in my choreography for over 15 years, developing a specific methodology of listening to the senses that bring language forth. I’ve taken workshops in contemporary Indian dance and have always explored gesture as a potential for meaning, as well as a tool to create comedy. I am fascinated by how classical and folk dance forms use gesture and contemporary and postmodern European centric dance forms largely ignore it.

When I teach…

I synthesize my knowledge and use it toward a practice of openness in Performance.
I set up scores and choreographies of states that create unique yet telling experiences using every theatrical and dance skill in my arsenal.
One of my most influential teachers is Deborah Hay, from whom I have borrowed methodologies in presence, open possibilities, poetics, and composing outside of my rigid compositional brain.
In teaching and making work I adapt a lot of Meg Stuart’s scores in working with power dynamics on stage, morphing the body into recognizability and emotionality both in the face and body.

Other noteworthy teachers of mine are Ishamael Houston Jones, Janine Durning, Danny Lepkoff, Nancy Stark Smith, Susan Rethorst, and many others. From 2005 to 2008, I worked with the Emergent Improvisation Project, researching new forms of improvisation borrowed from biology and neuroscience. Dancing in this project, I was on the cover of the book Composing While Dancing by M. Buckwalter. With Graffito Works (2015 – 2017), again an improvisation company, I danced in various museum and art collections outside the theater. In 2021, I initiated the beginning of PIC – Platform for Improvisation and Composition in Sofia, Bulgaria. I have also danced for Eiko & Koma, Boris Charmatz, Cie. Willy Dorner, Lionel Popkin, and many other less-known names. For me, dance improvisation is an opportunity to reveal the true nature of life, the dancer their psyche, and the reason to be on stage at this moment.

How to register:v

Costs for participants: Each class is €7 – €25 Sliding Scale – or pay what you wish.

Contact details: For any questions about the workshop or payment, you can contact Zornitsa Stoyanova directly at

For further information, please visit

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