INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF LEARNING | Intimacy & the Civic : a talk with Nita Little + Vanessa Grasse

Friday, 30 July '21   8pm – 9:30pm BST
Online on Zoom
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF LEARNING | Intimacy & the Civic : a talk with Nita Little + Vanessa Grasse

This is an online event.

Joining instructions will be provided after booking.


This year ID is replacing our long-running Crossing Borders talks with a new series of conversations between artists which will take place intermittently. We are producing them in partnership with Sadler’s Wells and Roehampton University, with events happening at each host organisation as well as online. The talks take the title Intimacy and the Civic as a starting point.

Consciousness around both is of course so heightened this year – with restrictions to proximity and touch bringing about a longing for, as well as a fear, of intimacy, and loss of intimacy on an incalculable scale through distancing and death. This coexisting with an urgent need to pay attention to our civic structures and social responsibilities, and to social justice.

Intimacy implies a porosity of the edges between self and other, bodily and emotional entanglements, lines that become knotted, notions of care and kinship and also potential for transgression. The civic implies social organising, boundaries, mechanisms and rules, but also shared spaces holding diverse cultures and functions.

We are curious about the ways these notions might meet, seemingly so at odds with each other. What is the place and the potency of dance within all of this? How can dance enable cohesion, and repair?

For our first Intimacy and the Civic talk we welcome artists Nita Little and Vanessa Grasse to be in conversation online.


Nita Little (USA) investigates embodied attention within movement practices with a concentration on both creative and relational practices. She looks toward a future that recognizes our environmental entanglements and values many forms of embodied communication. A dance researcher, theorist/artist, and one of the founding developers of Contact Improvisation (CI) she teaches around the globe, guiding one of its forward leading edges.

She began nearly 50 years ago, working with Steve Paxton on materials that became CI (1972) and was a participant in the earliest performances and teaching that helped it to become significant within dance and dance communities. Through scoring improvisations, she investigates attention to ecological actions, particularly with respect to somatic communication between humans and between humans and the non-human. Within a lifetime of training, performing, choreographing and dancing, researching relationalities, CI, dance improvisation, a PhD, and a world-wide audience for her teaching, and lecturing, she is an activist for relational intelligence.

Vanessa Grasse (Italy, UK) is a dance and multidisciplinary artist from Sicily, based in Leeds, UK. She explores the crossover between choreography, walking-art and installation, as a vehicle for somatic experiencing and engaging with public spaces, through site-responsive, ecological, improvisational, participatory, and cross-disciplinary practices.

She is interested in how we experience and practice perception in our daily living, how we inhabit places and coexist with others. Ecology is an important aspect of her work, acknowledging our relational and entangled nature with environments, and with human and non-human communities.

She graduated from the MA Creative Practice-Dance Professional Pathway run by Independent Dance and Trinity Laban. She performs with various dance and theatre productions and teaches release based contemporary dance, instant composition and Contact Improvisation. Her work has been commissioned by Dance4, The Great Exhibition of The North, Dance City, Yorkshire Dance, Still Walking Festival, The University of Leeds, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, amongst many others and has toured across the UK, Europe and East Asia.

Image: Nita Little, photo Tunisphoto (2019)


This talk will be delivered online on Zoom.
Automated live captioning will be available during the event.

ID code of conduct

This code of conduct is intended as a set of guidelines we aim to follow in order to make our spaces more welcoming for all participants.

We trust that we all:

  • respect everyone’s accessibility and communication needs
  • acknowledge that we all communicate in different ways and encourage participants to engage in whatever way they feel comfortable e.g. camera on, camera off, using the chat instead of speaking
  • commit to creating an environment of anti-racism and inclusivity for all. However, we acknowledge that this is a process/journey. In the spirit of this, ID are open to feedback and criticism in ways we can do this better.


Talk Ticket
Online event information

Online on Zoom