Contact Improvisation Weekend Retreat:
Soften, Enliven, Connect

Join Raffles and Neva at WildHeart in the New York Hudson Valley for a 3 night/4 day immersion into Contact Improvisation (CI).

During this retreat you will be invited to connect to yourself, to others, and to the land through the practice of CI. We will honor ourselves and our own truths as we place ourselves in community with each other, caring for all. In addition to open jam time, you can look forward to a variety of CI classes and warm-ups, meditation, singing, cold plunging, campfires, quiet alone time, walks in the woods, and personal check-ins.

We will co-create the container, with open slots for classes and other offerings from YOU. Everyone will spend some time in the kitchen, working alongside our chef to cook and clean. 

All levels of dance experience are welcome. There may be 1 or 2 classes offering basic CI skills, but there is more of an emphasis on open jamming. People who are newer to dancing CI are welcome to come and dive in, but this event will not focus specifically on teaching beginning skills.

We have a small studio space, (~15’x30′) so we are limiting the number of participants to 12 (plus 3 WildHeart residents). Because of this, we suspect this event *MAY SELL OUT* so please register soon to reserve your spot! Please be prepared to dance in close quarters — expect to navigate other bodies as you travel through the space!

WildHeart is a body-positive, queer, anti-racist space. By offering a variety of housing options, a sliding-scale program fee, and 2 free BIPOC spots, we hope to make this retreat accessible to all.

Who is this retreat for?

  • CI pracitioners and dancers interested in exploring CI
  • Humans interested in Liberation.
  • Anyone who’s idea of nourishment includes expressive movement, shared meals, and being surrounded by trees.
  • Improvisers who want to connect with other improvisers
  • Artists who are looking for a container to study and practice within
  • People interested in experiences of community centered around non-verbal connection 

Sample Schedule:

(actual schedule TBA)

Mornings in silence until 10am
7-8am – Optional Morning Practice (Meditation, Contemplative Dance Practice, etc)
8-9am DIY Breakfast (abundant groceries provided)
10-11am – Guided Warm-up
11am-1pm – Open Jamming
1-3pm Lunch (some folks help cook, some help clean)
3-6pm – Afternoon Activities (CI Classes, Resting, Forest Walking, Group Singing, etc)
6-8pm – Dinner (some folks help cook, some help clean)
8-10pm – Open Jamming

Arrivals and Departures

Arrivals Thursday March 2:
2-4pm. We’ll have a 4pm tour, and ask some folks to join for 5pm dinner prep, before a 6pm welcome dinner!

Departures Sunday March 5:
We’ll have a closing jam 10am-1pm, with a break for people to pack their bags before an optional, informal leftovers-lunch 2-3pm. Departures anytime after 1pm… except: we are hosting an open community Jam 4-6:30, and dinner after. You are invited to stay for the additional dancing, for dinner, or even overnight, but those additional activities are not included in the weekend “retreat” fee. We ask a suggested donation of $10 for the dancing, $15 for dinner, and additional $30-100 to stay the night depending on your housing options. You can play it by ear, and make any additional payment once you’re here.

Retreat Location

WildHeart is located on 46+ beautiful acres in the Hudson Valley, ancestral homeland of Schaghticoke and Leni Lenape people. Guests at WildHeart have the option to stay in a single room, double room, dorm, or camping. All options have access to shared kitchens and bathrooms. Daily events will take place in the studio, shared common spaces, and outdoors. Retreatants are welcome to enjoy the lawns, walk in the forest, and swim and boat in the lake during their stay! More info about directions and transportation options here.

A note on food

We are able to accommodate most diets. We serve meat and dairy daily, and always have vegan and gluten-free options available. If you send us your dietary preferences in advance, we will do our best to make sure there is good food for you at each meal! All living accommodations have access to a full kitchen (separate from the main/commercial kitchen). We will provide breakfast groceries for you to prepare and eat on your own. Lunches and dinners are communal shared meals. Drinks include: coffee and tea, dairy and non-dairy milk, lemon and lime juice for water, red and white wine.

About Your Hosts


Raphael Sacks (Raffles) is a dancer, singer and theatermaker, born and raised in NYC (they/them). Internationally, they’ve performed with the English National Opera in London; Loom Ensemble’s annual performance season in Dubai, three summers with Theater Slava in Stockholm, and with the Art Monastery Project across Italy, Belgium, Sweden and Berlin.

Some New York highlights include BAM with Meredith Monk, Lincoln Center with Urban Research Theatre, New York Philharmonic with Constellation Chor, and La MaMa with Loom Ensemble. Since childhood, Raffles has followed a clear calling to play in the dirt, conjure fantastical worlds, and bend default culture.


Neva Cockrell is a professional dancer and interdisciplinary artist.

She danced and toured with Pilobolus from 2016-2019 and began serving as Dance Captain and touring to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, China, Mexico, Israel, Dubai, and within the US. She is also a writer/director/choreographer who uses dance-theater as a tool for social change working for more than a decade with her own interdisciplinary company, Loom Ensemble. Her life path is deeply grounded in communal living, body-based activities, art-making, being outside, and contemplative practice. She has been dancing Contact Improv for 15 years, and is passionate about the overlap of somatic work and breaking down systems of oppression. 

Retreat Costs (program fee + accommodations fee)

If you have any questions or concerns about pricing, or need help registering, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Program fee (separate from housing+food)

Sliding Scale: $99-300 for the entire weekend which includes all offerings (TBD) such as: 

  • Open jamming
  • Meditation / Contemplative Dance Practice
  • A variety of classes
  • Walking in the forest
  • Campfires
  • Cold plunging in the private lake
  • Facilitated workshops
  • Access to the land and spaces

Housing & Food Costs

Accommodation costs depend on which housing option you choose:

All amounts below are all inclusive for housing and all food and beverages:  
  • $380 Single Room in the main guesthouse or in a two-bedroom cottage
  • $230 Double occupancy room (shared with 1 other person) in main guesthouse or two-bedroom cottage. 
  • $170 Dorm room or camping

To learn more about WildHeart’s accommodations please visit our accommodations page.

***Paying at the higher end of the Program Fee sliding scale MAKES IT POSSIBLE for us to offer a sliding scale and scholarship spots. Please pay at  the highest level that you are able.***

Get Updates

Find out about WildHeart happenings!

Get Updates

Find out about WildHeart happenings!