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Power Play: Improvisation and Sport – Keynote speakers announced

Dr. Paul Steinbeck and improvising musician Dr. Christian Munthe will be keynote speakers at the Power Play: Improvisation and Sport symposium to be presented Feb. 6-7, 2009 at the University of British Columbia. It will provide artists, academics, athletes and fans with an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the ways in which both athletes and performers use improvisation when they “play.”

Many improvising musicians who are fans of a variety of sports, including hockey and basketball, have identified parallels and synergies between athletic pursuit and contemporary creative music, such as the discourse of rules, set formations and plays, along with an improvisational or “thinking on your feet” approach to playing games.

The symposium will consider many aspects of the cross-over between sport and musical pursuits: the identification of national cultural signifiers intrinsic to sport and music; the exploration of signifiers are manifest in national protocols of training, teamwork, sportsmanship, rivalry, and cultural aesthetics; the place of the body and human kinetics in improvised performances; improvisation, dance and theatre sports; music in sport - improvising along with the crowds; game theory and improvisation; improvisation and power - sport as discourse; sport as cultural or social pedagogy; improvisation, sports and the law; bioethics and improvisation; and the gender politics of play.

The symposium runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the new Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Dobson Room, at the University of British Columbia; registration is free. It is part of the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice research project and is presented by Coastal Jazz in conjunction with the Time Flies Improvised Music festival.

Go to and click through to Education for more information.

Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.