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"Gratis - but not valueless"


“The continuous search and the feeling of never having arrived at a so-called ‘end’ made me feel that the path, the journey, was more interesting than the arrival or the final destination; the ‘searching for’ rather than the actual ‘doing’ or even the end result.”

  Gratis - but not valueless  

… in a time in which money wins more and more in influence;


… in years of saving banks but closing down art schools, slashing and cancelling aid money or government’s support for the arts, education and health-care;


… in years of one country after another country stumbling into financial crisis and their (poor part of) population left alone, shattered and broken – and where the unemployment figures of the young is continuous over 50%;


… in a time where more and more teachers (of Contact Improvisation) become businessmen and sell their information instead of truly teach them (To me, teaching means to offer knowledge from one’s heart);


In such a time and over the last 30 years working and living as an independent artist “on the edge” – I realized, that I cannot change this world … - but then – at least “I” don’t want to become myself changed by it.

How can I – in such times – preserve my ideals and aspirations?

I myself am not rich or wealthy. I know the rough side of working and creating – as well as never giving up the interest in true searching.

My idea is to send out this message, a message of hope.

I wish to put out a hand – or rather two hands arms legs and feet – they shall support my personal investment in our dance of Contact Improvisation. I want to offer part of my teaching for free! The workshop entitled “GRATIS but NOT VALUELESS” shall prove the fact that “free of charge” does not mean – as I was told repeatedly – cheap. On the contrary: It sets an example how people can actually initiate a change in estimation of values.

One can offer his love for the arts, for Dance, for teaching to the others and share his experience and knowledge “for free” to the ones who are passing through hard times and years.

Under these signs I will teach in the next 5 years “GRATIS but NOT VALUELESS”-workshops in countries like the following: Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Ukraine – and others, where the arts are in danger and a generation of young dancers in loss of support.

Thomas Mettler, 2014


to download the manifest (print version) click here


  Where has the project been thus far?