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This is the fourth year for the New Dance Improvisation Festival (NDIF), but it’s far from set in its ways. NDIF Director Cathy Paine, who teaches at Towson Sate University and University of Maryland Baltimore County, will be joined by four talented performers—Ray Chung (pictured), from San Francisco, Chris Aiken from Minneapolis, Stephen Yoshen, from Massachusetts, and K.J. Holmes from New York. The group will retreat in Sperryville, Va., for three days of intense improv before performing at Dance Place on Friday and Sunday. The rehearsals help them develop the kind of “group consciousness” necessary for good contact-improv dancing. A highly developed sense of awareness, as individual performers and as a working group, is what separates good from hackneyed improv. On Saturday night, a different group comprising dance improvisers based in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia region will perform a series of solo and duet structures, and partially set improvs. Ken Manheimer will explore human contact, Roger Neece’s “Slow Dancing” will connect popular social dancing to contact improvisation, and Julyen Norman will tell family stories and take questions from the audience. A duet from Brad Stoller and Alicia Grayson will also use text, and Paine and Yoshen’s duet will explore size and gender differences. Post-show jam sessions Friday and Saturday night will allow inspired audience members to make up some moves of their own. At 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday, Sept. 25 & 26, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. $12. (202) 269-1600. (Holly Bass)