Improv For The Whole Body

Are you excited to engage your heart, mind and gut to create big fun?

Improv is a realm where your heart, mind and gut get to come together to play. Your heart connects you with your fellow players, your mind and imagination delight in the story and your gut spurs you to action. This combination and your willingness to go all in creates the magic we call improv.

When you practice improv you grow your capacity to listen, respond to what’s actually happening, imagine, express in the moment, be authentic even in front of an audience, look for the gifts in making mistakes… and the list goes on and on.

But the benefits of improv can get lost if we put too much focus on the mental aspects of it. In my experience, there’s often a big leap from the playful games to what ends up being heady scenes. I’m super excited to share a way to learn improv that values and harmonizes mind, heart and gut. This class is for you if you want to:

Connect with ease and stop worrying about being funny, witty or clever.

Give your brain a break from doing all the work and learn how to listen and speak with the rest of your body.

Grow improv skills, such as listening, creating a new reality, and building a story… in a way that feels like you’re following your playful impulses.

Enjoy your own direct experience of improvising, rather than one filtered through someone else’s lens of “good/bad”.

The funny part is that this method is not new. It was developed over 60 years ago by the originator of modern improv herself, Viola Spolin. Spolin created the first theater games and wrote about them in her book Improvisation For The Theater. The whole reason she created these games was to get actors out of their heads and into the space – to stop ACTING and start PLAYING.

I love Spolin’s method because it centers around these three principles.

ENSEMBLE PLAY. We’re each an essential part of the greater whole playing together to create the outcome.

PLAYING IN THE SPACE rather than up in our heads. We focus what’s here, in the field, between players rather than on our limited past behavior and free ourselves to be spontaneous.

EVERYONE IS A PLAYER including teachers and audience. We move beyond the need for approval or disapproval, which distracts from our experience, by seeing each other as peers.

“My vision is a world of accessible intuition.”

Viola Spolin
Watch of video of me describing these 3 principles in more detail.

Improvising, like playing, comes from the inside and is unique to each of us. With something so individual as improvisation, how do you teach someone else how to do it? Spolin developed a method of learning improv that eliminates the typical teacher/student structure that perpetuates the context of approval/disapproval. No more, “Did I do that right, Teach?”! Breaking this context is extremely useful not just in improv, but in life. You’ll learn how to non-judgmentally evaluate your own performance so that you can spend less time beating yourself for “getting it wrong” and more time practicing and having fun!

Spolin also understood exquisitely how to focus on each skill individually and build them up. You’ll learn how to engage with the space around you in ways that generate relationships, characters and playful interactions.

After five years of improv classes, this is the method of learning and teaching that I come back to again and again. I am totally JAZZED to offer a 7-week improv class series based on Spolin’s work!! 

We are currently running a class on Monday evenings (Pacific time) until October 19th. Drop in to our free drop-in classes and stay tuned for our next class series!