The hardest thing for most of us to do is place ourselves out in front of an audience. While blogging is a way to interact with an audience, in truth, no one really has to see you. As a writer, the audience only knows what I want them to know. I can hold back, if I choose, and only submit a perfect piece of work after much editing.
This evening, my Improv class performed for a live, breathing audience of family and friends. This class is a very advanced group of people who have worked together for a few years. At the end of each 8 weeks of class, the whole troupe gives a performance to show the skills we have learned. And, even though this is something I do often, it still gives me the jitters when it comes time to perform.
In spite of the jitters, I have received so many benefits from doing Improv. What began as an interest and a way to get my husband off the couch, has spiraled into more than I could have ever imagined. Now, my husband has joined a troupe that performs every month in front of a paying audience, and I have elected to teach Improv to paying students as an enrichment program. It is amazing what just putting yourself out there can do.
What is Improv, you say? Well, it is a form of comedy that is made up on the spot. There are not any scripts, but, often, it takes the form of a game where rules are the only parameters given to the performers. If you have ever watched the show, “Whose Line is it Anyway”, then you would be familiar with Improv.
According to Awkward Squad Improv Troupe site, “The experience and knowledge that you gain from participating in an Improv troupe will enrich you in many unique ways.” Some of the common benefits are:
Improved Public Speaking Skills
Enhanced Acting Abilities
Gained Comfort in Social Settings
Refined Brainstorming Abilities
Improved Listening and Observation Skills
Enhanced Creative-Thinking Abilities
Improved Decision-Making Skills
Team Development Skills
Improv has helped me as a teacher to think quickly and make connections for my students. It aids me in speaking to parents, to administrators, and in everyday conversations with others. It also makes me feel more confident about myself and boosts my ego. Not to mention, the friends I have made and people I have met.
There are so many advantages to taking a chance and putting yourself physically and mentally on the line. Is it scary? You bet! However, it is worth every moment of time. My husband and I began at our local community college by taking the Improv beginner classes. The cost was less than going to the movies a couple of times. So, if you are looking for something to take you away from the TV this winter, you may wish to check for an Improv class in your area. What do you have to lose? And if you still feel too shy to try it yourself, go and see a live show. I guarantee that you will have a good laugh.
Links to Improv:
Improv Comedy Clubs – this site will connect you to Comedy Clubs in major cities around the USA.
LearnImprov.com – A site with tips, games, and introduction to Improv
Improv Comedy : Why Take an Improv Comedy Class?– YouTube video
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