Wanna Make F-ing Great Improvisational Art?!

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For the past two-and-a-half years I’ve been blessed to teach InterPlay with dancer extraordinaire Elizabeth Mendana. Tonight Elizabeth taught her last Tuesday night class (sniff!) and soon I’ll be leading it alone (holy cow!).

For those of you new to the blog, InterPlay is an uncommon, artful global social movement. It incorporates storytelling, movement, and vocal expression with an emphasis on community and play.

So often InterPlay is taught as a personal development tool, but it is also an improvisational performance technique. Four months ago we added a performance emphasis to the Tuesday night class.   Tonight after class, Elizabeth and I went out for dinner and reflection. In the course of our conversation, I asked how InterPlay has made her a better performer.

Eyes shining, she answered that InterPlay has:

  1. Given her access to the full spectrum of expression, especially the fullness of her voice (not an area that usually gets much of a workout for a modern dancer)
  2. Awakened her passion for (and skill with) infusing story into choreography
  3. Helped her embrace silliness on stage, and
  4. Through its affirming community, validated her as a professional artist.

Whew. Talk about gifts…!

And then there’s InterPlay’s uncanny ability to build ensemble. It’s no easy feat to make beautiful art on the spot…but to do it with others, with little-to-no rehearsal as a company…is amazing! And yet the InterPlay company Wing It! (of which Elizabeth and I are members) consistently creates amazing knock-your-socks-off-they’re-so-powerful performances with casts of (gulp!) 15 or more. As an ensemble we’ve learned to listen to each other with a depth, generosity and artfulness that astounds me.

The more Elizabeth and I talked, the more jazzed I got about sharing the InterPlay Performance Technique with other artists! It’s time to be intentional about sharing this hidden gem of a technique with other performers who want to broaden their range.

So get ready, Oakland, California! On Tuesday nights from 6-7:30pm starting January 5th, 2010 we’re gonna bust out some of the meanest, coolest, deepest improv you’ve seen. With an emphasis on storytelling, movement, vocal expression, and ensemble, it’ll be…

Subversive. Surprising. Silly. Sacred. Sexy. Sneaky.

Come make F-ing* good art with us! (And if you can’t join us in person, rest assured: you’ll be able to read all about it — maybe even see some of it — on my blog).

We’ll miss Elizabeth for sure, but we’re in for quite a ride in 2010. I hope you’ll join us.

*A note about the swear word: Tonight at class Elizabeth had us dancing side-by-side solos. At the end of performing for each other, someone explained, “This is F-ing good art!” And so it was. And so it is. Can’t wait to share.

One thought to “Wanna Make F-ing Great Improvisational Art?!”

  1. Impovisors practice every minute of our lives. We practice, weekly, every time we InterPlay, conscious or unconsious. Is not our life, our ability to make artful choices, not our practice? Me thinks so. Add a couple of degrees and other art forms to the mix and whew….we are the art.

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