It's not about being funny.
It's about being free!
- Samantha Jones
I love this picture to the right. It's of a graduation show several years ago. The smiles on those faces is why I have continued to teach Improv Empowerment for over 25 years.
The first time I ever took an improv class I was in college. The professor asked me to stand on the stage alone. She told me to begin as myself and simply talk about whatever I wanted. When she clapped her hands I was supposed to automatically switch into another character and talk as that person about whatever that person wanted. She would end up clapping about 10 times within a 3 minute period. Seem impossible? I remember thinking the same thing right before the exercise started. But somewhere in the middle of it- maybe around character number 4 - something happened.
All of the sudden my brain stepped out of the way something else took over. It was in my chest. My heart maybe? My soul? All I know is it was the same piece of me that used to play pretend as a kid. It was non-judgmental and 100% confident. It felt incredible.
In that moment I knew one of my purposes in life was to teach other people how to feel this way again. Because when you feel this way you become completely ok with who you are as a person, from the inside out. Every insecurity you have disappears. Your find gifts you never knew you had. You are completely in the moment because it's impossible to do this work and not be. It's the best feeling in the world.
This is when I developed my method called Improv Empowerment.
My approach to improv isn't about being funny, it's about being free. Free of self-judgment. Free of other peoples expectations of you. Free creatively. And the bonus? Remembering who you are and what you have to bring to the table of life. I don't mean your education of life experiences. I mean the stuff you are born with. Your gut instincts. Your natural way of being.
The purpose of the foundation work we do is to retrain adults to be creative naturally, without having to think about it. Like when we were kids. Improv Empowerment does this by incorporating theatre games, intuitive coaching, acting exercises and short form improv games. This in NOT only for actors. 95% of my students have never even stepped on a stage before.
The classes at HVI are derived from my many years of acting training and a career as a performer and improv teacher. I combine my own method with influences from Viola Spolin and Sandy Meisner. Both of these teachers methods taught me how to be 100% in the moment and respond spontaneously. I trust myself more in everyday life because of this work and as as a result every day is an adventure.
This work is for anyone. You don't need to be an actor or a performer of any kind. You just need to be a human being who wants to revisit that piece inside of you that wants to play again.
That is what we work towards here at Hudson Valley Improv.
Won't you join us?
Hudson Valley Improv