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Embracing Improvisation

Montessori Dance supports an approach to dance that encourages children to improvise, explore and discover movement possibilities. So what is improvisation?

Improvisation involves following one’s curiosities, being spontaneous and responsive to whatever presents in the moment be it impulses in your own body, interactions with others and the surrounding space which can include various stimuli that capture your senses.

Improvisation, I have personally found, requires trust, letting go of perceived outcomes and being generous.

While reading Seth Godin’s most recent book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, I was particularly intrigued by the section in which he refers to the process of improvisation practiced by comedians. Godin refers to Charna Halpern and Del Close’s rule of improv:

‘Their first rule of improv is that “no” is a buzz killer. When the energy comes to you, the answer is always “yes, and…” Yes, this happened, AND I’m going to do something with it.’

- Seth Godin, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, p.170

This quote helped me to understand improvisation as a generous act, responding to whatever the other person offers in the interaction.

I found improvisation really challenging when I first encountered it. In fact, I still find it challenging, though I engage in it with less angst. I found comfort in the steps given to me by others in ballet and contemporary classes...the known, the familiar. I see however the incredible life skills and lessons offered by improvisation. As we face uncertainties and circumstances that require presence, I appreciate the spirit of improvisation that can help us respond to life fluidly.

I’ll share my first hand experience of seeing improvisation work incredibly well with children in the next blog.

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