Impro: making me and the world better
I've been learning impro for 10 months and I'm in love with it - not only because it's wildly fun (it is), but because impro is helping me become the person I want to be in the world. Impro teaches me to be kind to myself, to really listen to my own and others' needs, to be curious about what could come next and brave enough to let it change my mind and touch my heart.
Three lessons stand out for me so far:
Failure is fertiliser: As I play impro with others, I experience the safety of mutual support, the delight of exploring and experimenting, and the great privilege of getting to try and fail with joy instead of judgement. I learn to let go of my need to "get it right" or to be funny or clever or cool. As failure becomes less of a fear, I'm both less hard on myself and less protective of myself - and unsurprisingly, I'm growing much more as a result.
Playing makes for good relationships: Impro asks me to really listen to myself - which direction do I want to go in? What is my gut telling me? - but also to listen to others. If I listen and watch closely, I learn what lights people up and I see the amazing things each person has to offer. I learn how to make my own offers clear and to be open to changing directions. I learn to listen for the thread of a story that will connect me with my partners and with the people in the audience, so we can all join in.
Staying safe is the biggest risk: Impro shows me the ways I say "no" to being changed, the ways I try to manage myself and others in order to stay safe and avoid embarrassment or rejection. Learning to say "yes" in impro - to someone's offer, to my intuition, to playing a scene that could be hilarious or end up in a big, glorious mess - is helping me to say "yes" to a more vital, surprising and satisfying life. The one thing that really helps me learn these lessons is the way Impro Melbourne's teachers and students create spaces that are kind, welcoming and encouraging. If I'm learning to be the person I want to be, I've also found a community that's the way I'd like the world to be.
Written by Impro Melbourne Student - Emma Constantine