Why I Love Teaching Improv

A weird thing has happened to me in the last couple of years. I had realized that I like teaching improv far more than I like improvising. It seems when I am up on stage improvising, I still put a lot of pressure on myself, something I don’t do often when I’m teaching it.

In fact, there is nowhere I feel more comfortable than in a classroom or at a corporate training teaching improv. Teaching is in my wheel house, and it’s something I have become really good at. I have secret, just between us: I don’t just like teaching improv; I love it. I love it a lot.

I love bringing people together who don’t really know each other that well and creating an ensemble where they feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable, and then be brave enough to use it in their work. This ensemble may exist only for a short period of time — a couple of hours or several months — but out of it comes some memorable scenes, and sometimes, even friendships.

I love helping people find their voice on stage as well as off stage. Nothing makes me happier than to see a shy, timid student start to make bold choices on stage or when that same student starts to speak up in the class and share his opinions or ask a lot more questions. And it gives me joy to see a more experienced student step up to become a leader.

I love watching burned out improvisers who have been through the improv ringer or who have stopped doing it for a couple years get excited and inspired about improv all over again.

I love seeing the invisible student, so quiet you forget they are even there, start to get out there on stage more, become louder and take up more space.

I love those students who come into my class bouncing off the walls with energy and talking at light speed learn to slow down and play it real and start to share a part of themselves with us without even realizing it.

I love seeing students constantly surprise me, showing me characters or taking risks I have never seen before.

I love to see them go on and find a theater where they get on a team or get cast in a show or create their own groups or shows. I especially love when students want to become teachers themselves.

I know I have said this before, but when I started out in back in ’80s, if you dared to say you wanted to be an improv teacher or director, people thought you were giving up on your dreams. We all wanted to be performers. We all wanted to be famous.

Well, I am finally brave enough to admit that while I would still like to be famous, being an improv teacher is one of the most rewarding life decisions I have ever made.

Jimmy Carrane would LOVE to work with you! Sign up for his Art of Slow Comedy Level 1 class, starting July 12.
Or sign up for one of his three Art of Slow Comedy Summer Intensives happening this summer. Early Bird Deadline for the class is June 28 and for the first summer intensive is June 24! 

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