I think it’s only fair to let students know my approach and my bias toward an improv style, so here goes:
Students learn improv best when they are having fun without the fear of making mistakes. Improv is about letting your creativity emerge. There is a child within us all who loves to play and who creates through play. These beliefs underlie all of my teaching.
I take a ‘discovery’ approach to long form improv where being in the present moment, emotional authenticity and relationships rule the scene. I do believe that “You have everything you need.” (Thank you, David Razowsky) It is a matter of learning to live in the moment, careful listening, and authentic responding. You connect to your partner and build scenes together. This organic process lets your humor emerge. As Charna Halpern says, “The truth is funny. Honest discovery, observation and reaction is better than contrived invention.” The audience laughs and cares about the characters they see.
I’ve evolved a skills-based approach to teaching that builds the fundamentals sequentially. Once you have the fundamentals, I believe you can move on to more artistic considerations. On a more personal level, I encourage each student to self-observe their own reactions and, if comfortable, to share these. Self-observation without self-judgement is an important tool for both personal and performance growth.
Finally, I believe that students need to feel safe when they learn and play with each other and I promote “Safe Space” in my classes.