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by Darren Held

I had an epiphany literally 13.5 seconds ago, and now I am all aflutter to share that epiphany with you. You’re welcome.

Lately, everyone in the brand-new Held2gether Level 3 improv class seems to have really broken through some obstacles and taken their improv to a whole new level. Most of us have been in classes together on and off for anywhere from 6 months to 3.5 years, and certainly I have seen tremendous progress over that time period, in myself and in my classmates. So this current leap isn’t entirely a new concept; however, it’s unique in that it seems to be applicable across the board. So it’s not like I’m having a breakthrough while somebody else is struggly. It’s like we’re ALL on the upswing.

And I have figured out why. No, really.

It’s because Darren has started giving us a bunch of new exercises. They’re not really any harder than what we’ve been doing throughout our time in Level 2, and they don’t actually introduce new skills or concepts. They’re just different. And that’s all it took.

You know how when you exercise, you’re supposed to mix up your workouts to keep your muscles from getting used to a set routine and to help get better overall results? It’s like that. We were starting to know what exercises to expect in each week of class. So even if it wasn’t a conscious decision, there was an element of “oh, I gotta remember to have big emotion tonight” or “yep, gonna be justifying stuff today, better be ready to think.” Without noticing it, our improv muscles were getting lazy and complacent. Now, we have no idea what’s coming next. Our improv muscles are confused and can’t predict what they’re going to have to do in any given class. So we’re ready to bring everything, rather than just trot out a particular skill.

I suppose I could explain how the same is true in real life – how you can have a better overall experience by not doing the same ol’ thing, day in and day out, and how you can get more out of everything by pushing yourself in new and different ways. Oh. Looks like I just did. Guess that’s just how I roll.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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