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by Darren Held

I’m sorry for the sporadic posting lately. I have a few other jobs, which occasionally makes time for blogging scarce. And the truth is, I sometimes feel like I’m just rehashing the same ol’ themes over and over, and I’m afraid I’m boring you and you might need a break from me.

But now we have a new round of Level 1 improv classes set to start in the next week or so, and I feel like talking about who should take improv and why, and maybe a bit about my favorite kind of student.

If you are a living, breathing human being, you should take improv. So that pretty much only leaves out zombies. If you think you have to have performing skills or a drama background, let that go – we approach improv from a different perspective at Held2gether, and that is that everyone can do improv, not just performers (although actors are as welcome as everyone else). I am the poster child for “improv for life.” I took my first improv class from Darren Held just about exactly 4 years ago; I had never been on stage before and my goals were to get out of my shell, overcome shyness and deal with some serious writer’s block. I didn’t know exactly what improv was when I signed up for that first parks and rec class, but at the end of that 4-week class, I was completely hooked. I’ve never NOT been in an improv class since. It did help with shyness and writer’s block, for sure.

Oh, and it completely changed my life. There’s that.

The thing about improv is that the skills needed to build a successful improv scene are the same as the skills needed to live a successful life: listening, being in the moment, working well with others, not judging yourself, giving your all, accepting people and their ideas, and did I mention listening? So if you want to get better at playing baseball, improv can help. If you want to get better at being a banker, improv can help. If you want to get better at being a firefighter, improv can help. If you want to be a better dictator, improv will probably be counter-productive. But other than that, whatever you want to improve at, improv really can help. In fact, most of the word “improve” is made up of the word “improv.” Coincidence? Pshaw.

Oh, and my favorite students? Those are the folks who see the magic of improv and how it brings out the magic in themselves. They accept the struggly times as part of the process, but continue to strive to overcome those struggles. They appreciate their classmates and do their best to make everyone look good. They love that improv is fun, but understand that it’s more than just playtime. In short, they respect the game.

If you’ve been waiting to try improv, now is your chance, peeps! Beginning improv classes start the first part of April. Hope to see you there.

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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