Anna Gets Results With Strong Declarations

I first started looking into doing improv when I moved to Minneapolis in November last year. Generally speaking, I like laughing and want to do it as much as possible! Mostly, I was looking for a way to meet new people. The students here [at BNW SU] are a very diverse group of quirky people. I figured out that a lot of the awesome, hilarious people I knew did improv.

In my first class, hearing about different student’s motivation to join class was really interesting. I didn’t realize that there were people coming to improv for so many different reasons. I didn’t expect improv to be so applicable to other aspects of my life. Improv helps break down judgment and the preconceived notions of the gifts that people bring to you in the moment when you’re doing improv scenes. It makes me think about moments when communication isn’t as clear. I think that’s how fights start – you misinterpret one thing that someone’s saying and assume what their intentions are.

I’m also a really indecisive person which can be very exhausting. The declarations in improv are super helpful because they require you to just state what you want. Then you have to acknowledge what you want.

I recently moved into a new apartment on the first floor and someone tried to break into my apartment. It caught me completely off guard and was super scary. Afterwards, I went to discuss it with my landlord. Normally, I would have imagined myself saying something like “It’s not that bad. Don’t worry about it.” But instead I asked my landlord for things I needed to feel safe. He listened, installed a motion sensor, and got us new blinds for the windows.

It was a good example of how not beating around the bush can really help you. When you declare what you actually want or need in a clear way, it’s much easier for someone on the receiving end to understand what you’re asking for and clear parameters for whether or not it has been addressed. And there’s also the element of discovery where you learn about new possibilities that you didn’t necessarily consider before.

I find that starting in a new class is always difficult the first day. I feel more of the initial nervousness creeping back in, but now I feel confident knowing that it will go away. I’ll feel comfortable just saying what comes to mind more readily.

For everyone who’s new to improv, I would say that it’s important to trust your gut and commit to the ideas that come to mind for you during class. I get so caught up about wondering if what I’m saying is going to be good enough or funny enough. You really have to let go of the pressure to be funny, because improv is so much more than that. There are definitely a lot of funny people in class, but don’t let that discourage you and get you stuck. The more that you go with what naturally comes to mind, the less you have to think or worry and the more fun you end up having!

– Anna Levin, BNW SU Student