Jon Practices the Positive Power of Improv

About five years ago, I took an improv class at a different establishment. When I decided to take a class at the Brave New Workshop Student Union, I was simply looking for something fun to do. I am a graduate of the four-level everyday improv program at the BNW SU, but I still really enjoy taking more classes. Improv encourages me to be more positive and it has translated nicely into my day-to-day life. I want to continue that positive train of thought by continuing my improv journey both inside and outside the confines of BNW SU.

In one the classes I took at BNW SU, the instructor began each class with a gratitude exercise by having us each list one good thing that happened to us that week. During that time, I was reading a lot of books on positivity because I was trying to implement a more positive mindset in my daily life. Starting each improv class with something positive, no matter how small, made it much easier to get into a positive head-space. Doing this exercise allowed me to do my best best work with improv.

Throughout my improv journey, I have noticed that I am particularly drawn to ‘callbacks’, meaning that I make a reference to something that happened earlier in the scene. Knowing that I have the capability to use ‘callbacks’ makes me a more present listener in scenes. I am actively working on crafting better characters and being more dynamic with my voice and accents. To me, improv is more than just honing your craft; it is also about bring it back to your own life. I am able to be more direct and effective in my communication style in my everyday life with the tools that I practice in improv classes.

Although improv is a time to have fun, the premise behind it is not about being funny or creative; it is all about being present and listening. Improv has made me more confident in contributing to conversations with less regard for where the conversation is headed. Improv has greatly impacted the way I handle myself in professional and personal situations, and I think it has the power to do that for anyone who allows it to.

–Jon Larson, BNW SU Student