Discovering Improv – A Painter’s Canvas

SIC Grad Women Show

The level 3 graduates’ June show performance was stellar. A few of the newly-minted Collectivists were inspired to write about their experience and share it with you. Here’s Michelle Kivisto, reflecting on the great time she’s had so far:

On a Saturday morning in late February, I walked into a studio space to start Level 2 Improv with the Syracuse Improv Collective.  I met my teacher, Mike, and found a spot to sit as other students entered the room.  It was a space the size of an alleyway, but brightly lit by sunlight from the windows which was reflecting off the white walls and green couches lining the room.  

Class started when we were asked to stand up and begin a warmup. Our task was to pass a snap.  A simple enough task, but with added layers.  You could not begin to snap your fingers until someone passed their snap to you, and you then had to “catch” it, and continue to snap your fingers, until you passed it to someone else.  People personalized their snaps, bouncing them on the floor, juggling them, throwing it in the air and then twirling around and catching it.  All quite theatrical.  But all that was required of anyone in the circle was the ability to snap our fingers and make eye contact with someone to catch and pass the snap.  In reality, we were watching air pass from one person to another. But on that day, in that moment, we were watching a circus act with actual snaps being exchanged between people.

That was the beginning of a magical journey.  I went into a white walled studio but emerged a painted canvas. Each week added more color, more definition. After Level 2 ended I immediately registered for Level 3. In Level 3 I was given tools to start painting the canvas myself, sometimes with other people holding the brush as my scene partners, until eventually with a lot of practice I became a paint by number grid in which I could clearly see where to put the paint next.

As with anything new, the only way to keep from forgetting what you have learned is to practice.  Drop in classes provide a way to meet new people, some of which have never tried improv before, and reunite with improv classmates and teachers. If you are hesitant to sign up for classes or attend a drop in, I can say from experience that everyone is a blank canvas.  Add some color to yours.

Thanks, Michelle. Registration is currently open for level one class, and you can join us for drop-in classes bi-weekly at the Community Folk Art Center. Follow us on Facebook for more details!