We all want to improve our relationships and dating, in 2009. Most likely, if you are a guy you also want to improve your dancing – Believe me … you do –
By accident, I have found six common rules to relationships, dating and dancing that simplified and improved my social life tremendously in 2008.
First, let’s look at how I got there after a period of depression and human misery.
Trying to snap out of a depression I decided to take and a basic improvisation class at the end of 2007.
During class exercises most students found me funny. Of course, I wasn’t even trying to be funny. I really wanted to cry and smoke cigarettes to treat my depression.
Curiously, those who tried to be funny didn’t get many laughs. By the end of the class they were naturally funny and have even improved their quality of social life.
– I guess human misery is funny; Pass me the whiskey bottle –
Six Basic Rules of Improvisation
In the second improvisation class the teacher introduced, six basic rules of improvisation.
Life is an art, very much like improvisation, and also a craft. A craft is something that is learned through practice, repetition, trial, error and oh, yes, hard work.
As with any art form, you can break all of the rules and still have a quality life. However, those best able to break the rules are those who first learn and understand them.
So, letÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s look at some of the basic rules of The Art of Life Improvisation – The leader follows the follower and the follower follows the leader;
- Say ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œYes!ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â. For a story to be built, whether it is short form or long form, the players have to agree to the basic situation and set-up. The who, what, and where have to be developed for a scene to work.
By saying yes, we accept the reality created by our partners and begin the collaborative process from the start of a scene. The collaborative process or group mind helps make us giants, animals, villains, saints and more importantly put us in situations that we would normally avoid.
Add new information. An improvised scene canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t move forward or advance unless we add new information. That is why new information is added after the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œYesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œYes ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“and!ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
– Hey honey, would you like to try that position tonight?
– You know what? Sure, let me get a shot of tequila … and remember the secret word is; uncle.
- DonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t Block. The opposite of saying ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œyesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â is saying “no”, blocking or denial. Denial destroys or stops the addition of new information or worse negates what has already been established.
Blocking is a way of minimizing the impact of new information. It is also a method for the performer to play it safe. The performer maintains control and avoids vulnerability by blocking. But in improvisation we say the opposite of what we would say in real life, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œgo there.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, rather than donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t go there.
Blocking at its simplest levels involves saying ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œno,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
- Avoid Repeating Questions. Another form of blocking (in its more subtle form) is asking constant questions. Questions force our partners to fill in the information or do the work.
It is a way of avoiding committing to a choice or a detail. It is playing it safe. However, on more advanced levels, questions can be used to add information or tell your partner the direction to go in.
Example: I know youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve been seeing Jenny for four years.
Rather than: Are you going to tell me about her?
Example: I can see how excited you are about going to Pirates Isle in the ghost ship, me too!
Rather than: Are how do you feel about going to Pirates Isle in that ship?
- Focus on the Here and Now. Another useful rule is to keep the focus on the here and now. A scene is about the people in the scene. The change, the struggle, the win or loss will happen to the characters on the stage.
- Focus on what is going on right this at this moment.
- Why is your partner moving away from you?
- Why did she use a questioning tone?
- What did the slight smile mean?
- How do you, as your character, feel about what she is doing?
Remember, it isnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t just about the words; it is about what is happening. The words are tools used to accomplish or to pursue a goal (objective or need).
- Be Specific. Details are the lifeblood of moving a scene forward. Each detail provides clues to what is important. Details help provide beat objectives and flesh out characters.
Example One: YouÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re the best brain surgeon in all of West Valley, Mark. ThatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s why I chose you to operate on mom.
Rather than: YouÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re the best doctor in this town, which is why I chose you.
- Change, Change, Change! Improvisation is about character change. The characters in a scene must experience some type of change for the scene to be interesting.
Characters need to go on journeys, be altered by revelations, experience the ramifications of their choices and be moved by emotional moments. We go to the theater to see the unusual days characters have, not the everyday moments of stasis and stagnation.
Relationships and Dating are like dancing; The leader follows the follower’s body language and the follower follows the leader. It is a beautiful lifelong dance.
In 2009 improve your communication skills, relationship, friendships, dating and dancing by saying yes, being specific, focus, keeping the flow and change, change, change.
Keep it on your tip toes always fun and interesting.
Wishing you the best this new year,