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Back to (Cool) School: Improv Classes at Dallas Comedy House

25 April 2014

Hi, friends!

Well my little Christmas surprise is four months old today. I cannot believe how much we have grown as a family in such a short time! With Markus and I juggling a new baby and going back to work fairly soon after her arrival, there's been a lot going on. I am definitely finding my way on deciding what things should stay on the calendar and what needs to go to make more time for what is important. 

In November, I took a gamble on myself and signed up for improv classes at Dallas Comedy House in Deep Ellum. I did short form improv in high school (games and such that you might see on Who's Line...), and this school and their instruction on long term improv where you actually build scenes from nothing really interested me. 

Growing up I loved improv and performing and was given the superlative "Most Likely to be on Saturday Night Live" a few random times. The problem was I was a little bit totally obnoxiously loud and attention seeking. Later in college I really started wanting to be more mindful of my presence as part of a whole and not taking away from others. I went from saying anything to becoming so self-conscious I would ask Markus to order for me at restaurants. What?! I wanted to find a way to be back in my funny skin but in a collaborative and creative way. Everything was set to begin January 8!

..Then, you know, I had a two week old baby and realized there was no way I could keep my eyes open for three consecutive hours, let alone try to interact and be quick witted.

Dallas Comedy House graciously allowed me to jump into the next term, when Heidi was eight weeks old. It was still a stretch but I only had one shot and I needed to take it. 

The first day of class I was so nervous I made Markus drive me and cried the whole way! He promised if I went in and hated it I could quit.


I loved it.

I loved being around other adults and playing funny games to break the ice and build energy. 
I loved not touching my phone for the better part of three hours. 
I loved the challenge of making something on the spot out of nothing. 
I really, really loved how the instructors challenged me and gave me notes to help the group and specifically help me grow in learning how to trust myself, set other people up for success and create something that will truly be enjoyable for others.
I loved meeting up with classmates to catch our required two shows (Dallas Comedy House has improv, sketch, stand up and other comedy performances almost every night of the week). I became good friends with a lot of my classmates. If you are looking for a new crowd in Dallas, these are some mighty fine people!

...Said by the young lady who just resigned from the Junior League to have more improv class funds. Is that not something else?



While I was shy before starting class, I was also a little cocky as I wondered if a Level 1 class would really be worth the money for me. After all, I was a summer theater and improv camp kid from cradle to college, so I thought I had a firm hold on the fundamental. There was all types of people in my class, from first timers looking to be more comfortable in work presentations to professional actors. We were all on the same level in improv and we all learned a tremendous amount. The instruction and format of these classes is unparalleled. Very worth the investment of time and money!

Last night was our Level 1 showcase, and I was pretty proud of myself! One thing I've always been able to do is speak in front of a group of people, but it is a lot more challenging when you don't know what to say! My mind left blank tends to go some pretty bizarre directions, so I count it as a win that I didn't say the F word. I'm already looking forward to Level 2 knowing I'm really going to grow!


At the end of the day, a calendar with some huge projects at work and a brand new baby were among the many good reasons to say no to this opportunity when it came at a not ideal time. I am SO glad I put the time in and have such a supportive family who pitched in to help (Heidi watched a lot of Sunday golf!) to make this mini-dream of mine a reality. I thought I would be relieved to be finished, but I learned if there are three hours in the week I can give myself outside of work and family, this is where I want to be. The fact that it is a sacrifice has me taking it more seriously and appreciating it more. 

Next stop is Level 2 improv, then I am excited to take the sketch writing class and go from there! I can't wait to update you more along this fun personal journey in the middle of our family's new chapter!

Is there something you've been a little afraid to commit to that you were so glad you did in the end?


2 comments:

  1. This sounds SO cool, and you're making me want to go sign up! I too did theater growing up / in college (and improv in high school), and I'd love to give it a try. I'm eyeing that Tuesday night level 1 class...

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  2. Lilly... so fun! A million years ago, I was a theater major in college. Improve was my favorite. Love following you and your beautiful family on FB. Have a wonderful weekend.

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