When I’m dancing – at the studio, on stage, at home in front of the camera – I’m primarily in control.  I know that I know what I’m doing (even when I’m in learning mode) and that I have a sense of ownership of the finished product.  I get it, I am comfortable, I am in charge.

On Thursday night I stepped out of my comfort zone, went back in time, and ceded control for 2 hours.  I went back to Piven.

10155387_10152201180794372_5236558292436416794_nIt was a night of playing improv games with a group of peers  who had all been a part of the Young People’s Company back in the mid/late 80s (that’s me in the middle of the back row).  We came together to warm up/rehearse before taking the stage as part of a show series hosted by Piven, and will put our improv games on stage for all to see later this month.  An extra bonus was having one of our former teachers join us to put us through our paces.

Being in the space brought back a lot of memories for me.  I loved being at Piven.  It was a safe space away from all the yuck of home, and playing the games and acting in the stories was a much needed escape for me back then.  Socially, my time in the Young People’s Company was awkward at best – I didn’t really fit in with most of the other kids – but I dove in with both feet and lost myself in the work.  Somehow that was easier to do as a kid than it was as an adult.

I found it really hard to find my voice and body in the games we played on Thursday.  My brain was full of “I can’t do this.” and “was I *ever* able to do this?” and “I’m the weakest link.” – thoughts that don’t leave a whole lot of room for creativity and impromptu expression.

I know this.  At least I know this when I’m dancing.

Our last game of the evening was Musical Transformation, where all we had to do was sing a song over and over in different styles.  It was pure bliss.  I found myself playing for the sake of playing, not thinking, not comparing, just singing (and dancing) with peers.  It helped me unlock, and I finished out the evening looking forward to coming back for more.

The stage awaits on the 28th, and I have every intention of shaking off the past, giving up control, and letting myself just PLAY with my Piven alum peers.  Maybe you should come see what happens…

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