Interplay – A Celebration of Improvisation

I had a chance to hear an interview with bluegrass singer/songwriter Alison Krauss tonight. She referred to her work as a “celebration of improvisation.” She mentioned the value and attraction of simplicity and truth. Her words inspired me. I began thinking about how much I am enjoying my involvement in a technique of improvisational self-expression, called InterPlay

InterPlay, being a love of mine for many years, has recently come back into the foreground of my daily life. A bit difficult to describe in words, I will try…

InterPlay is fun. It is creative, truthful, sometimes simple and sometimes complex. It is entertaining, thought provoking, it connects one to another and it is always improvisational.

A class can look like a group of people coming together to improvisationally play, laugh, talk, move/dance, vocalize/sing, tell stories and hang out in bits of stillness and silence. A facilitator guides, sometimes with more detailed instruction, sometimes with less. There is no skill “level” required in any area. It is wonderful for anyone and everyone.

The reason I bring InterPlay up is because when Alison Krauss mentioned the “celebration of improvisation”, I felt a spark of familiarity and recognition. I have found a level of delight in the InterPlay practices that tops everything and anything that I have ever done. Delight, a lightness, joy and relief that stem from feeling that I am finding and expressing parts of me that are the REAL truth of who and what I am. A freedom to just be who and how I am and have it be fun, affirming and unpredictable. Always surprises!

I realize that improvisation is something that many may think of as “scary”. As something that is inherently capable of bringing up self-conscious and awkward feelings. On one hand the potential for that is always there, on the other hand, as a safe space is set up by a leader in InterPlay sessions and affirming connection is experienced, it’s not that bad. Not even for the more introverted, sensitive personalities.

What InterPlay calls “forms” assist the people present to find a captivating focus. When focused, most people notice that the self-conscious, awkward feelings decrease, if not totally disappear. A form, for example, might be the instruction to Walk Stop and Run – anywhere you want to and in any way you want to. While you are busy doing that, you forget about being self-conscious. One thing leads to another and levels of freedom are experienced that are unexpected and most welcome.

Like in life, improv has us dance on the sometimes scary edge of “not knowing” and the immanently exciting and nourishing edge of “self discovery”. Perhaps it is in part because of this dance of opposites that these practices can be not only outrageously fun but also indescribably deep and richly soul-satisfying.

Whether I am leading or simply participating, I find the InterPlay practices to be life-enhancing and delightful.

It is very exciting to know that currently InterPlay is growing into a global social movement for peace, health, and freedom as people regain faith in embodied, creative practices and ideas.

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