Improvisational Duets Class. April 17, 2015. Renaissance High School for the Arts, Appleton, Wisconsin.


1:  Find a spot outside to sit in a circle. 

2:  Designate a Facilitator.

3:  When everyone is settled, the Facilitator reads:

Sit tall.

Close your eyes.

Listen to the sounds all around.

4:  Sit for 5 minutes.

5:  Notice your breathing. 

6:  Add vocal sounds to the breathing cycle.  Be free.  Try playing with the sounds that you hear by mimicking sounds, creating sound patterns, veering off into new patterns, being silent and listening.  Always listening.  Try to see how deep you can go into the sounds, as if you are diving to the bottom of a pool.

7:  Discuss:  What did you hear?  What came to mind?  How involved did you become in your thoughts?  What happens to our listening when our minds become involved in thought?   Is there a state of being that is devoid of thought? 

8:  Create a Duet Circle:  Place a rock before two people on opposite sides of the circle.  Listen to the breath.  The two people with rocks, add vocals sounds to the breath.  Respond to sounds from all around.  At any point a person can decide to pass the rock counter clock-wise (since this exercise attempts to dissolve a sense of time by becoming completely present.)  Try to avoid passing rocks at the same time.  Try to create meaningful sound conversations by listening and responding without being critical or defensive.  Go around as many times as feels right.  After once around, anyone can raise a hand to indicate that the next full time around the circle will be the last.  (Three times around minimum.) The last circle around leads to the ending.  Always end at the beginning so everyone gets the same amount of turns.  Always end with an ending.

9: Discuss:  What did you hear?  How does your listening experience change when you are involved in making sounds?  What connections did you make with others in the circle?  How much of your listening was compromised by emotions brought on by insecure thoughts?  How deeply were you able to listen?

Listen to the first Improv Duet Circle created spontaneously at The Refuge in Appleton:

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