Practicing Improvisation

Dear Constant Reader,

Tonight we have our first show with a jazz quartet at Flying Embers!

When working with live music, you have to be prepared for anything to happen and may need to improvise. Betty happens to be a master of improvisational dance. But being able to improvise takes practice. I know that sounds a little contradictory, but it’s true. I was part of a commedia dell’arte troupe and we improvised entire plays from a mere tissue of an outline. We also rehearsed a lot. So that when we really needed to create an entire play out of nothing on no notice (someday I’ll tell you my September 11th story — it’s long, but worth it) we could do it and it would be one of the best thing we ever did. But back to the burlesque.

Last night Betty gave us a lesson on improvisation in burlesque. She discussed some of the situations one might end up in, like finding your place in the music when the arrangement isn’t exactly what you expected. She ran some exercises and we all contributed some ideas. The key, of course, is that the audience should never know anything is amiss. I think three out of the four of us at rehearsal last night have some experience with live music, but the practice was welcome, especially right before a show.

Want to see how we do? Join Betty and me tonight! Can’t make it? We’ll be livestreaming through FaceBook.

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