4 Prompts That Will Help You Beat Improv Block

The members of Gallim Dance are master improvisers. (Lucas Chilczuk)

We've all been there—smack in the middle of the improv portion of an audition, when suddenly our brain freezes over. All the creative movement born out of story telling and honest expression becomes the same right-battement over...and over...and over again. Yikes!🙅 Here are four prompts to help you break that dreaded right-battement cycle. Use them the next time you are feeling stuck, and they'll help you get back into your groove of awe-inspiring improv in no time!


1. Try becoming a character entirely different from yourself.

Let your movement channel a character's story. Make everything you do intentional to creating the experience and background of the person you are imitating. As you develop an entire person through your dancing, you'll discover a whole world of movement that you hadn't considered before.

2. Focus all of your attention on the texture of your movement.

Move back and forth between exploding and contracting. Reach the limits of moving quickly and slowly or with force and subtlety. Moving between textural extremes will quicken your mind and allow you to explore a wide range of movement opportunities.

3. Try an improv session where the music drives everything you do.

Match its style, emotion, and syncopation. Complete your movement by expressing the feeling of the music all the way up to your face and eyes. Don't get caught in "contemporary face" (that trendy facial expression where everyone looks like an emotionless zombie can get you stuck in a cycle of the same movement.) Following the variety the music provides will keep you from repetition.

4. Don't allow yourself to do the same thing more than once.

Keep your mind engaged as you remember which sequences you have done before. Try to avoid what is familiar, and challenge yourself to create something completely unnatural and unexpected for your body. (Clearly, no right battements are allowed in this one.)


There's an entire world of improvisational prompts that can help you grow beyond what you can imagine. Start with these four and see what they can add to your craft. Above all, choose to improv without judgement. Allow yourself to explore new ideas without getting in your head. You have so much to offer.

Dancer to Dancer
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Madison Jordan and Jarrod Tyler Paulson brought their real-life romance to the audition stage. (Adam Rose/FOX)

It's usually right around the third or fourth week of "So You Think You Can Dance" audition rounds that we start itching for the live shows. Sure, the auditions are fun, inspiring, and entertaining, but at a certain point, we reach audition saturation. (And the live shows are just so good and feature so much more Cat Deeley.)

All that said, Nigel and co. kept things spicy this week, so our attention remained firmly glued to the screen. (It's been 16 seasons—who are we to doubt Nigel Lythgoe, sir?) Here's how it all went down.

Keep Reading Show less
Dance on TV
Photo by Erin Baiano

When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.

Keep Reading Show less
Fitness

Video

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Giveaways