What We Can All Learn from Improvising Every Day

April 5, 2018

It’s no secret that regularly improvising can do wonders for a dance artist’s creativity. But how many of us actually make time to improvise, unless we’re told to do it in class or rehearsal?

A few years ago, dancer Marlee Grace started the Instagram page @personalpractice to document her daily improv practice, and to hold herself accountable to dancing regularly. For a whole year, she posted her improvisations every day. Since then, her practice has continued to be regular, if not daily, and she’s garnered over 30k followers.

Her popularity is somewhat puzzling, especially for an independent experimental dancer. She’s done seemingly nothing to promote the page (which follows exactly zero people), and many of her followers seem to not be dancers. Often, her videos are just her grooving in her kitchen to Carly Rae Jepsen or Justin Bieber, sometimes while she’s making dinner.

But spend a little time scrolling though Grace’s videos, and it’s easy to see why the internet is captivated. Dancers in particular can learn lots from Grace’s commitment to improv:

You only need a minute or two.

All Grace’s videos are super short snippets. You don’t need to improvise for an hour for it to benefit you: Carving out a little bit of time each day can help get the juices flowing.

You can improvise anywhere.

In a kitchen, on the beach, between some rocks, on top of a mountain. The list of places Grace has improvised reads like a Dr. Seuss novel. Changing up your surroundings can help inspire new explorations and prompts in your improv practice.

And with anyone.

No partner? No problem. Cats work, too.

Good music helps.

Grace’s musical selections are a mix of your all time favorite jams and the coolest songs you’ve never heard. (She has a Spotify playlist, too.)

You can’t be too precious.

Even though Grace is posting her improvisations for the world to see, she doesn’t treat each post like a finished product, or take her practice too seriously. Improv isn’t always about accomplishing something; just exploring movement and having fun.