Why Improvisation?
"Theatre began thousands of years ago as an improvisation. The earliest human beings had an irrepressible need to grapple with the meaning of life, birth, illness, relationships, death, and the mysteries of the universe. They improvised. They created rituals, enactments, cave paintings, dances and songs to tell their stories and communicate their feelings, confusions, and beliefs. This original spirit of improvisation, coming from the need in individuals to see their conflicts and dreams reflected in a shared collective community experience, is the fundamental inspiration for my approach to improvisational performances and classes."

"For the past twenty years I have been investigating the creation of theatrical performance forms that incorporate both scripted aspects as well as spontaneous text and choreography. I have been guided in part by the muses of jazz improvisation, where basic musical themes become the departure points for countless creative variations. In my performances, there is a set dramatic "spine" with recurring themes and islands of departure that provides a framework for the improvisational material, which changes from night to night. While there are certain elements (characters, issues, movement phrases, etc.) that are always present, no two performances are ever the same. "Theatrical jazz" engages the endless possibilities for choices. I know where I am going in the overall vision of the piece, but how I get there and who I meet along the way are deliciously changeable wild cards during each performance."

"Choices. Improvisation is about making choices and daring to give them your fullest commitment even before you know why or where it will lead you. The challenge is to embrace and believe in the present moment as if it were the first, the last, the only — to find the yes instead of the no when faced with the unexpected — to act to choose, to listen with passionate openness while risking being seen in the act of becoming..."

"Then there is the crucial art of selectivity. Which impulses to follow? How long? Which to let go? When? Split-second decisions about the timing and shaping. Improvisation as a performance form does not mean "anything goes." The striving is to continually sharpen all the aesthetic elements of theatre."

...excerpt from Daena's book in progress

For more information call 617.924.9596 or by email: daena@daenagiardella.com.
© 2000 Daena Giardella

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