Students Responses:

    Daena Giardella is a master teacher who has led me on an incredible journey this fall. She re-invigorated my understanding of acting and improvisation and invited the parts of me out to play that I was longing to get in touch with: the free child-like self who wants to 'make something' and the writer who is trying to develop a play. Daena models excellence in teaching: every class presented me with different challenges and took me on a journey to the joyful and unexpected gifts of each moment. Daena's class is so much more than an acting class...It allowed me to see my potential to the fullest...Once I freed myself from my inner critic, I found enough creativity to write two plays in the time it takes me to generally develop one character and storyline...This is a class that offers immediate, practical applications to both actors and non actors. I loved this class!

    Paula Plum

    "I re-connected with Daena after 17 years to join her month-long summer workshops. Wow- I walked into the first Thursday evening session and began to dance - it was like magic, like no time had passed! I immediately felt safe and courageous in the presence of the community of actors that Daena brings together and supports. Each week I was blown away at her ability to direct us with that uncanny intuition of hers’. Daena gently prods us to be more honest, more specific, more connected to each other; and the most amazing scenes unfold. I cry, I laugh, and I come home every week feeling rejuvenated and more myself. What a great summer gift!"

    Lois McCloskey, DrPH, MPH
    Associate Chair for Education and Associate Professor,
    Boston University School of Public Health

    Thanks, Daena, for an amazing workshop and a very connecting learning experience. As I result of your workshop, I've learned and exercised a mindset that helps me to trust the development of more spontaneous and authentic interactions both in my personal and professional life.

    Percy Ballard, MD
    Board Certified Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist

    I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on Saturday at your workshop. I had never been to an improvisation workshop, but I had been advised by a friend who had attended before that it would broaden my horizons and assist me in everyday life. I have to say he was right and more. The attendees were from diverse backgrounds, but with your expert approach from the beginning we became a group that truly melded together through our improvisations. Your ability to relate your craft to the group was extremely helpful as everyone became more confident with each and every scene. I especially enjoyed when you inquired what we were thinking prior to our scene which created confidence, guidance and ownership of our work. If we had our guards up at all during the first half, after lunch with joyful conversation we all became friends in the moment. The afternoon became even more enjoyable because we felt comfortable to be vocal about our improvisations and we outwardly supported each other- again under your expert tutelage. Where can you go with complete strangers and share cheers and tears by the end of the day with the hope that we can reunite in the near future? I look forward to another inspirational workshop with Daena knowing her great experience and knowledge will assist me in realizing all of my future potential paths.

    David Avery
    Police Administrator

    I loved this workshop! It took me out of my everyday life, and I felt challenged and more expansive by participating in this 2 day workshop. Watching others in their creative scenes transported me to the location of their scene, and I felt truly mesmerized by each others’ improvisations. I felt like in a day and a half I traveled far and wide in the external world and in my own internal world. Daena is brilliant in her role as encouraging-directing-inspiring-and questioning facilitator. Her immediate warmth and solid presence made me feel incredibly safe from the very beginning, and she turned a group of 12 people into a small closely knit community in a very short amount of time. I feel such gratitude for Daena’s generosity of spirit and tremendous graciousness! It was a most wonderful gift to work with her, and with all of the participants. I will return to these workshops with great enthusiasm, and look forward to deepening my own expression in this wild and most engaging process of improvisation!

    Pattie Heyman
    LICSW and IFS Graduate

    Daena is able to give every person a unique, specific direction that opens up that person's repertoire of behaviors. I took Daena's class to increase my ability to teach Presentation Skills in corporations. Her ideas, ways of teaching, personal style has given me endless possibilities to explore when working with my clients. Daena is one of those gifted people who can reach everyone in the class. She knows exactly what to say and how to say it to every person. There are many coaches and teachers in the world. Daena is different. She herself is one of the most authentic, real-person, be-in-the-moment coaches I have ever worked with. She lives her art.

    Claudyne Wilder
    Speaker, teacher of presentation skills
    President of Wilder Presentations

    Give yourself the gift of Daena's improvisation workshop. It's an experience that could transform your life forever. Daena's sensibility will guide you so that you can express the artist hidden in you in a playful, fun and very professional and sensitive way. I have learned that improvisation is life and life is improvisation. During this wonderful workshop, I have been more present and in touch with my inner self. I have achieved a state of well-being and consciousness for a better version of myself as a leader and a facilitator.

    Juan Pablo Sánchez King
    Business Consultant and Facilitator
    PhD Student at Boston College

    Daena's class was a wonderful experience, on so many levels. As an author, I make frequent public appearances, and it's important for me to convey key points succinctly, compellingly, and with humor. Practicing improv. skills helped me focus on my main points and connect with my audience as I'm making them. On a personal level, the class increased my confidence, reduced my inhibitions, and helped me recognize the humor and pathos in everyday life. One of the best aspects of the class was meeting my fascinating and talented classmates, who taught me so much. I know I have much more to learn, but with Deana's help, I've come a long way.

    Vicki Levy Krupp
    Co-Author, The Kids' Book Club Book

    The improvisation workshop that I took with Daena Giardella was a most remarkable, compelling, entertaining, moving and intense experience. Through the exercises that Daena directed, I became powerfully aware of my own psychology, my conflicts and inhibitions, my desires and memories, in a direct, embodied vivid way that is very different than insights gained through psychotherapy. I laughed more than I have in a long time, also cried, as well as met wonderful people who are similarly inspired by the magic that Daena generates with her presence and method. Daena's warmth, generosity and enormous skill creates an atmosphere that makes it safe to play, explore and dare. I highly recommend this experience to anyone who longs to feel more free to express themselves authentically, and have fun doing so.

    Judy Tsafrir, MD
    Holistic Adult and Child Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst

    Daena is the rare teacher who is not only superb at her craft but is able to translate her talent into very clear and insightful instructions that allow the beginner to quickly grasp the fundamentals of improvisational acting. She creates a safe group environment for each of us to take risks with trying on characters with one another in short comedic or dramatic scenes. If we get self-conscious or stuck, Daena helps us identify our blocks and move forward with compassionate encouragement. Her boundless imagination and energy are infectious, making her classes tons of fun. (And great music for movement!) Daena's philosophy is that life is always offering us unexpected invitations; whether we accept or decline these offers, respond with curiosity and generosity. As a novice actor, I have grown in confidence, creativity, and courage through Daena's workshops and classes.

    Larry Rosenberg
    Ph.D., Psychologist

    Although Daena didn't know me, she understood me better than anyone else in my life. Her intuitive skills and present energy identified something buried deep within that I could have spent the rest of my life trying to find. Her coaching didn't stop there but assisted me in giving birth to myself in a safe yet accountable way that could only come from her unique life experience, self confidence and commitment to helping others be their full selves. I am forever in gratitude.

    Robin Maxfield
    Owner, Prudential Unlimited Realty

    Of all the professionals I have worked with over the years, Daena is one of the most talented, acute observers of body language and its deeper meanings. She remains connected, attuned and empathic- no phony baloney here. I experienced my inner truths and potentials from her workshops. Changed me forever.

    John B. Livingstone, M.D., FRSH (UK)
    Chaired Assistant Clinical Professor, Harvard Medical School
    Adult & Child Psychiatry, Parenting, and Health Coaching.
    Past Director, Team Clinic and Outpatient Service for Children, McLean Hospital
    Medical Director, Gaffney and Livingstone Consultants in Health Care Design and Coaching

    Daena offers and pushes and nudges and entices a piece of yourself to emerge that you can't always find, you don't often realize you have, and/or you think you cannot bear to see in the light of day. Her openness and genuineness to be present with you and through you is one of the most unique gifts to watch, and more importantly, be invited to engage with. Her classes are the perfect challenge, the beautiful struggle, the satisfying exhaustiveness for any person looking to stretch and grow and wonder.

    Chris Olex
    Corporate Trainer

    Taking Daena's workshops are a journey into self-expansion, greater freedom to play and increasing our room to be more of who we are. She has an exquisite talent for getting where people are and bringing us right to our edges - but not over. What a great overlap between personal work and opening channels for greater creativity...

    Rina Dubin
    Psychologist, Assistant Trainer, IFS

    Daena- Thank you so much for such a wonderful, full, rich experience. It was amazing to explore our own and each other’s creativity in such a safe and caring environment (and a lot of fun too!) I learned so much, not just through exploring different parts of myself that don't get a lot of "air time", but about being mindful and trusting intuition in the moment and recognizing more the difference between playing a role and being inside a character.

    Beth Davenport

    I have had the enormous good fortune of having been able to study the art of improvisation with Daena Giardella. Daena creates a safety net for her actors , an atmosphere that lifts judgement (particularly insidious self judgement) yet allows for serious critique and opportunities for growth.

    As a teacher, Daena is incredibly creative, joyful, appreciative, discerning and supportive. I found myself time and again willing to push my limits to the utmost and in the process breaking through many of my limits. As a person, Daena is extremely funny and warm and wise. As an artist, Daena is bold, inventive and engaging. As a combination of the three, she provides an amazing laboratory for growth and expression.

    Christine Connor

    Having completed my first series of Daena's improv workshops I noticed some profound shifts in myself. My critical voice has quieted down, my trust and belief in myself has increased, my ability to be more open, honest and vulnerable in front of audience is greater. I grew as a person, partner, parent and leader. She's that good.

    Perrin (Reggie) Pearse
    Managing Partner, Organization Learning Group

    It has been, and continues to be, a joy for me to work with Daena Giardella. I have participated in many “Creative Process” workshops and they are always stimulating, enriching, heart-opening and, well, creative. Watching Daena facilitate and nurture disparate participants is to watch a master teacher at work. Not only do I grow and learn as a creative being and actress, but I am aware of bringing these insights into my business practice as well. For over 14 years I have worked with a wide range of corporate executives, helping them to craft and communicate key presentation messages in high-stakes environments. My experiences in Daena’s classes definitely inform my own coaching and stretch my thinking about what-is-possible.

    Diane Ripstein, Principal
    Diane Ripstein Consulting

    The opportunity to say yes with Daena there to catch me when I feel like I'm falling is always... well, an enlightening holiday (and an invitation to ponder retirement) for my just-say-no team. Thank you Daena and Shelley!

    Martha Sweezy

    Awareness is truly the key to successful growth and change. Your Creative Process workshop with Daena gently and profoundly opened a deep creative block I'd been having. Her keen awareness moved me to the next edge in my creativity and in my life. Almost a year later, I continue connecting changes happening in my life with what Daena and her work brought forth in me!

    Kathy Esper
    Life Coach & Consultant

    Daena's positive intuitive spirit makes a dynamic environment to tap into one's inner creative resources. She guides, directs and opens up these resources with a deft and empowering hand.

    Public School Teacher

    Daena is a mentor, a maven, a muse. I'm tempted to add that she's a magician, too, because the alchemy and transmogrifications that consistently take place in her classes feel supernatural. But the fact is that she's found a way to lead by enabling; under her tutelage, rabbits learn to pull themselves out of hats. I think that's why I found myself agreeing with a fellow student who said, "The version of myself that I like best is the one Daena helps me draw out during her classes."

    At first I was skeptical, and I saw her class as a means to an end. It became an end in itself, too. Sorry to sound rhapsodic, but it was a watershed moment in my life. Stop inventing excuses already. She's worth every penny. Do yourself a favor.

    Small Business Owner

    Daena is a master teacher with no ego...I love that she is a catalyst for such deeply meaningful personal change and creative self-expression. I love that she knows her acting and improvisational craft, human psychology, and the human condition so deeply and so well that she is able to read individual and group energy, and change the dynamics and the pulse of the group -- in an instant-- with the skill of an orchestral conductor, or shamanic healer...Daena creates a circle that includes safety, acceptance, encouragement, honesty and YES! The participants join, respect and confirm it...all manner of creativity, wild or timid self-expression, scary and transformative personal realizations are possible. I discovered what being in the moment really means. I re-discovered my voice....

    Toni Maria Pinheiro
    Human Resources Director

    I am a practicing psychotherapist and have come late in my life to acting and theater. Daena was recommended to me by a friend. Uncertain whether my beginner's status would make her classes too advanced for me, I called Daena. She told me that she gears her classes in such a way that people at all levels could benefit.

    How right she was. My first workshop was a weekend retreat in western Massachusetts. Many of rthe participants were advanced students. After a very short time I knew I was in the hands of a superb teacher. By the end of the workshop I felt I could do anything, hold my own with anyone. Daena led me to great heights. She creates an enormosly safe environment and then challenges you to go farther than one ever thought possible. She has an exquisite understanding not only of the theater but of everything to do with humanity. Indeed she defines theater as a study of human nature. And her knowledge shows in her every action, the detailed and careful planning of each exercise, the enormously sensitive debriefing and encouragement she provides and the wonderful spirit that pervades her work.

    I took a second workshop with Daena some months later. Our focus was the development of a character--difficult work. And here again I was able to achieve in ways I never thought remotely possible. Daena's presence and her availability after classes made a huge difference. My work with her has changed my life in profound ways and I am deeply grateful to her.

    In the last few months I have met many others who have been similarly influenced by Daena. I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones who have had a chance to study with her.

    Ron Goldman

    When I first started in Daena's classes, I could barely get an impulse out on stage, I was so frightened and owned by my inner critic. It was through Daena's love, gentleness and delight, through her reverence for the authentic self, for the creative soul in each person, and through her boundless energy, passion and commitment that I was able to move from a basic stance of "NO!" to move through my resistance and say "YES"!. I learned to investigate my impulses and to "Unzip" myself.

    After 10 years of working with Daena I feel deeply healed. Her classes have helped me profoundly as an artist and as a woman. Through developing my capacity for presence, action, risk taking and spontaneity in making theatre I have been able to take these capacities into the contexts of painting and sculpture and greatly enhance my work as a visual artist.

    Jai Keller
    Visual Artist

    As a result of Daena's classes, I have expanded my business beyond my wildest dreams and I am doing larger scale work, all on the corporate level...Getting to the core of what my purpose was, and learning how to say yes to it, has given me a greater sense of trust in my impulses, and that has directly translated into the arena of my expanding work.

    Catherine Seo
    Organizational Consultant

    Daena uses improvisational theater techniques that are just as effective in the workplace as they are for actors and writers overcoming blocks in creativity and motivation...I've learned to explore business options and possibilities without compromising my position.

    Melissa Wilbright
    Marketing Manager, Hasbro

For more information call 617.924.9596 or by email:
© 2000 Daena Giardella

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