You might wonder why on earth someone would want to take an online class spread over a whole year. Perhaps it feels like too much of a commitment; you don’t know where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing in a year’s time, and you’re more used to a 6-week course. Maybe you can’t imagine needing that much time for one topic. Maybe you’re worried you’ll forget it’s happening!
While I understand these potential sticking points, I know that spending a full year immersed in a subject will bring you to insights you might not find in a short course. Sticking with a team for a significant amount of time is a powerful tool for discovery and invention, and it is an opportunity to really gel and build community around a shared interest. Since it’s online, you can do it from anywhere, and I’ve tried to pick a time that fits a fair few time zones. And don’t worry – I’ll be sending out class reminders every month.
In 2021, I took Katy Schutte’s Mythic Improv Journey course, taking us through the pagan wheel of the year. It gave me so much insight into why we have certain seasonal celebrations, and how I as a human and a performer am affected by the earth’s yearly cycles. It changed my relationship to the seasons and my body and made me more cognisant of how I work best through the seasons. This course also taught me just how useful it is to devote a full year to learning something.
So, inspired by Katy, I’m running several year-long classes this year. The first is Hot Under the Collar; a course on sexiness and flirtation in improv. Of all the classes I’ve taught, this was the most obvious to extend. Every time I’ve taught this course, I’ve found myself brimming over with new ideas for how to make people comfortable using their sexuality. The more I teach, the more I discover new ways to help people be present, flirty, and sexy with each other and in themselves.
the nitty gritty
One of the things that I found most useful in Katy’s course was working with the same group for an extended period. Our check-ins became easier and more heartfelt, we were able to improvise with each other more smoothly, and it felt like the group coalesced into something more than a class: a gang of friends and colleagues working together for a common goal. It gave us all the advantages of being in a long-standing improv team, but with the added benefit of learning from Katy’s vast experience.
Hot Under the Collar is a class that requires a significant amount of vulnerability from the participants. Overt sexuality is still shrouded in shame and taboo, and it can be utterly nerve wracking for people to expose themselves in that way. Many people have spent their whole lives being policed sexually, so actively pushing into that space can be downright frightening. I know that having a full year to work with the same group, giving students the chance to really get to know each other, and understand each other’s boundaries, and sense of humour, is going to empower people to go deeper into themselves and discover just how much fun being sexy on stage can be!
A year of work also gives space for people to reflect on what they’ve done; I am going to be setting some “homework” for students to consider their work in class, take stock of the world around them, or simply think about their own sexuality. The time in between classes will allow participants to engage with themselves on a deeper level, so that we can push even deeper with every session.
We’ll also have much more time to think about safety and boundaries. All my work centres around consent and compassion and slowing down and spacing this course out gives us more time to examine and understand our boundaries and how we can communicate them with each other in healthy ways.
Most importantly, slowing down is sexy! There’s nothing hotter than someone taking their time, and a year of flirting gives us time to do just that. We have the space in this course to be lustful at our leisure.
So, there you have it – my case for year-long classes. It’s a wonderful way to gel with a group, you can delve deeper into a subject, take more time for personal reflection, and ultimately grow your improv further than you might have thought possible.
This is just the beginning for me; I will be announcing several other year-long courses in the coming month on Facebook and here on my website, so keep your eyes and ears peeled!