Who should take a workshop?
Workshops and classes are for people who have a desire to tell stories and explore creative movement within a supportive community. No dance or acting experience is necessary. Students have included adults of all ages from many walks of life, including social workers, office workers, construction workers, massage therapists, college students, etc.
How do I contact Nell?
What are classes like?
Classes are fun, exhilarating, creative, communal, and supportive. Classmates witness one another perform and each workshop is completed by a period of remembering and reflecting the sharing we have witnessed. Nell takes great care in helping each group build a bond of trust, which allows for greater experimentation and playful risk-taking.
What do you mean by "witnessing"?
Witnessing is simply being an attentive, respectful audience member so that the performer may comfortably explore the terrain of the self in order to creatively express what needs to be expressed. The witness’s main job is to stay present to the journey that the performer is taking so as to support the creative exploration.
Do I need theater or dance experience to take a workshop?
Beginners as well as seasoned performers report enormous benefits from workshops. Those drawn to the idea of expressing themselves in a supportive setting, but doubt they have much to say, will find they are a fountain of experience and stories they are excited to tell. Those comfortable in front of a group and who yearn to learn new ways to express themselves through dance, movement, and sound will be in heaven. If you are absolutely terrified of the idea of ever expressing yourself in any way in front of a group, you will probably not enjoy an Story Play class, but may nevertheless benefit from it a great deal.
I am an experienced dancer/performer, what will I get out of a class?
You will learn to allow your body to remind you of a memory that leads to an image that becomes a story. You will develop your physical and vocal improvisational abilities as a soloist and in ensemble using your material from your own memory and experience. You will practice mime illusion and other physical theater composition skills. Most of all, you will experience the joy of expanding your range in a creative community, which truly encourages experimentation and play without judgment.
How should I dress? What should I bring?
Where loose comfortable sweatpants and t-shirts. Layers are a good idea. Bring a water bottle and a notebook for doing writing exercises when they arise.
I am kind of out of shape, is it OK for me to take this class?
Yes, the class is structured so that you may participate to the level you are most comfortable.
Will I receive critique of my performance?
The emphasis is on fun and expanding expressive freedom. Students are guided to learn the form and in learning are side coached in a gentle way. Also, we may choose to expand on an idea that has been presented to further develop the theatrical possibilities for expression within it.
Is this work like group therapy?
Not really. Classes are not intended to provide the level of psychological challenge and healing that is possible through quality group therapy. Classes are simply a playful, artistic way for people to expand creatively and share in that process with each other. Personal truths may be processed through an improvised piece and expressing those truths to a receptive, supportive group is naturally healing. Classmates are not encouraged to interpret or give advice but rather to simply take in what is shared. This process lends itself to a powerful sense of universality and empathy which is also naturally healing.