Walking on Hot Coals at the Senior Center


Students (from left) Debbie, Sue, Marion, Margie and instructor Tiffany Ford (front), walk on hot coals and surround themselves in the clouds as part of Improv & Storytelling at the Gulfport Senior Center.

“Improv and Storytelling is really all about collaboration and working as a team and being fearless, focused and flexible,” says Improv & Storytelling instructor Tiffany Ford. Ford, an Education and Outreach Specialist at Asolo Repertory Theater, uses improv as a learning skill for her theater students. Recently, she brought that skill to the Gulfport Senior Center.

The Improv & Storytelling class consists of multiple exercises including expressing bursts of emotion, playful interaction between personalities, and reacting to imaginary surroundings. Walking on hot coals, among clouds, or being “spiky” are ordinary endeavors for improv students, Ford explains.

“Sounds like a child tantrum in the old days,” said improv student Marion. “We could never get away with those, and now we can.”

The exercises, Ford notes, connect body and imagination in a theatrical approach and teach with principles outlined as CROW: Character, Relationship, Objectives and Whereabouts of storytelling.

“The most powerful thing about theater are these tools of improvisation, because no matter what you’re doing in life or in your day, those can impact your life and make you get along with people better,” Ford said. “It’s good for everybody.”

Improv & Storytelling students create characters and stories, perform scenes and emotions Mondays at 5:30 p.m. at the Gulfport Senior Center, 5501 27th Ave. S.

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