MIME AND MOVEMENT – Instructor: Michael Trautman


MIME is the use of the body to communicate. The only universal language, spoken and understood around the world, not only by humans, but by every sentient species, is Body Language. Mime is the study of that Language. Anyone wishing to communicate with another living being already possesses a fundamental understanding of body language. The task is to become more aware of it, and to use that language intentionally and purposefully. Like any verbal language, the bulk of knowledge lies in vocabulary. The larger the verbal or gestural vocabulary, the better ones command of a language. And grammar, as always, counts. The ability to communicate is a very useful tool not only to the actor or the clown, but to anyone, all the time. My chief goal is to help students increase their movement vocabulary, and provide them with means to continue to expand that vocabulary in the future.

MIME class will follow a flexible routine, which draws from the following exercises and activities:

Warm-Up: Stretching, loosening, and warming the body at the start of class. Getting students to become comfortable with movement, and expanding their movement vocabulary. Exercises from dance, mime, yoga, and acrobatics are employed.

Isolations/Separation:. The basis of Mime Technique, and all movement, lies in the ability to move and control the various parts of the body independently of one another.

Undulations: Movement that begins in one part of the body and travels through consecutive parts to the opposite end. (i.e. head to toes; fingertip to fingertip)

Illusionary Technique and Graphic Mime: Using the body to describe the physical world. Delsarte System. Body language and how to read and use it.

Movement Vocabulary: Learning to expand one’s movement vocabulary through exploration of movement found in nature.

Time and Timing: Use of varying rhythms to find and show attitudes and emotions. Also, exploring the great secret of comedy – timing.

Improvisation: Many of the movement exercises are improvisational in nature. We will make use of additional theater games and improvisation exercises in exploring characters and their development.

Cooperation: Teaching students to work in group situations to find creative solutions to tasks.

Research: Building a foundation for further creativity.

Movement Improvisation: The ability to improvise varies among all people. Anyone who remembers how to play can improvise. And like most skills, practice will lead to an increased ability. The improvisational skills that we focus on are based in movement. By taking the voice out of the equation in trying to convey a thought or idea, the actor’s constant tool, the body, must invent and improvise in ways that are not unknown, but perhaps unfamiliar. Move like a squirrel. Stand like a tree. Tell me what your day was like. It should come as no surprise that when we take away the burden of spoken language, the ability to communicate through gesture becomes easier.


Students will be led through a wide variety of improvisation exercises in solo, duet, and small group forms. The importance of listening in being able to improvise is chief among qualities. That listening includes observing and allowing input from other actors, directors, audience members, along with the constant bombardment of our own senses and thoughts, and accepting that input and furthering the ideas put forth. This same concept is taught in traditional Improv workshops through the idea of “Yes, and…”

As a fundamental step in the Creative Process, improvisation skills will help students in any situation involving problem solving. Besides enjoying the spontaneous sense of play, actors learn how to use that play to write, invent, and create new works. Class activities:

PLAY. Students will be required to play, have fun, and be open to discovery.