5 Questions About … The Creative Dynamic
The Creative Dynamic is one of TAI’s longest running programs. Sheila Barash, who often coaches the program, responded to our inquiries in this first installment of a new Quarterly feature 5 Questions About.
How did The Creative Dynamic (the CD) come to be?
In the late 1970’s The Actor’s Institute was born in a downtown NYC loft. The feature event was a workshop called “The Mastery of Acting.” It was unique in a world of “show biz” workshops that promised to teach actors how to become stars, delivering break-through experiences for actors in a weekend of experiencing and reclaiming their power and passion. Participants were reminded of why they were performers and how to access the depth and fullness of their creative resources as a means to recommit to their work. Very heady stuff!
The “Mastery” was incredibly successful and was followed by years of working with actors to reignite their passion. Thousands of actors came through our doors – but others came to us as well. It became commonplace at TAI to have workshops filled with an exciting mix of actors and non-actors. The idea for a new workshop began to form. Beginning with an exploration of what beliefs, feelings and thoughts were stopping, participants come to understand their desires and how to use their innate creativity to achieve them. The Creative Dynamic was born.
Who should participate in The CD?
Anyone! Everyone! The CD takes participants out of the day-to-day and brings them together to focus on what they want to create. We’ve worked with people as young as 14 and as old as 90, from all walks of life and from around the world. We’ve worked with CFO’s, computer analysts, writers, directors, teachers, students, corporate executives, musicians and, of course, actors. The atmosphere is one of exploration, discovery and support.
What is it about The Creative Dynamic that keeps you so committed to coaching in it?
As a leader I am privileged to witness transformation and creation. On the first night of the CD, I see possibilities. I see in the participants what cannot yet be named or acknowledged – but I see it. The weekend then becomes about releasing the layers that cover the brilliance, passion and artistry that exists in all of them. I see the transformation and the emergence of people that are present to their power.
Can you describe the participants’ experience of The CD?
The CD is 2½ days of being awake and alive to those little whisperings that are always in our minds, the ones we answer with “I could never do that.” We shine a light on the desires of our hearts as we awaken the passion that lies sleeping in us. The CD is more than “just” an experience. The journey that participants take is indelibly etched on their hearts, minds and bodies. The reason I can remember so many of the people that have taken the CD is that I go through it with them. We cry together, we laugh together, we struggle together and we celebrate together. It is an amazing bonding experience for everyone involved.
Will you share one of your favorite CD moments with us?
I remember an older gentleman, a writer and college professor, whose daughter suggested he take the CD. I believe he was writing a book at the time and wanted a bit of inspiration. He was a lively and funny man who had lived an amazing life. On the first evening when it was his turn to get up in front of the room to read his piece, he seemed very far away. I was puzzled. Gone was the open, funny man that I had interacted with in the lobby earlier. I asked him to do his piece again and directed him to sit on a stool, to put him more at ease. Again, stiff and far away. I started talking to him – just talking and he started to loosen up. Pretty soon he had taken over the conversation. He was opening up to me and to the audience. Before he knew it he had opened himself up to the process and I could see that the transformation had begun. He shared the gift of his wisdom with younger participants and in return he received respect, friendship and love – a tad more than “a bit of inspiration”!