This is a three part-warmup that I learned from Omar Argentino Galvan (Improtour) when he was in Chicago this summer and he presented his workshop “Play It Weird: Fun, Fast & Physical” at Second City:
Physical part: We pair up, facing each other, a couple of feet away. One improviser will be leading, the other will be following. The leader shows the follower a series physical moves. For the exercise to work, each of these moves must have a clear beginning and end and must be followed by the next move, creating a series of moves, trying to find a rhythm. The series of moves goes on until the exercise ends. If I am making the movements first (I am the leader), the person in front of me (the follower) will mirror me, only he/she will do it two movements later (this is very important). The goal is for the follower not to catch up, but always be trailing the leader by 2 movements. After about a minute of this, we switch roles and the person in front of me leads and I follow him/her. It helps a lot if the person leading and the person following find a steady rhythm in each consecutive move.
Verbal part: We are still paired up. Basically the same concept as number 1, but instead of physical movements, we just do it verbally. The person leading starts a story one word at a time, trying to do it at a steady pace. The person following waits for two beats until he or she starts repeating the same story word by word. Sometimes, if the person leading is not doing it at a steady pace, it will be hard for the follower to remain 2 beats behind, so it’s important to keep a beat, a rhythm.
Physical and verbal: Same concept as before but we combine the physical and the verbal. We are still paired up, facing each other, there is one leader and one follower. The leader will be doing physical movements as explained above as well as creating a story one word at a time. Each movement matches each word. One movement = one word. The follower mirrors the leader, only he/she does it two beats later. After we have completed about a minute of leading/following, we switch roles, the follower becomes the leader and viceversa.