She thought it would be a good creative
outlet to change up her everyday routine. She
said she also enjoyed meeting a group of new
women in the neighborhood.
Jurek’s choice to offer the class to only
women was intentional.
“It’s my form of political activism. Here we
are, women, marching in the streets,” Jurek
said. “How do we bring everyone together in
a way that’s positive and powerful? Humor is
power. You can command a room if you say
the funny thing."
Jurek said while she is open to including
men one day, restricting the class to only
women allows the participants a sense of
freedom that might be compromised if a man
“You throw a man in the mix, suddenly the
dynamic changes,” she said. “It’s just nature.
What would happen if it was just us?”
María Militano said she joined the class as
form of self-care to release the stress of her
job as a social worker in the Bronx, and “belly
laugh” one night a week. She said she enjoys
Jurek's enthusiasm that pushes the group to
work together and be in the moment.
“I like being part of a group of badass
woman,” Militano said.
Jurek's role in class is a catalyst for “play”
and creativity. She teaches new games and
encourages participants to get out of their
comfort zone and be bold, to say something
and run with it. She makes sure people follow
her basic rules: kindness, making their partner
look good and supporting each other.
One of the warm-up games is “Got
your back.” The women walk around and
repeat the phrase and give each other
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
Photos by Danielle Brody
an imaginary gift that has been hiding
behind their backs. She also adapted the
traditional improv phrase in her class from,
“Yes, and,” to “Oh, I love that and.”
“You can’t say that without some kind of
emotion attached to it,” Jurek said.
Defeis said Jurek has a kind, gentle way
of giving criticism and communicating the
lessons in classes. She said her positivity is
“She’s very high-energy,” Defeis said.
“I think she’s intentionally like that to
raise the overall creativity and emotion.
She promotes silliness, fun and laughter
and is accepting, no matter what the
The experience can build camaraderie,
make people feel trusted, and build new
connections in the brain by saying things
that would normally not make sense, Jurek
said. The enjoyment people get out of the
experience can be transformational, she
“When you delight or surprise yourself,
you’ve just changed,” Jurek said. “That’s