Dance floor and the balcony

From Faster Than 20

This is a variation of the improv game, "Triangles." Cheryl Francisconi named the exercise after the metaphor in Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky's book, Leadership on the Line. The exercise was first articulated to Eugene Eric Kim by Michael Herman, who in turn borrowed it from Chris Corrigan.

The Exercise

  1. Get in a circle. ask each member of the circle to pick two people, but don't tell them. When facilitator says go, everyone moves so that they are always equidistant between those two people who they chose.
  2. Repeat the exercise, this time with the goal of moving one person to the opposite side of the room. One person is identified to move to the other side. Everyone again has two persons with whom to remain equidistant. By moving others move - the aim is to impact the person who needs to be moved to the other side.
  3. Debrief:
    • What happened? (Let participants describe what actually happened as they tried to maintain equidistance and in the second half of the exercise too)
    • What was our learning? (Checklist: our influence is interconnected, often we can influence events which may not be in our direct sphere of influence. It is not always easy to keep control of events.)

Playing Online

You can play this online using tools like SpatialChat and Welo. Suggestions:

  • Use the megaphone tool so that everyone in the room can hear you, regardless of how close they are to you
  • At the beginning of the session, have everyone "gather" in a circle and make sure folks know how to use the technology. Specifically:
    • Make sure they can see everyone else in the room
    • Make sure their audio works
    • Make sure their view is zoomed out as widely as possible so that the room feels big
    • Ask people to be conscious about moving at "walking" pace, and have people practice before beginning the exercise

Possible Variations

See Also