How to get the fearful to shrug their shoulders and say, “Why not?”

You know challenging myself and getting others to challenge themselves is my jam.

In my sixteen years of being an adult, I’ve learned various best-practices to ensure that hurdles on my path never knock me out of the race and that if I fall, I sit in my shit for a bit, feel bad for myself, wonder why everything is the worst, and then get up better than before and with the skill to turn flaws, stumbles, embarrassments, and failure into positives.

One of those best-practices is surrounding myself with people who make it not only ok to look silly, feel dumb, be the slowest in the class but to enjoy looking silly, feeling dumb, being the slowest.

Whether it’s my peer also unable to do a burpee or sing in key or whether it’s my leader-teacher-facilitator creating a let-go environment and dropping knowledge sans soapbox, when I’m around other drinkers of Why-Not Kool-Aid, I’m encouraged to stretch myself and to enjoy myself in the moment without thinking about ROI or what others are thinking about me.

Which seems to translate to others as well.

Which is why Fear Experiment℠ is the perfect amalgamation of all things good about being a human.

Your fellow FEers have all also admitted “_____ scares me. I’m not good at _____. I’m willing to try_____.”

Your Captain has ensured you you can do no wrong and he/she has your best interest guiding every decision he/she makes and every request he/she asks of you. Best interest of fun. (Doable) challenge. New friends. Goal setting and achieving. Self-pride. Self-love.

The FE Captain role is multi-faceted, so much more than “instructor.” They’re also a life-coach, a therapist, a mom/dad, a cheerleader. They’re teaching people ridiculously skilled at an art-form and people ridiculously un-skilled at an art-form. They’re teaching twenty year olds and sixty year olds. They’re teaching mirror-hogs and back-liners. They’re teaching leaders and followers, introverts and extroverts, cat-people and dog-people.

Additionally, not only are they instructors, they’re also employees and team-members responsible for gazillions of tasks I assign them, many of which aren’t fun or sexy — Fill out this data form! Send me your tech requirements! Nag your students to _____!

Which is why I put so much thought, time, and effort into hiring the Captains I do.

So many moving parts, so many lives touched. It makes my heart swell to hear how loved they are from their students and to see many of their students continue on with them after an FE is over. “FE Alum Classes” was never a part of the vision. What a lovely surprise addition!

That I’ve been able to help creatives make a living being creative, that I’ve 1099’d a gaggle of artists, that’s the stuff.

As with all things FE ending, it is bittersweet to say goodbye to my Captains, some of whom have been in the FE family for four, five years. But it’ll just be an FE goodbye, not a life goodbye. I mean, I am married to one of them. And lord knows, wherever there are free Clif Bars, Gloria and her cavernous purse aren’t far off.

Thank you Captains for being so skilled, creative, patient, dependable, flexible, professional, and just overall kickass humans. I cannot wait to see your babies in the spotlight come November, giving life to your art, and more importantly, carrying on what you taught them into their everyday, infecting others with “Why not?”

Gloria Mwez – Dance & Stepping Captain


  • Dancer/Choreographer and Creator of Chicago Untitled Project and Co-Founder of Feels Like Friday LLC
  • Twitter Handle – @kungfuDancer
  • Where she grew up – A few different places but mostly Gilbert, AZ
  • A favorite quote – Les grandes personnes ne comprennent jamais rien toutes seules, et c’est fatigant, pour les enfants, de toujours et toujours leur donner des explications” (Grownups never understand anything for themselves, and it’s tiresome for children to always and forever be explaining things to them) – Antoine de St. Exupery in The Little Prince
  • Why she’s amazing – “My mom would say it’s because I’m a certified genius with a smile that blinds the sun. But she’s a bit biased. I would say it’s because I love what I do and I want everyone who’s willing to be able to have a little arty adventure. That and my ability to find pastries in any city I’m in.”
  • A memorable FE moment for her – “There are many but one sticks in my mind right now. During my first FE one of the dancers hurt himself about a week or two before the show. He was in some pretty substantial pain and was unable to safely perform with the group. I was worried and kinda devastated for him to have worked so hard just to have to back out. But then we talked and I saw how determined he was to make it work and to be a part of the performance. We got very creative and the rest of the group was incredibly supportive. Being a witness to such a show of strength, creativity, camaraderie and a tad bit of stubborn foolishness has made a lasting impression on me. I’m so in love with that moment.”

Mara Dale – A Capella Captain

    • Actor, Educator

  • Where she grew up – River Forest, IL – next to Oak Park
  • A favorite quote – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi
  • Why she’s amazing – “I strive to live my life from an ensemble perspective. I’m constantly asking myself, ‘How can we work as a team?’ It allows for a fun, collaborative, constantly evolving environment from which I’m always learning and growing. I apply that to all of my freelance teaching, my acting, and other projects with which I’m involved.”
  • A memorable FE moment for her – “When I was standing with students backstage and one of them said, ‘Mara, I might pee my pants on stage; I’m so nervous.’ And then she didn’t. She made it through with bells, whistles, and a dry dress on! #WIN!”

Elizabeth Gomez – Storytelling Captain

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  • Founding Writer, Drinkers with Writing Problems; Associate Producer, Story Club Southside; Producer, HilariTea Comedy; Member of the Kates; Founder, Windy City Rollers; Jerkface Rhetorician
  • Twitter Handle – @JuannaRumbel
  • Where she grew up – “I’ve lived so many places! I’m grew up a military brat. While I spent my adolescent/teen years in Virginia, I “grew up” in Chicago. I’ve been here about 20 years and it’s where I became who I wanted to be.”  
  • A favorite quote – “From the poem The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski, ‘Your life is your life, know it while you have it. You are marvelous; the gods wait to delight in you.’ “
  • Why she’s amazing – “Because I’m willing to do “the work”. The work isn’t only the physical things, but also the choices you have to make mentally like changing your perception, finding patience, keeping myself motivated to move forward in situation or relationships that require healing, forgiving myself, and to find a reason to love every day.”
  • A memorable FE moment for her from the show she saw – “The dancing is everything. I wanted to be a Fly Girl so bad as a child. Watching the FE folks dance their hearts out made me incredibly jealous that I never found the courage to chase after that feelings.”
  • Why she wanted to Captain FE/what intrigued you about FE – “The first thing was probably ego: WOW! Saya Hillman, one of the dopest chicks I know, is asking me to do this. I must finally be cool. But, I decided to commit because the idea of teaching makes me nervous and insecure, so FE seems perfect to get over it!”

Pete Aiello – Improv Captain

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  • Founder, TeamPete
  • Twitter Handle – @goteampete
  • Where he grew up – Monroe, LA
  • A favorite quote –

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  • Why he’s amazing – “My favorite thing is when people allow themselves to be vulnerable and stretch themselves. And I’m good at facilitating environments where folks can do just that.”
  • A memorable FE moment for him – “It’s not one particular moment, but I’ve been lucky enough to see many instances, usually early on in IE class, where someone makes a choice to be weird/silly/vulnerable in front of the group in a way they hadn’t yet done. Without fail, IEers are wildly supportive, and they reward the person’s trust with acceptance, laughter, and occasionally, cinnamon bun hugs.”

If you’d like to see Pete, Mara, or Gloria’s babies from past FEs, head to the FE YouTube Channel.

If you’d like to BE one of their babies (or Elizabeth’s baby), find out how. Final FE is this Fall, admission NOW till all spots are filled. And they’re going, going…