Some thoughts on 'RIDICULOSITY' | Clown Conservatory




the 1st semester showcase Circus Center | ClownCon Class of 2018


Clown Conservatory students pass on hats during a sketch in 'Ridiculosity' | Circus Center | 2017 

Dreams on the nature of clowns and joy


I’ve had the most wonderful weekend, watching and laughing and dancing and playing with clowns. To be specific, the Circus Center’s Clown Conservatory, Class of 2018, performing in their first Semester Showcase entitled Ridiculosity. It was the culmination of 10 weeks of rigorous training in Physical Comedy, Puppetry, Mask, Mime, Music, Circus Skills, Character Development and Performance Technique for the circus ring, the street, the stage & the screen. Our small but mighty class of 7 worked tirelessly to transform themselves into Human Cartoons.


In performance this past weekend their hard work, talent & tenacity were evident in every aspect of their craft.

From the waves of laughter & applause that washed over everyone in the theatre it was apparent that this core group of fledgling funsters take their silliness very seriously. It was also a moment that cemented certainty of purpose, a defining moment of assurance that the decision to put the rest of their lives on hold and take up the study of clowning was exactly the right choice, at the right time and in the right place.


Clown Conservatory student performing in Ridiculosity | Circus Center | 2017


For those of us who had the privilege of working with this gifted young group, it was a saturation of satisfaction to see them on stage, fully present, connected to each other, the audience and every moment with skill & authenticity. It was also a testament to the show, directed with a keen eye by Doyle Ott, the incredible performance faculty and the program itself, under the watchful, loving guidance of the amazingly gifted Sara Moore.


This was just the end of the first semester. There’s more to come, and another example of their work will be presented this coming spring. For now, however, this tiny band of fierce, funny & necessary artists takes a brief respite from the classroom and hopefully will have time to process all that has happened to them, and within them, over the past few months.


Clown Conservatory student smiles at the audience in 'Ridiculosity' | Circus Center | 2017 

Personally, I felt a wonderful, dreamlike sense of deja vu, harkening back to my days as the director of another clown training program, long ago and far, far away. It reminded me of how important this work is; how consuming it can be and how much pure joy it brings. Of all the lessons that have been shared here, one of the most profound is the realization that humor has a powerful, transformative effect. An uninhibited belly laugh can scrub the soul clean of despair and lift one’s spirit up & out and into the light of optimism & hope. To experience it is exquisite; to create it is extraordinary. And so - to the students, “The Magnificent 7 of Slapstick”, a genuine Congratulations & Bravo! Thank you for having the courage to let go of what you thought this program was going to be, and for embracing what it is.


I hope that your break offers you some much needed rest and time for you to renew your commitment and enthusiasm for the ancient and honorable art of clowning.


Remember: We are students of life some we are students for life; take deep, cleansing breaths; appreciate this magical time in your lives and enjoy it. Your time as a caterpillar has expired. your wings are ready. Take the next leap of faith - soar and spread joy!


Peace & light,

Steve Smith


"We invent nothing, truly. We borrow and re-create.
We uncover and discover.
All has been given, as the mystics say. We have only to open our eyes and hearts, to become one with that which is.”


~ Henry Miller



Clown Conservatory Class of 2018


Jamella Cross

Sarah Harris

Anne Herholdt

Kara Rivas

Hanna Stangebye

Roxanne Sticks

Keenan Woodson


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The Clown Conservatory class of 2017-2018  poses for a picture after their showcase | Ridiculosity | Circus Center