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A Class Full of Clowns in Riverdale

August 12, 2005 -- Imagine a class where a student imitates his classmates, acts like an ape, and slaps the teacher. But in this class, instead of being sent to the principal's office or being suspended, the student gets applause from his fellow classmates, and gets an A from the teacher. And then the next student stands up and does the same thing!

 “  A lot of the time, young kids think of theatre as being the boring stuff they are forced to watch.  
Sound crazy? It's not, when the class is an after school
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  introduction to clowning and theatre. The four part class will be held on Mondays at the Ethical Culture Society, 4450 Fieldston Road in Riverdale.

"We're really trying to get kids to think about theatre in a physical way," says Nicole Nevarez, theatre director, and one of the two teachers of the class. "A lot of the time, young kids think of theatre as being the boring stuff they are forced to watch. We want them to see that being silly and having fun can be theatre too." Nicole is a theatre & education
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 professional in the greater New York City area, and is a graduate of American University.

The other teacher will be professional clown Adam Gertsacov. Gertsacov bills himself as the most educated clown in America, "barring certain elected officials." Gertsacov has taught theatre and clowning for over 15 years, and worked with a number of clown and circus luminaries, including Bill Irwin, Dario Fo, and Avner Eisenberg. Adam is a graduate of the Ringling Brothers Clown College, the Dell'Arte School of Physical Theatre, and the University of Pennsylvania, and is the current (and only) Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.

Although the classes are about comedy and theatre, they are no laughing matter. Each class will begin with a physical warmup, and then move into improvisational theatre games. Students will also learn
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 classic clown skills, such as tripping, slapping, and falling, and then will create their own clown routines. The final class will end with a small show for friends and family, created by the students themselves.

The set of classes will be held Mondays September 12 - October 10 (no class October 3 due to Rosh Hashanah) from 4-5:30 pm at the Ethical Culture Society, 4450 Fieldston Road in Riverdale. The cost of the class is $100 for the four sessions.

To register, call Nicole Nevarez at 917-449-1086 or visit http://www.acmeclown.com/riverdale


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