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September 16, 2013

Be a clown: From makeup to magic, clown classes teach it all


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The first class in the two-part, 10-week series, begins with the teachers transforming themselves into their clown characters. Subsequent classes help students choose their clown personas as well as delving into making balloon animals, doing basic magic, plate spinning and juggling. The classes are held, not just to teach people about how to become clowns, but to encourage membership in Clown Alley in the Niagara Region. Students must graduate from the class before they can join the group, which meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Shawnee Fire Hall in Sanborn. 

Who should take the class?  “Anybody that likes to have fun and make people smile,” said Shire.  

Five years ago Carol Marx of Grand Island took the class, taking on the “dainty, pink” persona of Clarabelle. The mother of three, grandmother of five, is better at some clown activies than others, but that works for her. “I’m terrible at magic so I do dumb magic tricks and it makes the kids laugh,” she said. “I’m also terrible at juggling, but I’m good at ballooning, face painting and story telling.”

Marx became a volunteer at Roswell Park Medical Center so she could work the hallways in her clown costume.  She works to put smiles on everyone’s faces whether they are patients, staff or visitors.

“Hospital clowning is called caring clowning but I think all clowning should be called caring clowning,” Marx said. “We just want to bring joy to other people. That’s what we do.”

Ultimately, as Clarabelle, she gets back as good as she gives. “It fills my heart to do clowning,” she said.

IF YOU GO • WHAT: Clown Class sponsored by Niagara Clown Alley • WHERE: Niagara Falls High School • WHEN: Two part ten week series from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. starting Wednesday • MORE INFO: To register call the school district Community Education Center at 286-0771. Cost is $35 for the each of two five-week series.

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