As you may know, I moved to San Francisco in September to attend the Circus Center Clown Conservatory. This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. I am so grateful to have found clowning. It's an expressive, vulnerable, heart-centered, and silly as heck art form and it feels so right. Clowning has helped me so much in gaining confidence and self-acceptance. Acceptance of my joy, sorrow, fear and personal ridiculousness. I feel so filled up and bursting to share deep laughter with the world and all people and I have a special opportunity to do just that this spring!
In April, just weeks after Clown Conservatory comes to a close, two of my expert teachers, Hannah Gaff and Joan Howard, will be leading a social clowning trip to Bali through their non-profit, ClownCorps. ClownCorps mission is "to transform individuals, bridge divides, and cultivate compassionate communities using the tools of clowning and authentic play.
Through performance and workshops, we foster resilience and empathy for humans everywhere, so they can use these tools to live more meaningful and connected lives."
But what will we actually be DOING in Bali?
In line with the ClownCorps mission we will be providing free clown performances and workshops for the people of Bali. ClownCorps will be partnering with the Balinese organization YKIP (Yayasan Kemanusiaan Ibu Pertiwi) or the Humanitarian Foundation for Mother Earth. YKIP is a foundation committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in Bali through educational support and services. Poverty is common in Bali, particularly in remote communities beyond the reach of tourists. Our clown tour will reach children and communities experiencing economic hardship throughout Bali, from Pemuteran in the far north west, Singaraja in the north and communities in Karangasem in the east, with many from around Ubud in southern Bali and Munduk in the high mountains.
This trip has two major objectives:
1) to provide a noses-on learning experience for clown performers to apply training in social and therapeutic clowning, performance, and circus in a social context.
2) to offer laughter, relief and education for youth with less access to resources in rural villages of Bali through performance, play, and workshops.
Why does this matter to me personally?
I wholeheartedly believe that the world would be a better place with more clowns because with clowning comes the permission to laugh at ourselves, accept our vulnerabilities, come up with creative solutions to problems, and to feel a sense of belonging through our shared humanity.
Joining my fellow clowns in embarking on this trip to Bali would give me an opportunity to take all that I have learned in Clown Conservatory (embodied clowning, circus skills, acrobatics, clowning for children, bouffon, audience interaction, ensemble collaboration, and act creation) and put it to practical use in a special way. Not only will we be performing for the communities we visit on our tour, but we will be providing FREE workshops as well. It feels special that, as a clown fresh out of clown school, I'll get to offer my clownie little self to the world for free - that's what a gift truly is!
I know that Bali is far away and you may be thinking..."why go all the way to Bali when there are people who would benefit just as much from this kind of work here in the US?"
I think this is an important question. The last thing I want to do is, as a white person who has never been to Bali, come into their communities with the attitude that we have something invaluable to bring to them without considering that the people we are visiting may have something to teach us. So, why Bali, specifically? For one, both my teachers, Hannah and Joan, have studied in Bali (Bali has a rich history of performance traditions) and because of that they had pre-existing connections with local organizations that they naturally want to help support. While they would like to bring this work to San Francisco proper, at this time Bali is unfolding more naturally based on the partnerships they already have there.
And for me personally? In the past few years I have been interested in two questions: "what are the universals that we all have in common as humans that transcend cultural differences?" AND "what is community and how do we build it in our rapidly changing, modern world?" Asking myself these questions has been what has lead me to clowning in the first place. I'm excited about Bali because I imagine that getting out of the US and participating in the exchange that this trip provides between cultures will help me answer these questions more deeply and that, in effect, will inform me along my path.
How you can help:
While I have funds to last me through the end of clown school, I do not have the funds to take this extra trip. You donation will help me pay for:
- Airfare to and from Bali
- Transportation throughout Bali while on tour
- Food and clean water
- Travel insurance
You can see a more detailed description of what is covered in the cost of the trip itself and the extra things I will need to pay for in addition to the cost of the trip here: https://www.clowncorps.org/international-social-clown-tour
In order to secure my place as a volunteer performer and educator a non-refundable deposit of $500 is due by Jan 15th, 2020. Half of the remaining costs are due on February 1st 2020 and the remainder is due March 1st 2020.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and...
Thank you so much for you help in making my dreams come true and supporting my mission to create a world of freedom through play!
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