Angels can Fly - A Modern Clown User Guide
Angels can Fly includes a mix of fiction which follows the adventures of ten clown characters, personal clown anecdotes from clowns from around the world, a total of 50 practical clown exercises, and some theory on the nature of modern clown. The book is available on order through bookshops and online stores in New Zealand, Australia, America and England.
And You can get a free eBook copy of the book to read on your computer at: www.alanclay.com/ebook_list.htm
On this page you will find excerpts from the book. Check back often for new excerpts from Angels can Fly.
And while you are here, why not check out Alan Clay's new clown film, Moontan, which was shot in October 2006 in Wanganui, New Zealand, staring Annette Devick from Canada and Mark Hudson from Australia.Chapter 9. Exercise: JugglingINDIVIDUAL / PAIR / WORKSHOP
This is a five-step 'learning to juggle' process, which is very good for demonstrating how we learn, and so bringing the learning process more into the conscious realm.
Step One: With a ball in each hand, and hands in front of us at waist level, throw one up to eye height, and catch it in the same hand, then the other, and so on.
At this stage we are just getting used to the rhythm of one after the other, with each ball thrown to eye height, so that the throws become even. Hands remain down at waist height for the catch, rather than going up to find the ball, which destroys the timing.
Step Two: The crossover. Throw the first ball with the hand you are most comfortable with, on an angle to a point above the other hand, and as it is about to fall, throw the second ball on an angle to a point above the first hand.
The key thing to watch is the moment that the first ball starts to fall, and use this as an impulse to throw the second one.Don't worry so much about the catches to start with, but what we are looking for here is a four-beat rhythm, where one and two are throws and three and four are catches, and the beat is regular.
Step Three: Pick up a third ball and hold it in the hand you are throwing first with; this hand now holds two balls. Repeat step two, throwing only the first and second balls, and just get comfortable with the feel of the third ball in the hand.
Step Four: Throw the first ball, as it is about to fall throw the second, as it reaches the top and is about to fall, throw the third, or get it out of your hand in some way; drop it. Don't worry about catching it, just find the throwing rhythm by watching those moments where a ball is about to fall.
Step Five: If you've got the one, two, three, you can of course when the third ball is about to fall, throw the fourth, and as it is about to fall throw the fifth, and so on.
At this stage, count your throws and see how far you get. Challenge yourself each practice to go further than the last time.
Many people say they can't juggle, but it is just that they have not learned the steps in the process, and so when they find they can do it, they are overjoyed and value the learning experience.
What stops them firstly, is that they say they "can't" and nothing is possible from this position. Rather say 'I haven't yet' and leave open the possibility that they might learn it.
The next thing that stops them, is that they are going straight for a result: juggling, rather than following the process of learning ball skills.
But the biggest thing that stops people from progressing is their habits and patterns. They tried juggling once, and got so far with the learning, and ever since then when they pick up some balls, they repeat the same process and do not advance it. This is the biggest barrier, and is normally why people in this position require a teacher to guide them past this point. If you are working with this individually, you will have to push your limits consciously to overcome your habits.
One final comment on juggling: it is a physical activity which requires the mind to largely stay out of the way, and allow the physical focus. Relaxed breathing helps, rhythmic music can be good, and the practice is best undertaken for brief periods regularly, because we set in place bad patterns once we become tired, and the body absorbs the learning in between practices.
Angels can Fly is available on order through bookshops and online stores in New Zealand, Australia, America and England. Order your copy today. Find it on Amazon by following this link: http://tinyurl.com/9nrwj
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Last updated 24 November 2011