A Life in Acting and Clown

By Ira Seidenstein

November 23, 2010

In the finale of Cirque Du Soleil’s Corteo – December 2007 something shifted in my life. During our company bow in front of a full-house standing ovation, at the request of my friend and colleague Jeff  I went into the center of the stage. As I rose, I went into an altered state of consciousness. Time slowed. Senses increased. I passed through a portal in my life. By the time I was 5 I wanted to be a clown in the circus. My dream as a child culminated 50 years later at this very moment during my final bow. Although I had been a clown in circus before my contract with Cirque, and this was my 104th and last contracted performance. This moment was a personal shift. just as a butterfly emerges from a cocoon, so did I pass from circus clown to my reawakened process as a teacher. 

My contract with Cirque was an experimental one is several ways. One of the experiments was for me to be the first person to be the Resident Teacher of a Cirque show. There had always been a Head Coach on every show, someone who could oversee the technical acrobatic performances. My contract was officially a “Replacement Contract” for me to replace a wonderful young actor who wanted to leave the show. However, even though Cirque did not make my teaching position official, little by little many of the artistes asked me to teach them a variety of techniques related to acting and performance. Such spontaneous requests for me to teach and to direct have happened ever since I began in the theatre. It has been people other than myself who noted or called on me as a teacher. 

At the request of a friend in 2008 I began to emerge again as a teacher, this time in Paris. As a result, I began to mentor a number of individuals as well as two companies since 2008. However, in May 2009 en route to one of my own workshops I had an epiphany in the Paris Metro. The new concept appeared called “The Four Articulations” and I began that day to teach a new format for understanding the deeper truth and universal principles in acting, clown, theatre and creativity. In October 2010 in the closing moments of my workshop “The Four Articulations” one participant who is 3rd generation circus artist and teacher called The Four Articulations “the bible”. He meant, as I understand it, that I had indeed found something so essential and pure that in fact it is like a new beginning (genesis) for the teaching of clown, acting, and the inner dimension of theatre.
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