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Roslyn
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Hi guys and gals,

I've been reading through many of the posts here that ask for help in learning sideshow stunts and the same answer keeps coming up, learn from a pro.

This is great, and in most (if not all) cases is the only way to learn this stuff.

I was wondering, apart from Todd and Harley, who else teaches sideshow?

Where and how can you get in touch with them?

I feel it may stop the constant asking of "how to" type questions that just can't be taught on line.

If we could create a list of qualified teachers, recommended by the pros, and what they teach I feel it would be a great resource for anyone wishing to learn.

Not just USA based performers, but anyone that teaches across the World.

What do you all think?

Ros
The Magic Cafe account of The Conwy Jester, Erwyd le Fol formerly known as Roslyn Walker.
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erikkloeker
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A list of qualified performers to teach sideshow is a great idea, of course not fool proof, but still better than saying "learn from a pro" and leaving it at that. I know (of) some UK based sideshow performers and from what I know they are well qualified but having not met them in person I can't reccomend them. Also there is a (BIG) difference between knowing how to do a stunt well and knowing how to teach it well. Sometimes the two go hand in hand sometimes they don't.
Roslyn
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It's also whether a working pro has the time, and desire, to teach what they are doing.

After all, if they still make their money from performing this stuff they may be reluctant to teach it. And who can blame them!

I leave it up to you guys to add people and ways in which to contact them.

Cheers and stay safe,

Ros
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Kondini
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I put an advert in the Worlds Fair a few years ago for a Fakirs apprentice. Not one taker ok.
If anyone wants to learn from a person who is making their liveing from this type of work then you would have to be prepared to travel to or with the people doing it, this requires putting yourself out somewhat as I myself travel all over as do all performers.
I am sure that Magnus and myself would make you feel welcome and show you the ropes if you really want to delve deeper into this but being on the road makes it impossible to set ourselves up as teachers, and god knows how anyone could put a charge on this type of stuff, I wouldn`t have a clue as to how much to charge!!!

You need to hang around the gaffs, pick up, beg, steal the knowledge you require,and be taken under the wing of a working performer, that`s the only true way to learne.

People come to me and ask what they have to get in order to learn the acts,,,my reply is a porta potty, generator and a kettle,,,,I joke not.

If you have the yearn and bitten by the bug enough you will find the way.

Remember Ken Brookes words,,,Those that can perform, those that can`t, teach???

Ken
Steve V
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Put in for an art grant and use the money to learn!
Steve V
itshim
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Kondini,

As a performer and teacher I find the use of the phrase you quoted insulting. I'm one of the few professionals I know prepared to teach fire-breathing/eating and because of the lack of professionals teaching I know of a number of people who have been taught by amateurs and ended up in hospital.

I also make a lot of money teaching circus skills to youngsters during the week when there is much less performing work around. Often I find that the schools have had previous circus skills instructors who are not performers and have not had the same impact in their teaching.

Those people who love their craft wish it to live on and are prepared to help others learn it. Those who are only in it for the money don't want potential rivals. This forum is about helping others, so is full of performers who also are teachers.

Nigel
I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.

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Harley Newman
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Hi Nigel!

I don't recall you posting here previously. Welcome!

There are "teachers", and there are "teachers". Some do it, having a lot of real-world experience, an ability and passion to communicate, and genuine concern for the well-being of the students. Some do it, because they need to show off, what they know. Both types can get paid, and be called "professional".

I ran into another "student" yesterday, who proceeded to instruct me all about the Human Blockhead, which he'd learned from a "teacher". The former couldn't even remember the latter's last name, and had no ongoing contact with him.

To hear the intricacies of what one might do with a Q-tip, when one has just stuck a high-heeled shoe and a power-drill up one's nose, is a bit ludicrous. I was able to dispel some misconceptions that he had, for his safety, because otherwise, he was about to do damage to himself.

I've met the "teacher", a full-time working professional. What I've heard about his show (haven't seen it), is that it's an eclectic presentation, with no connection between routines, that leaves the audience thinking "Huh?", and wondering why they sat so long. Some of his material, he'd say, is state-of-the-art stunt performance, that everybody does. I, however, know exactly where it originated, and can say that he never asked permission, nor paid royalities.

So why would he give a formal lesson to someone with whom he'd have no further contact? Ego. That's the only reason I can think of. So what Kondini says, aside from being a quotation, is true. Not for all teachers, perhaps, but certainly in what I observed yesterday.

You mention that you teach. Do you teach, because somebody wants to learn, has enough respect for you and the artform, that (s)he is willing to pay you, and will be a responsible student? Or do you teach, just because somebody signs up for a workshop?

I see that you do a bit of juggling. I admire that ability. It takes skill, dedication, and a lot of practice to do it well.

The material we discuss here, is not in the same league. If you drop a club, gee, you might bruise your toe. If you mess up with a fireball, you lose face, both figuratively and literally. Even a simple thing, can leave no room for error.

There's another thread this week, with a link to somebody who was, apparently, badly taught. We only see the accident, not the results. Some of us have seen them before. There's no doubt that this person's teacher had impact on him.

That somebody wants to learn, isn't the only thing to consider. That somebody wants to teach, doesn't make them good at it.

BTW Nigel, Kondini is an old pro, who's been performing longer than you've been walking the face of the earth. He can do fire, without burning off that luxurious mustache. I bow to him, or at least, in his general direction.

And Ken, I hope you get a little time off! You've earned it, this year (and every other)!
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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itshim
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Hi Harley,

It was the first time I posted on this particular area but I read various areas of the Café. I only posted because Kondini was quoting a particularly obnoxious phrase. I have been a teacher for 18 years and a performer for about 16 years. I gave up my job of teaching mathematics to 11-18 year olds to become a full-time professional entertainer 11 years ago. I'm fairly well known in juggling and family entertainment circles in the UK. I teach to people who want to learn the skills I can offer at juggling conventions around the country,(So they sign up fot it and I'm unpaid) and I teach to young people in schools and youth groups and get paid for the privelege. The majority of my earnings however is from performing at medium to large scale events. I will be performing my fire show several times in October and November at large venues (and most of these are repeat bookings).

I give this information to give you some background to my dislike of the phrase "those who can do, those who can't teach!" Generally those who perform are not particularly good at teaching because they have never given it much thought. Those who are good at teaching do it as a vocation first and foremost rather than as an ego boost. However that doesn't mean that there are not good performer/teachers (I know several) and those I know are generally better at both because of the time they've spent trying to explain why they do things to other people.

I teach fire breathing/eating. I charge. No-one I've taught has ever had an accident of any seriousness. All of them have approached me, not me them. I think I know a little about what I'm talking about.

Nigel

Who really should calm down now
I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.

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Harley Newman
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It's always difficult to be lumped into an adage. I run into people who think that, because of what I do, I could never have amounted to anything that involved education. Usually, I have more degrees than they.

There's also the second part of the adage..."those who can't teach, teach teachers." I worked in a teacher-training university program for a couple of years. Most of the profs, really had no clue. Their idea was that by standing up and reading portions of the books they'd written, they were teaching well. It was sad and discouraging.

And by the way, I have a number 2 pencil right here.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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the Sponge
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Quote:
On 2006-09-15 12:54, Harley Newman wrote:
There's also the second part of the adage

Let's not forget, "...those who cant teach, teach gym."

s
Harley Newman
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I haven't heard that one before, snicker, snicker!
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Doug Higley
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Those who hate to be taught, make pygmies.
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Kondini
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Been away,,,working so missed the fun here!!!

The quote was made by Ken Brooke,,,and endorsed by many including Freddy Kaps.

As example to the quote>>> Ken had a book in his studio for many years,,,on the dust jacket it read "The Magic of Fred Kapps" Many, including me,,grabbed at the book and upon opening it,,,,,all the pages were blanck !!!

Do you understand what he was trying to convey now?

The definition of being a pro >>>> A person who makes their full time living from their subject.
This does not qualify them as a teacher ok.

I gather you are a juggler who does a bit of fire and circus skills work.
Have you ever worked in a Circus?

I have been performing at outside events for yonks of years,,,but never bumped into you,,yet. Among these were Rushton Rally, Kettering Show, Northampton Balloon Fest,Billing Aquadrome,Hunsbury Hill Rally to name the largest in your own area. didn't see you there! Dr Busker who lives in Rushton and performs at these shows has not seen your work either.

Maybe you are booked for Hollowell Bonfire !

I am not setting out to get at anyone,,,just point out a few facts.

You say you teach young children in schools,,,,juggling ok but fire work!!!

Would love to see you work (Not juggling, heaven forbid) So if you post your gigs here then maybe you could teach me a thing or two(Im quite happy to post mine) But I don't teach,,,,

Ken
itshim
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I wasn't sure whether I had seen you work or not but I guess if you work near me then it was you I saw one time at the Stoke Goldington Steam Rally. I spent some time chatting to Tony de la Fou who was working next to you.

Most of my gigs are private or corporate but October 31st I'll be at Baggeridge Country Park, South Staffordshire. Anyone who wants to say hi to me there can (if they don't mind the queues). I rarely work in Northants so I doubt you will have seen me there.

As for people who you should know who know me (as I have never heard of Dr Busker) how about Taro (Stuart Fell), Todd Cody, Kevin Burke, Tony White and several others in Northants who will know me as either Its Him or Kester the Jester (the one who all the fuss was about 2 years ago).

Also I obviously don't teach fire to those who I don't think are old enough and responsible enough to learn.

Nigel
I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.

www.itshim.co.uk
Kondini
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This thread "Where to learn Sideshow"
Non of the performers you mention make their full time income from performing Sideshow.

Dr Busker is the most well known outside show entertainer on the circuit today,,,everyone working these` types of gigs will eventualy bump into him.

I have performed at the Goldington Show every year since way, way back,,,with my fire and sideshow act.

This act is my only form of income plus of course side stuff, zibbs and escapology.I do not juggle, cut paper or entertain with childrens props. Sideshow hits the public on a different level,,,this is what this thread should be about.

BTW Busker topped the bill in the evening show at Stoke Goldington.

Ken.
itshim
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I didn't say that any of the acts did. Although Kevin Burke does ladder of knives, Taro does a fire routine and Todd does the whole wild west thing as well as being a great compere. I was merely listing people you should know who have knowledge of me.

The fact that this is sideshow is why I have made so few posts here. I specialise in manipulation skills. I appreciate other skills than the ones I employ.

Nigel
I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.

www.itshim.co.uk
Kondini
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Sorry,,,I still fail to understand what qualifies you as a teacher of Fire Eating etc.
To me it seems logical that a person who teaches Circus Skills would have worked in a Circus.
A person who teaches Sideshow skills would work in a Sideshow.
I would not go to a Plumber in order to learn about Plastering any more than put my trust in a part time fire eater as a qualified instructor. There are many such Fire eaters who blow flame at random every year at Glastonbury Festival,,,would I go to them for instruction,,,,hell no.

I think its time that as in every proffession all should serve some kind of apprenticeship. A show now and again is ok but just because you can do it does not make you a qualified teacher in the field.

I worked with Zippo, Billy Smart and more recently Circus Carousel,,,all had their experts who taught within the Circus circle,,,,now look around you Circus schools and workshops popping up like flies,,,,with very few teachers from the real world of Circus,,,,,,I wonder why?

The entertainers you mention above which you feel I should know,,,,why should I. Yes I bump into a couple of them when working the Northants area,,,,but as a full timer there is no way a full time income can be made from shows in that area,,,and appart from Taro non of them do the UK show circuit run. Busker,Penny Rigden,Alan Ford,Magnus,Melton Mowbrey,Titan,Hell Riders,Doctor Death etc etc, do,,,our paths cross now and again from year to year so its like meeting up with old mates in the Biz.

This is what the grounding comes from,,,this is where we all learn the ropes and from this grounding the true teachers should emerge.

My opinion,,,for what its worth!

Ken

BTW I have been offered huge sums of cash and TV contracts home and abroad in return for info and instruction.

I place sideshow above all this and its not that I could`nt do with the cash cos I could.
How can you put a price on a way of life, a feeling, a buzz.
Sideshow will stay alive by passing on within the ranks to the few who are prepared to put the graft in. To give a gift for cash return only belittles the whole concept of a worthwhile craft.
Destiny
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Kondini,

I am so impressed at your moustache - I've spent 30 years worrying about my wigs - maybe I should try your hairstyle.

Totally agree with you on the apprenticeship angle. Very few want to do the hard yards anymore - I've had young entertainers steal my firesticks, practice burning themselves at home for a couple of days and then try and hire themselves out as an act within weeks. I now never leave anything unlocked or carry my fluids in their original identifying containers.
itshim
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Kondini,

You obviously missed the point of my various posts so I'll elaborate.

Firstly, you stated that you had never heard of me - I then list a number of entertainers that you should know, who know me, and you asked what was their relevance to sideshow. The point wasn't that they were relevant to sideshow it was that they were well known entertainers who know me. It should give you an idea of the sort of circles I move in.

Secondly, you ask how I can teach fire? Fifteen years of performing fire shows gives me some experience. It isn't that I particularly enjoy teaching it but I'd rather someone teaches people who want to learn in a safe manner than have someone who doesn't know what he is talking about teach them. And calling me a part-time fire performer and then lumping me in with those who perform at Glastonbury is basically insulting.

Thirdly, I came into this discussion because you made what I considered to be a very insulting comment. That you attribute it to someone else makes it just as insulting in that you felt able to quote it without denying the sentiment of it. Your actual posts later on suggest the opposite point of view but that wasn't what you said initially. In other words only those who actually DO are able to TEACH.

Fourthly, You will note that I have not made any attacks on your knowledge, ability to perform, choice of career, experience, or even worthiness of offering opinion. The reverse is not the case. I've complained about one particular phrase, I will continue to complain about this phrase whenever it is quoted at me by others who think they know more than me about teaching.

Nigel

Full-Time Entertainer, Part-Time juggler, magician, stilt-walker, fire-eater and anything else that allows me to perform in the way I love.
I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.

www.itshim.co.uk
Kondini
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Nigel >>>> 1) It was not my quote that upset you but a quote from someone who most entertainers admire.
2) Your entertainer friends who I should know!!!! Why should I,,,they are as me and work their own biz what has association got to do with ability? I know many people from many circles but that gives me no peddigree.
3) You are correct,,,,I certainly no nothing about teaching and would not try to comment on your abilities.
4) My comment of who I thought would be worthy teachers,,,stands. Sorry you take offense at my point of view.

From a question "Where to learn sideshow" We seem to have digressed and come up with nothing of substance as a reply other than you consider that you are fully qualified to teach Fire Eating.....OK...... once more,,,why?

Ken
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