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Clowning Classes in NYC: Your Guide to Finding the Perfect Laughter Workshop

Clowning Classes in NYC: Your Guide to Finding the Perfect Laughter Workshop

Step right up and discover the world of clowning in the heart of the Big Apple! If you’ve ever dreamt of donning a red nose and bringing laughter to the masses, then look no further than the clowning classes in NYC.

This post covers the benefits of clown classes, clowning techniques, how to choose the right class for you, and particular studios you’ll want to check out.

Are you ready?

It’s show time!

Reasons to Take a Clowning Class in NYC (or Anywhere)

Clown and dog say hello by sticking their heads out the window of a school bus.
CWB Artist Juan Pablo Flores (AKA Epi Clown) on tour in Guatemala, 2023.

Beyond learning how to make people laugh, clowning classes are a safe and encouraging space for expression and creativity.

Through clowning, you’ll…

  1. Become a better communicator. As a clown, your ability to connect with your audience relies heavily on effective communication. Through improv exercises and character development, you’ll learn non-verbal ways of engaging with others.
  2. Develop personal growth and self-confidence. Stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing your inner clown can be a transformative experience. Let go of those inhibitions and embrace vulnerability!
  3. Relieve stress. Laughter has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, boost mood, and improve overall well-being. By immersing yourself in the world of clowning, you’ll bring joy to others and experience the positive effects firsthand.
  4. Open doors to a supportive community who share your passion for laughter and performance. Building relationships with students and instructors is priceless and can pave the way for future support and collaborations.
  5. Expand your horizons. Each artist-instructor has a different way of teaching. Sometimes the hardest — and most exciting — part of a clown class is feeling like a beginner (whether you’re new to clowning or a mirthful master).

“Clowning is an act of bravery.”

— Naomi Shafer, Executive Director, Clowns Without Borders

Are you new to clowning? The next sections should help you understand the art form and identify the type of class that’s right for you.

Clowning Techniques that Tickle Funny Bones

Clowns with colorful puppets crowd together for the camera
From left to right: CWB Artists Nathaniel Allenby, Thandolwenkosi Ndlovu, Rachel Wansker, and Cedrick Msongelwa in Zimbabwe, 2023.

Clowning techniques cover a range of fun skills like making stuff up on the spot, using your body to get a laugh, and creating unique clown characters!

Improvisation is the secret sauce of clowning. It’s all about thinking on your feet, being spontaneous, and finding the funny in unexpected situations. Clowning classes will help you trust your instincts and dive headfirst into the world of hilarious moments.

Physical comedy tells a story with your body. From pratfalls and slapstick to intricate movements and acrobatics, it’s all about perfect timing and control.

Clown character development is where the real fun begins. It’s about crafting your clown persona that’s a perfect match for your unique comedic style and personality. Imagine creating a look, nailing quirky mannerisms, and finding your clown’s voice.

Hunting for Hilarious: Your NYC Clown Class Quest

Two clowns look in a newspaper.
Blue Lake Clown Cabaret, 2019.

With the abundance of clowning classes available in NYC, you may feel overwhelmed. Here are a few questions to ask yourself. And, really, these apply to wherever you’re taking a class.

  • Are you looking for an intensive or for a place for ongoing practice?
  • Are you looking for a teacher who will help you build on your existing style, or who is going to shake it up with something completely different?
  • Do you have a goal for a desired outcome? This could be anything from developing your existing act to getting new ideas for performing or teaching. 

You’ll also want to consider

  • Your experience level. Are you looking to dip your toe into the world of clowning, or are you seeking to refine your skills? 
  • Instructors and their backgrounds. Look for instructors with extensive experience in a style that resonates with you. Student reviews give insight into the instructor’s teaching methods and the overall quality of the class.
  • Class size and the atmosphere of the studio. Do you thrive in larger groups with a bustling energy or prefer smaller, more intimate settings? To peek behind the curtain, swing by the studio for a trial class. It’s your chance to get a feel for the place and see if it’s a clown-tastic fit for you!

Juggle these considerations and you’ll find a clowning class that meets your needs and delivers a delightful experience.

From Jitters to Jollies: What Happens in Clown Class?

Two clowns on stage engaged in a song; one clown plays a guitar.
Blue Lake Clown Cabaret, 2019.

Entering a clowning class for the first time can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. However, knowing what to expect can bring ease to your experience.

Classes typically begin with icebreaker activities and warm-up exercises to help you loosen up and get into the clowning mindset. Picture physical warm-ups, vocal exercises, and improv games designed to get your creative juices flowing.

As the class progresses, you might explore different clown archetypes, learn how to develop a clown character, or practice physical comedy routines. The instructors will guide you through each step, providing feedback and encouragement along the way.

Most clowning classes also involve group activities and collaborations, which build relationships and provide opportunities for learning and feedback.

In addition to in-class activities, you may also participate in clowning performances or showcases. These events allow you to showcase your progress and gain real-world performance experience. They also offer the opportunity to connect with the larger clowning community.

Finding Your Clown Tribe: NYC’s Clown Class Destinations

Four people join hands as one, with thumbs up and fingers swirled together.
CWB Artists preparing before a performance in Romania, 2022.

If you’re an aspiring clown in (or arriving to) NYC, the city offers a wealth of resources to support your journey. From specialized clowning schools to comedy workshops, NYC has everything you need to take your clowning skills to new heights.

At Clowns Without Borders (CWB), we LOVE ❤️ Clown Gym for their ongoing Tuesday night drop-ins, and intensives, such as “Building an Act” and “Building a Character.” Our own Naomi Shafer has taught classes here and many CWB Artists have trained here.

Is Clown Gym a gym?

Why, yes! Just like athletes need weight training, clowns need clown training! Clown Gym is an awesome place to keep your silly juices flowing. They invite you to get out of your head and into your body!

Other good NYC clowning class options include: 

Do you know another great place to take clowning classes in New York City? Please let us know in the comments below!

If you’re looking for clown schools outside of NYC, be sure to check out our post: Top Clown Schools in the US.

Conclusion

What are you waiting for? Take that leap and pursue your passion for clowning!

NYC offers a treasure trove of resources for aspiring clowns. With each class, you’ll gain new insights and refine your skills — and laugh a lot along the way!

Happy clowning!

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