Clown Tutorial – twisting balloon animals, part 1
The first ‘clown skill’ we’ll look at is twisting balloon animals into different shapes. Why balloon animals first? There are several reasons: it’s virtually expected of a clown for one, it’s inexpensive (roughly 8 cents each, buying them retail), and extremely versatile.
A few caveats first. Be aware that balloons can, do, and will pop. That’s normal. Even though they’re made of latex (not standard balloon rubber), and can, therefore, take a lot more ‘twisting,’ they will still pop. Never give a balloon to a small child (I use a guideline of three years old or less). If the child bites on the balloon (which small children will do — taste is a significant part of how they experience the world), the balloon will pop, a piece can then fly straight down the child’s throat, and the child will suffocate and die — you will not be able to dislodge that piece of latex in time to save the child. Don’t turn something meant to delight a child into something so horrible. Thank you.
If you think it was depressing to read that paragraph, imagine what it must have been to write it. Also, (even though it seems harsh), don’t trust the parent who says that they’ll just keep in on the child’s shelf or dresser; I’ve had parents tell me that, and then hand the balloon to the child as they stroll away! Remember your goal in doing this is to make children smile, not cry. How do you avoid the problem? By telling them that your insurance doesn’t cover giving balloon animals away to children under the age of 3 (no lie, by the way — if you’re a member of the Clowns of America International, and have their performers insurance policy, it doesn’t).
Everybody depressed by now? Okay, let’s look on the happy side for a moment. For every “problem” situation I’ve had like the ones I’ve just described, I’ve had one hundred happy, smiling children who are running off to show (friend, sibling, Mom, Dad, Grandma, etc.) their new treasure. It’s a magical moment.
One last comment about popping balloons. You will do it. You will do it many times. Your spouse will ask you to leave the room if you pop one more of those things, you’re driving her crazy! That’s normal. The more you do it, the less often it happens, and your spouse will tolerate you more and more, eventually letting you back inside the house :o)
As normal, this first installment is the necessary boring preliminary stuff. Even so, please take it to heart. Our goal is to make people laugh and smileâletâs be careful out there.
Next time, we’ll actually begin inflating and twisting simple balloon animals, learn why the dog is so popular, and how to be a “twisted” individual. See you then!
Bibliography for twisting balloon animals
- Balloon Animals/Book With Pump and Balloons by Aaron Hsu-Flanders
- Captain Visual’s Big Book of Balloon Art! by “Captain Visual”
- Creative Clowning by Bruce Fife, Tony Blanco, Steve Kissell, Bruce Johnson, Ralph Dewey, Hal Diamond, Jack Wiley, Gene Lee
- Dewey’s Amusing Rubber Antics by Ralph Dewey
- Dewey’s Balloon and Clown Notebook by Ralph Dewey
- Dewey’s Basic Balloon Sculpturing Course by Ralph Dewey
- Dewey’s Gospel Balloon Routines/No 1 by Ralph Dewey
- Dewey’s Gospel Balloon Routines/No 2 by Ralph Dewey
- Dewey’s Gospel Balloon Routines/No 3 by Ralph Dewey
- How to Be a Compleat Clown by Toby Sanders