Ton Kurstjens Clownerie
Ton Kurstjens is a Dutch clown who started performing in 1983. As a silent clown he has performed in many countries over Europe. Furthermore he is a clown teacher. His book The Clown, from Heart to Heart has been a guide for a lot of clowns all over the world. His key items are: attention, connection, silence, improvising and fun.
He now works solo. He works as a non-speaking clown in many countries over Europe.
Besides performing he also gives clowning courses and directs several clowning companies. As a sort of clowns coach he gives workshops clowning for managers, employees or other participators of industrial, cultural and service institutions. His motto: "fitness with your laugh muscles"!
The Clown, from Heart to Heart
Ton’s wonderful book on clowning has tons of ideas for a new clown and, most importantly, it emphasizes that clowning is about loving.
Great book. Well done! I am very glad you wrote this book because we don't have many clown's books and yours is a huge collaboration for everyone interested in the subject.
Angela de Castro
I find it so wonderful. It is with great pleasure as I read and re-read your book, I keep finding pearls of wisdom in it.
To my good clown friends: This is a fantastic book you MUST HAVE for your clown library. Ton has poured out so much love and wisdom into this book, I was deeply moved, and inspired. I have read dozens of books on clown history, method, and technique, but none has taught me a fraction of what I received in this book. Email this clown and get a copy of your own.
In this book I try to cover the essence of clowning and the typical characteristics of a clown. I take the reader by the hand to discover the type of clown that shines from within himself or herself.
The book offers instructions and techniques for clowning in front of an audience. It has a practical approach, as it contains 25 inspiring exercises that will help improve playing and improvising as a clown. Moreover, it is illustrated with colourful drawings and pictures.
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In the various courses that I give, always one topic is crucial: be ( and thus play ) yourself. The clown is a very human person with a lot of defaults but also with a lot of strength. The trick is to spot your special qualities and use them as the stake of your clowning. Of course in order to show yourself to the public you need to enlarge certain character traits, but in essence we stay who we are and we will not go into acting.
I work primarily with exercises that are very practically orientated. You are encouraged to experience in the ‘here and now’ what you feel and how to express those feelings towards an audience.
My key topics are:
- Silent clowning
- Making real contact and being attentive and sensible
- Performing on the streets
- Performing on stage
A workshop clowning usually takes two to three hours (depending on the amount of participants) and is fit for all layers of industry and for cultural and service institutions. The meetings are meant for teambuilding, warm-up or as a special contribution to several trainings (like for instance communication and presentation techniques).
The workshop always starts with two important items. One: the reassurance of the participants – nobody has to be afraid that he or she must act funny. Relax and be yourself. Two: a good warm-up. After that everybody is loose and off we go!
The clown-exercises are easy and varied and mostly accompanied by cheerful music – and by myself as a very enthusiastic accompanist. I immensely enjoy seeing the energy and joy that springs from all the members!
This clown is a clown from the heart, who tries to reach people by connecting with positive and inspiring energy.
He does not speak, only with his eyes. He is a clown in the old tradition of Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton and Harry Langdon. He is very sensible and vulnerable, therefore opening himself to the crowd.
Clown Toef travels around with a big trunk on which he sits most of the time, looking at people and responding to what he sees. He is amazed by their diversity and he is very comprehensive as far as their shortcomings is concerned, as he himself is rather incomplete as well. Here we see a clown as the people’s jester, a funny mirror of our human peculiarities!
By the way - You can look at OPTREDENS for live images...