As a teen, André Clérin founded a semi-professional mime group. He later trained as an actor at John Abbott College. ln 1983, he created Paradox the Robot, an innovative robotic character that has fascinated the public, enabling the artist to obtain artistic recognition. He has performed at the International Cervantino Festival in Mexico and at the World Fairs of South Korea, Australia and Vancouver. He teaches in elementary and high schools as well as at the École de cirque de Québec. He participated in an innovative Art and Education program in Nicaragua on behalf of the Fondation Guy-Laliberté, the social department of Le Cirque du Soleil.
Creativity by means of movement, character and humour constitutes the heart of the workshop. This principle is well understood by the students who feel involved under this approach. The objective of the workshop is to stimulate the creativity of the participants while enabling them to Iive an experience of non-verbal communication so that they develop skills that will be expressed through small scenarios invented by the students. The possibility of creating and presenting a number leaves them with a feeling of achievement as well as greater self-esteem.
Examples of activities
Modem techniques and their traditional origins are demonstrated to the students including, for example, moon walks and their predecessors, the classic pantomime walks. Students experiment with pantomime, the puppet, the robot, slow motion, etc. They are encouraged to play with the techniques, to have fun and to create characters, movements and situations.
At the beginning of the workshop, the group is divided in two. Half of the students remain motionless like the salt statue of Étienne Decroux. The others observe those concentrating on standing still. The roles are then reversed. A motionless character fascinates the young people and people in general. This simple exercise not only enables participants to demystify this phenomenon but also to acquire control and awareness of the body in space.
The students, divided in teams of two or three, are then invited to create a short presentation in a style of their own. During this time, the teacher goes from group to group and encourages the participants to use their imagination in order to create a number which inspires them. The routines are then played in front of the class. A period of questions and comments on the presentations concludes this workshop.
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