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Physicality and Performing Arts Festival
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MotionFest Workshop Instructors
Below is a list of the instructors and lecturers teaching at MotionFest West 2003 in Reno. There is a possibility more instructors will be added. If so, they will be listed as soon as they're confirmed.

MotionFest strives to bring together the most incredible collection of available teachers. These are working professionals of our industry. Occasionally their schedules change on short notice. Those changes can affect our roster and when they do, we are both disappointed and also excited to bring in incredible replacements.


Instructor Listings are subject to change... Keep checking in...

To jump directly to an instructor's bio, follow the links. More bios and photos to follow soon!!!
bulletAvner - Newbie performer with good potential
bullet Karl Baumann  - character/dancer/acrobat
bullet Peter Davison - Master of movement and object manipulation
bullet Ronlin Foreman - Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre
bulletScott Meltzer - Self-described Comedy Writing "Genius"
bulletRobert Nelson -aka The Butterfly Man, world famous street performer
bullet Kenny Raskin - Lead clown, Cirque du Soleil - Nouvelle Experience
bulletJeff Raz - Complete modern vaudevillian
bullet Joanie Spina - Performer/Dancer and Choreographer for Magicians
bulletTodd Strong - Former teacher, French National Circus School

 

avner Avner
Avner Eisenberg was described by New York Magazine as "a clown for the thinking man". His show Avner the Eccentric was a hit of the 1984-1985 Broadway season. He appeared on Broadway in Ghetto and The Comedy of Errors, but he is probably best known for his portrayal of the scene stealing holy man in the film The Jewel of the Nile.

Avner continues to tour his one-man show internationally and has won awards at the Edinburgh Festival, the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival, and the Festival Internacional de Pallassos in Barcelona. He won the first prize at the Arosa Humor Festival in Switzerland.

He recently won the "Snow Star" for comedy in Switzerland, and the "Lachmesse" award in Germany. Avner starred as Vladimir in Waiting for Godot at the Portland Stage Company. Avner studied with Jacques Lecoq from 1971-1974.


Karl Baumann
Dancer/choreographer Karl Baumann certainly fulfilled our high expectations when he flew in at the last minute to replace a late cancellation at the first MotionFest. Taking into account his years of experience as a featured perfomer/dancer with Cirque du Soleil and Momix, it's easy to understand how he could deliver a stellar performance on such short notice.

Is it fair to say he raised the bar even higher by conducting an
electrifying, kick-ass workshop on group and individual movement the next day? Ask any of the dozens of excited participants who were fortunate to be on hand as he shared his delightful sense of wonder and exploration.

We wanted Karl back for the next MotionFest. Unfortunately, his busy schedule with Cirque du Soleil, as well as appearing in music videos and television spots (both for North America and Europe) prevented him from attending.  Fortunately, he has time for this year's MotionFest at Reno.

If you move on stage (and we all do), you will want to take one of Karl's workshops.

 

 

Peter Davison

Peter is a multi-disciplinary performer working with juggling, dance and monologue. He began as a teenage street performer in Los Angeles in the late '70s. In 1982, he won first place at the National Juggling Championships and became a founding member of the trio Airjazz. With Airjazz, Peter has toured internationally and appeared on numerous TV shows such as the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Peter has taught movement workshops at the national circus schools of Quebec and France under the direction of Guy Caron (one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil), at Celebration Barn Theater in Maine, and at the Lecoq Theater Program of Naropa University in Colorado. Working primarily as a solo performer since 1991, he has toured his show Up in the Air  nationally and was featured on Harry Anderson's CBS special The Tricks of his Trade. Peter's new one-man show, A View from the Moon, a dance/theater piece based on four famous insane artists, was produced in October at the California Performing Arts Festival. Peter lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two children.

Ronlin Foreman

Ron trained with Jacques Lecoq and at the Valley Studio in Wisconsin.
His solo clown shows have been presented all over the U.S. and
internationally, including The Actors Theatre of Louisville and the International Movement Theatre Festival.  He has received Solo Artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and has directed nationally and internationally.

As a Master Teacher, he has been at Dell'Arte since 1985; he has taught clowning to first year students as well as given Masters Workshops and directed ensemble productions.

meltzer Scott Meltzer
Scott Meltzer
is the head writer and chief performer for Comedy Industries. He has degrees in math and computer science from U. C. Berkeley where he graduated with honors. An ex-IBMer and a Watson Scholar, he chooses to spend his time juggling knives on a six foot unicycle. He has performed at more comedy clubs, trade shows, and corporate events than any other computer programmer in the world.

In addition to his performing skills, Scott has written commercials for radio, computer code for database systems, interviews for professional wrestling and over two hundred scripts for trade shows, training sessions and other corporate events. Scott has also taught comedy writing since 1991.

Scott started performing as a child actor at the age of 10 with the award winning San Jose Children's Musical Theater alongside such future stars as Charley McGowan, Paula Benedetti, Megan Hart, Paula Mulcahey, and Eilana Lappalainen.

In college, Scott met John Park and together they formed the American Dream Comedy Team. They won first place in The San Francisco Street Performers' Festival, an honor which led to lucrative bookings in Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia. These first international shows led to further bookings back on the streets of San Francisco. Oh well.

After graduating in 1986, Scott and John became the featured act in the glitzy Las Vegas revue "Splash." They moved on to "Superstars and Stripes" in Atlantic City where they received rave reviews. This critical acclaim led them to even greater success back on the streets of San Francisco. Oh well.

Joe Lake, producer of the Children's Miracle Network Telethon, gave Scott and John their first national television exposure. The show went so well that Scott appeared with John (and later with Rich) for nine straight years on CMN telethons. Eventually the glamorous whirlwind that is telethon television spat them out like a used Kleenex, and Scott and Rich returned to the streets of San Francisco. Sigh.

Scott has never forgotten his roots as a street performer, probably because he was constantly being reminded of them. However, now that he has created Comedy Industries, he has left the streets for good. At least for now.

 

nelsonRobert Nelson
(The artist formerly known as Butterfly Man) A former research chemist at Vanderbilt University, Robert Nelson quit the world of science to pursue a dream of making people laugh, and has never looked back. Mr. Nelson first metamorphosed into his Butterfly Man character in 1978 while performing at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Soon after, he indelibly affirmed his commitment to performing by getting his now famous butterfly tattoos.

This veteran stage entertainer and busker has been traversing the globe ever since. Repeatedly voted the most popular performer at San Francisco's legendary Pier 39, he also has won numerous international performing competitions.

Still going strong after 20 years onstage, he observes, "You really have to love people to keep this up." Mr. Nelson, also a writer and actor, lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Kumi.

Kenny Raskin

Kenny Raskin has made a name for himself as a leading physical comedy performer of the New Vaudeville movement. He originated the role of Lefou, the comic sidekick of the villain Gaston, in the Broadway production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Before coming to Broadway, Kenny also starred as the lead clown Everyman in Cirque du Soleil's Nouvelle Experience, and recently filmed a 3D IMAX film with Cirque du Soleil entitled Journey of Man.

In addition, he appeared as the Vaudeville Comedian in critically acclaimed director Barry Levinson's latest film, Liberty Heights. Before joining Cirque du Soleil, Kenny performed his one man show The Audition in theatres, universities and festivals throughout the United States and television shows in Europe and South America, delighting audiences with a unique blend of theatrical pieces and clown characters. The San Francisco Chronicle called him "a stunning virtuoso." In the spirit reminiscent of the great old silent clowns, Kenny explores the comic possibilities inherent in seemingly simple tasks. He injects an infectious sense of play into his performances, creating a true two way street between his audiences and himself.

Kenny has also served as an adjunct faculty member in the theatre departments at Boston University, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, New York University, and at Emory University, where, in the fall of 1999, he produced, directed and performed in A Fool's Festival: The Last Laugh Before the Millenium. He also teaches clowning and physical comedy workshops and retreats across the United States as part of actor training programs.

 

raz Jeff Raz
Jeff Raz is a professional playwright, actor, clown, director, consultant and teacher living in Alameda, California. He is a graduate of Dell' Arte School of Physical Theater and a veteran of the Dell' Arte Players Co., Vaudeville Nouveau and Make*A*Circus. As a performer, Mr. Raz has played on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally, specializing in a wide range of material from Shakespeare to circus.

His credits include Comedy of Errors at Lincoln Center, N. Y., which was televised nationally on PBS, Servant of Two Masters at Berkeley Repertory Theater, the title role in La Bete at TheatreWorks and Midsummer Night's Dream at the Marin Shakespeare Festival, winner of the Bay Area Drama Critics Circle's Play of the Year of 1994. For almost a decade he has worked with Diane Wasnak in the acrobatic clown duet, Pino & Razz, at the core of the New Pickle Circus. In the mid 80's, Mr. Raz was the founder and artistic director of the San Francisco New Vaudeville Festival that featured hundreds of artists and was captured in two Disney Channel specials.

In addition, he has written 10 plays. He has taught at Ringling Bros. Clown College, S.F. State University and is currently the director of the Professional Clown Conservatory at the S.F. School of Circus Arts and the Lead Teaching Artist at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley, CA.

Joanie Spina
As principal performer, choreographer, and artistic consultant to David Copperfield for 11 years, Joanie Spina redressed the ancient art of magic with a flair of the caliber of Broadway and Hollywood productions. Critics worldwide note that the results of her collaboration with the world's most respected conjurer raised the stature of magic to new heights in the eyes of the public and ensured the viability of the art form into the 21st century.

An acclaimed solo performer, Spina mesmerizes audiences as she infuses magic with a gamut of emotions ranging from romantic mystery to whimsical fantasy. These results invariably lead to unadulterated amazement. It is through her work as a single performer that audiences gain insight into the depth and range of this one-woman tour de force.

Las Vegas is very familiar with Joanie as she has performed at two world-famous hotels, Caesar's Palace and the Riviera Hotel in their lavish showrooms. She also co-starred in her own show with Becky Blaney, the critically acclaimed "Women of Magic," at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City


Todd Strong
Todd was the juggling teacher at the National Circus School of France and Die Etage circus school in Berlin. Todd is the author of several books on juggling-related skills: "The Devil Stick Book", "The Diabolo Book", "Diabolo für Fortgeschrittene", and "The Dice Stacking Book". Visit Perceptual Motion, Todd's web page.