Benjamin Domask | Circus Arts
Benjamin Domask | Circus Arts
Benjamin Domask is a performing artist who combines the skill and technique of juggling with the theory and philosophy of clown under the aesthetic of corporeal mime to create a unique blend of circus and theatre. He believes Juggling, Clowning, and Mime are three of the most stereotyped art forms and that the words conjure up clichéd images into our minds.
"We all have the ability to learn. I focus on each individual student’s strengths while identifying their areas of growth. I then utilize the proper teaching method I have acquired through my studies in Circus, Theatre, Sports, Dance, and Psychology that will best suit a student’s learning style. Sometimes all it takes is that little moment of understanding to create a big moment of growth.”
With the uses of his experience in Contemporary Circus and Physical Theatre, Benjamin strives to share a deeper understanding of these unique art forms. To learn we need to take our previous assumptions of an art form and set them aside. Then, from a historical, practical, and applicable viewpoint, we can gain an appreciation and understanding of these unique art forms.
Through Juggling, students learn the classic skill of juggling three balls but they also learn a modern viewpoint of a juggler as a manipulator: someone who connects with objects. Benjamin strives to expand this modern viewpoint of Juggling with his students by utilizing juggling to visualize the invisible force of music, connect and use a moving, dancing body, and utilize objects from a character’s point of view theatrically. He removes the stigma and appearance of Clown by engaging in classic and modern Clown exercises. These exercises explore the universal emotions humans share and explore the basic instinct of play we possessed as children.
"As a group we will then utilize these practices to create meaningful characters and theatrical scenes. Corporeal Mime is a form of movement based upon human behavior as researched by Etienne Decroux, who is widely known as the Father of Modern Mime. Decroux likened the learning of Corporeal Mime to the Actor as one would liken Ballet to the Dancer: essential. Through Mime we learn to control our body and learn the universal body language to express our innermost soul. Students learn the ability to clearly communicate non-verbally."
Benjamin has been involved in several theatre and performance art organizations including the Minnesota Thespian Conference, Circus Juventas, Superior School of Dance, and the International Clown Festival. He has studied Corporeal Mime with the apprentices of Etienne Decroux, who is regarded as the father of modern mime, at Theatre de l’Ange Fou in Spring Green, WI. Clowning with Audrey Crabtree (NY, NY); Juggling with Jay Gilligan (Sweden) and Sean Blue (Iceland); Play with Jon Ferguson (Minneapolis, MN); Dance with Sylvia Schourek-Frazier (Hancock, MI), and Mask with Robert Rosen (Minneapolis, MN). He has also performed in the Orlando and Kansas City Fringe Festival, where he was awarded ‘Best of Fringe’ in Kansas City.
Learn more about Benjamin in his January 2017 Artist Spotlight interview.
Sample Programs: Customizable To Site’s Needs
Why do people juggle? How do they learn to juggle? Can I juggle? Find out with this weeklong opportunity to take part in the ancient tradition of Juggling! Historically, jugglers are initiated through hands on (and off… and on again) learning that has been passed down from generation to generation. We will continue this tradition and then explore the current state of the world of juggling through online video. Finally, we breakdown how we interact with the objects in our lives (phones, plates, shoes, everything!) The end of the week results in our new jugglers creating a juggling sequence that is relevant to them.
We will utilize balls, clubs, rings, scarves, and everyday objects the jugglers bring to class.
Movement is essential to life! Mime is a study of human life and behavior through the movement of the human body. More specifically said: body language. Whenever we wave goodbye, shake hands, or make a face, we are doing mime! Each mover in this residency will study the history, future, and application of Mime. They will engage in activities designed to expand their understanding of the art form and themselves! First, we discuss moments in life where we communicate without language. Then, we explore classical techniques developed by the French mimes of the 19th century and explore the famous mimes and their abilities to entertain as well as enlighten. We end the week by finishing our Mime scenes as individuals or as a group and share with the class.
We will utilize the human body extensively from the feet to the head and everything in-between. If need be, we will explore props to enhance our ability to communicate.
The only cliché idea we will explore is the red nose! A clown is not a costume or face paint as we will learn in this highly playful and ridiculous week. We will engage in moments of intense play followed by introspection and emotional revelations. The week begins with a deconstruction of the stereotyped clown. We catapult into the games and exercises utilized by theatre professionals all around the world to unlock our inner ability to play. (The ability we all engaged in as children.) We move on to the construction of a clown scene and finish the week by presenting our newly crafted clown abilities with the class.
We will utilize any means necessary to get a laugh, a smile, a gasp, a reaction. Our main goal will be to create a lasting impression of good feelings on our audience. New clowns will walk away feeling invulnerable!
Introduction to Juggling: It May Save Your Life!
A simple introduction to the world of juggling. Come flick scarves, toss balls, balance clubs, spin plates, manipulate rings, and, most important, control your body! Juggling is more important than you realize.
Equipment/Space Needs - Space to move. (Not a gymnasium!)
Benjamin will strive to bring appropriate number of props. However, if school/organization should like each student to participate we can discuss where and what proper juggling materials can be purchased to ensure complete participation. (Example: 30 students properly juggling would require 90 balls.)
The World of the Clown: What It Is, Why It Is and How It Is
You may think you know what a clown is. Think again. We will go through the history of the clown, talk about a few famous clowns, realize how detrimental the word "clown" is, and play some of the greatest games imaginable! Students will walk away with fun memories, new skills, and a reminder that life is a continuous game! All you have to do is play.
Benjamin will bring a suitcase of props and accessories for new clowns to play with. Students are encouraged to bring items such as fun clothes, stuffed animals, objects that make them laugh and the like that could be utilized for play. (Toys, games, sport gear, etc.)
Introduction to Mime: Movement and Mind Make Moments
In this introductory workshop, students will be introduced to several schools of mime, given a brief history of the art form, and led in various mimetic games and exercises to raise awareness of the student’s body AND mind. Appropriate students include circus performers, theater students looking for an edge on their auditions, musicians who don’t want to look trapped by their instruments, and anyone interested in taking charades to the next level. New mimes will walk away with understanding how to better use their bodies to convey their inner thoughts and how to more effectively communicate with the world.
Equipment/Space Needs - Mirrors would be great! Adequate space for students to spread out and move.
Object Manipulation for Dancers
As dancers, we learn how to control our bodies in an abnormally above-average way. Through rhythm, precise body control, and emotional freedom, we can express our inner spirit. However, this is a self-contained experience. Filling up the stage as a solo-dancer can be difficult! Why not enlist the help of props? That’s right! I said props. Objects. Pieces of stage scenery that you pick up and manipulate. Through object manipulation, dancers are able to connect to the audience in a more immediate way. While most people have never done a grand jeté to express themselves, most have taken an object and thrown it. In this workshop, dancers will be introduced to techniques that allow them to become familiar with objects, undergo exercises and games to create dance specific manipulations, and walk away with the ability to apply any object into their dance.
Equipment/Space Needs - Mirrors would be great!
An Introduction to PLAY
Come learn how kids play in the circus, in the theatre, and all across the world! Participants will unleash their inner clown through playing games designed to make you laugh so hard, milk will come shooting out your nose! (Note: B.Y.O.M. [bring your own milk]) This workshop is good for anyone with energy to spare and for those that have always wanted to be silly and carefree but just haven’t had the chance.
Equipment/Space Needs - Mirrors would be great! *Do not bring your own milk.
Grasping for Air: The Art of Throwing, Falling, and Movement
Benjamin takes 45 minutes out of your day to redefine those terms we’ve all misunderstood for years: juggling, clowning, and mime. Audience members will be delighted by a unique display of objects and movement. Benjamin creates a sense of wonder, joy, and interaction that will inspire us to be more confident in our abilities as humans.