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Clown Course

Eight students complete Continuing Education's 'Clowning for Fun' class

by Sally Claunch
The Shorthorn staff

Eight students graduated Monday, but instead of wearing the usual cap and gown, they wore big baggy pants, floppy shoes and plastic flowers that spray water.

The students graduated from the Clowning for Fun course offered by the university's Continuing Education Department.

Rollin Phipps said that while the Clowning for Fun course is a departure from the usual classes offered by the university, it is one of the most popular offered by Continuing Education.

"At least it's different than computer skills and financial planning," said the Continuing Education Training Project Coordinator.

The eight graduates performed skits, magic acts and told jokes during the show.

Phipps said the class is offered twice a year and costs $60.

Instructor Susan Borg, who performs professionally as "Double Bubble," said that her duties as a clown are strenuous.

"I mostly party," she said.

Student Activities Director Mardie Sorensen came to the show and brought her two children Samantha, 5, and Scott, 2. Samantha was very suspicious of the magic acts. When one of the clowns made a scarf disappear, she had some doubts.

"It's up your sleeve," she said.

She was appeased, however, by a balloon flower made for her by Sonya "Puddin Head" Durden.

"Puddin Head" also made a balloon sword for Jonathan Hollingsworth, 8, who came to the show with his mother.

"This is a magic sword because it can't hurt anybody," said the clown.

Lisa "Toots" Lopez said the best part of the course was learning how to make balloon animals.

"I've only popped two so far," she said.

She said learning how to juggle was very difficult.

Michelle "Puppy Love" Fieldhouse also said the juggling was not easy, but so far, she hadn't had any injuries from falling pins.

"I only know how to juggle scarves," she said.

None of the clowns attempted to juggle during the show.

Fieldhouse said becoming a clown was the most fun she'd ever had, but she wasn't doing it for money.

"It's a blast," she said. "I'm going to perform at a lot of charity events."

Borg said the clowns learned how to perform magic, put on makeup, develop their characters, puppeteer and juggle. The clowns provided their own makeup and costumes.

Shelli "Pogo" Walker said putting on the makeup, big baggy pants and floppy shoes was time-consuming.

"It takes me about an hour and a half for the whole thing," she said.

For more information on Clowning for Fun and other courses offered by Continuing Education call 272-2581.

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The University of Texas At Arlington

Box 19038
Arlington, TX 76019-0038

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