EDITION: October - December '08

ERIC DE BONT THE MAN BEHIND A RED CLOWN NOSE

Carmen Cereceda










Following a dream, the magic of destiny and love at first sight, it is now a decade since this 51-year-old Dutchman, with his mischievous eyes and kind smile, settled in Ibiza.




“I worked like crazy in Holland. I acted, directed and ran a theatre.” – Finally he was so burned out that he didn’t go on the stage for two years. During this time of reflection, he consolidated an old dream: to create a clown school in Mediterranean Spain.

He travelled the Andalusian and Catalan coasts searching for the right place, to no avail. Back in Holland he received a phone call, and by destiny’s whim he ended up helping someone in Ibiza who gratefully invited him to discover the island. “I arrived in May, went to Cala Vadella... and fell in love with the place and with a white house on the hill.” He started looking for premises, enquiring after the old cinema which turned out to be too expensive for him, and he decides to first find a house to live in. The owner of the old cinema has a house for rent, in Cala Vadella, which turns out to be the same one he fell in love with. Soon “his place” appears and he offers his first course at Bont’s International Clownschool.












What is your focus in teaching “clown”?
“The answer I give my students: I teach people in order to learn myself; without limits, from the heart and in constant motion to improve the quality of the human being.”

Bont’s Clownschool is today a worldwide reference, to which students come from all five continents with the common interest of learning clown techniques from one of the greatest masters. Gathering under the same roof people with such marked differences related to culture, language and social class, creates a magical atmosphere that can be felt just by visiting the school. The courses are offered between October and June, divided into four seminars, to a total capacity of 22 students and one scholarship.







At the same time, and sharing the same space in the school, De Bont creates “for the people of Ibiza, so that locals here have an alternative, can try something different” a not-for-profit association, which he calls La República Independiente del Fracaso (“Independent Republic of Failure”). Here cultural activities are carried out, courses are offered and themed nights are organised, such as the now-famous Witches’ Night (Noches de Brujas), in which the




audience is invited to participate, spontaneously, flowing, forgetting hang-ups, fears and embarrassment; in order to experience the freedom of being oneself again or of creating a character. It’s well worth going to one of these “Witches’ Nights”, to be a child again, with the innocence and freedom that we once enjoyed and that today’s society we live in has reduced to the farthest corners of our mind, from where it fights to arise sometimes. It is not group therapy, nor the substitute to your therapist, but it is a fun way to let out what we have inside. Everyone is welcome to come and spend an unusual evening of the weekend, in which creativity and fun are guaranteed.









They also organise “Story-telling Nights” (Cuenta Cuentos) and other types of magical evenings. Also in October several courses start, e.g. Clown for adults, Story-telling, Contact Improvisation, Facial expression, Caracters on stage.







Text: Carmen Cereceda










Following a dream, the magic of destiny and love at first sight, it is now a decade since this 51-year-old Dutchman, with his mischievous eyes and kind smile, settled in Ibiza.




“I worked like crazy in Holland. I acted, directed and ran a theatre.” – Finally he was so burned out that he didn’t go on the stage for two years. During this time of reflection, he consolidated an old dream: to create a clown school in Mediterranean Spain.

He travelled the Andalusian and Catalan coasts searching for the right place, to no avail. Back in Holland he received a phone call, and by destiny’s whim he ended up helping someone in Ibiza who gratefully invited him to discover the island. “I arrived in May, went to Cala Vadella... and fell in love with the place and with a white house on the hill.” He started looking for premises, enquiring after the old cinema which turned out to be too expensive for him, and he decides to first find a house to live in. The owner of the old cinema has a house for rent, in Cala Vadella, which turns out to be the same one he fell in love with. Soon “his place” appears and he offers his first course at Bont’s International Clownschool.












What is your focus in teaching “clown”?
“The answer I give my students: I teach people in order to learn myself; without limits, from the heart and in constant motion to improve the quality of the human being.”

Bont’s Clownschool is today a worldwide reference, to which students come from all five continents with the common interest of learning clown techniques from one of the greatest masters. Gathering under the same roof people with such marked differences related to culture, language and social class, creates a magical atmosphere that can be felt just by visiting the school. The courses are offered between October and June, divided into four seminars, to a total capacity of 22 students and one scholarship.







At the same time, and sharing the same space in the school, De Bont creates “for the people of Ibiza, so that locals here have an alternative, can try something different” a not-for-profit association, which he calls La República Independiente del Fracaso (“Independent Republic of Failure”). Here cultural activities are carried out, courses are offered and themed nights are organised, such as the now-famous Witches’ Night (Noches de Brujas), in which the




audience is invited to participate, spontaneously, flowing, forgetting hang-ups, fears and embarrassment; in order to experience the freedom of being oneself again or of creating a character. It’s well worth going to one of these “Witches’ Nights”, to be a child again, with the innocence and freedom that we once enjoyed and that today’s society we live in has reduced to the farthest corners of our mind, from where it fights to arise sometimes. It is not group therapy, nor the substitute to your therapist, but it is a fun way to let out what we have inside. Everyone is welcome to come and spend an unusual evening of the weekend, in which creativity and fun are guaranteed.









They also organise “Story-telling Nights” (Cuenta Cuentos) and other types of magical evenings. Also in October several courses start, e.g. Clown for adults, Story-telling, Contact Improvisation, Facial expression, Caracters on stage.







Text: Carmen Cereceda