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Regarding Sigfrido Aguilar by: Steve Smith

            I am writing this letter of recommendation on behalf of my former teacher and constant source of inspiration, Sigfrido Aguilar.

            I first met Sigfrido in 1971 when I was a student at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. Our association went beyond the boundaries of that three-ring venue, and much of what I have accomplished in my career is due to his guidance and counsel. I have already written a letter outlining our relationship. Now I would like to give you a few examples of how this incredible man has helped shape the world of clowning and physical theater.

            Mr. Ron Jenkins, who was a fellow student with me when we studied with Sigfrido in Mexico in 1973, has gone on to author three books: “Acrobats Of The Soul”, “Subversive Laughter” and “Dario Fo and Franca Rame-Artful Laughter”. He has translated and directed the work of world renowned Dario Fo on several occasions. Mr. Jenkins is currently Professor, Chair and Artistic Director of Wesleyan University Theatre Department.

            Mr. Rob Torres, (who was a student of mine at Clown College in 1991) studied with Sigfrido in 1997, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007. He is an amazing physical comedian who, this year, was the recipient of the Budapest International Circus Festival’s ‘Bronze Award’ for his clown performance.

            Mr. Drew Richardson, who worked with Sigfrido in 1989, is a brilliant clown, who is the first person in the 21st Century to make new, short, silent movies in the tradition of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd,

            Ms. Karen Hoyer, who was a staff member of mine during my time at Clown College, has studied and collaborated with Sigfrido on several occasions, in 1991 and again in 1996. Karen is a sensitive, soulful teacher who knows how to bring out the best in her students, and who still practices what she teaches by performing whenever she can.

            There are many more examples of individuals who have been touched, impacted and inspired by Sigfrido Aguilar. But, like dropping a pebble into a pond, the ripple effect of his works and teachings have spread throughout the globe. His influence on the Clown World is immeasurable. And because all of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Sigfrido treasure him dearly, he is also irreplaceable. He has the talent of a genius, and the humility of a Monk. And, because his child-like spirit embraces everything around him, it is as if he is giving a huge, collective hug to humanity through his work and his life.
            Without reservation or pause, I recommend Sigfrido Aguilar to you in the highest possible terms for whatever endeavors he wishes to explore.

            Sincerely,            Steve Smith


June 6, 2007

Dear Erendira Award Committee,

I am writing to you on behalf of Maestro Sigfrido Aguilar. I have known, studied and worked with Sigfrido since 1997.

He came highly recommended to me by my colleagues at Ringling Bros. Clown College. Since 1997 I have had the pleasure of studying and exploring abstract pantomime, clown theatre, and improvisation under the direction of Sigfrido. His guidance has helped me create unique pieces that have been performed for the past ten years worldwide. I have had the opportunity to perform these pieces at Lincoln Center, NYC, International Mime festivals including Festival International de Pantomima in Puebla, and various theaters through Europe. I have received three invitations to perform with Cirque Du Soleil, all of this is due to the work of Sigfrido.

Sigfrido is truly a gift to this performing world. His knowledge and direction in the field of movement theatre, improvisation, mime, and clown are invaluable to us all. This part of the performing arts, as you know, is a cornerstone to the theatre as ballet is a cornerstone to dance.
Very few people have the abilities and depth in performance and teaching as Sigfrido. His mixture of traditional techniques of movement and improvisation along with his use of traditional styles of Mexican culture (music, stories, history, etc.) has given us all a truly unique artist, teacher, and creator. His passion and efforts to keep this art form alive has had immeasurable impact on the theatre arts. I have met many artists in my travels who have created amazing pieces of theatre using his method. Their collective performances over time have impacted millions of people around the world.

It gives me great pleasure to write you this letter of recommendation for Maestro Sigfrido Aguilar. I hope you will strongly consider him for the Erendira Award.

Warmest Regards, Robert J Torres


"México, D.F. julio 25 de 1979.

Sigfrido Aguilar, director del

Estudio Búsqueda de Pantomima-Teatro A.C.

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.

Tenemos antecedentes de la brillante labor que viene desarrollando ese Estudio Búsqueda de Pantomima-Teatro A.C. que con tanto éxito dirige usted en esa ciudad. Reciba una calurosa felicitación por los beneficios que su Estudio Búsqueda aporta a la Cultura Teatral de nuestro país."


José Solé, Director de la Dirección de Teatro del INBA.

Alejandro Bichir, Jefe del Departamento de Teatro Foráneo.



 


"I consider Sigfrido Aguilar to be one of the most important artists not only in Mexico but on the international level in the field of movement theatre. His work as a master teacher and director is noted throughout North America and elsewhere in the world. Mr. Aguilar has influenced generations of Mexican and American performers and teachers since the early 1970’s. His work is visionary, socially constructive, and culturally elevating. The internationally recognized Estudio Busqueda de Pantomima-Teatro A.C. is vitally important to the professional education of Mexican artists."


James Donlon, Director of Movement

Professional Actor Training Program.

Department of Dramatic Art, University of California, Santa Barbara - USA.



 


"Sigfrido Aguilar’s Mime-Clown Theatre Workshop from May 30 - June 30, 1989.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do an in-depth study of creating clown-theatre with one of the master teachers of the twentieth century... Five full weeks of classes and rehearsals that will culminate into a fully produced ensemble performance."


Michael A. Pedretti, president and Artistic Director

Movement-Theatre International.

 


 


"Sigfrido Aguilar is a disarmingly quiet person who operates with modesty and persistence. In Sigfrido, I find a man of artistic sensitivity. He has personal integrity, tempered with a delightful sense of humor... Mr. Aguilar has been a valuable addition to the North Carolina School of the Arts. I commend his work to you."


Bob Francesconi, Acting Dean (1989)

School of Drama.

 


 


"Sigfrido y su grupo del Estudio Búsqueda de Pantomima-Teatro A.C. han recobrado la tradición de la pantomima y dentro de esta han innovado técnicas contemporáneas con las cuales presentan trabajos de calidad."


Luis de Tavira, director

Departamento de Actividades Teatrales de la UNAM (1982)

México, D.F.



 


"Sigfrido Aguilar more than lived up to his very impressive credentials and entirely fulfilled the faculty’s expectations. He is a superb teacher of movement theatre whose own artistry, coupled with his accomplished teaching technique, inspired wonderful work in our students. Their growth in technique and imagination was very evident in their performance work, both in the class presentations Sr. Aguilar devised and in departmental shows. Student evaluations of his work bore out what was already evident in the results: that he is an accomplished, motivating teacher."


Robert G. Egan, Departmental Chair (1988)

Department of Dramatic Art, University of California, Santa Barbara.



 


"What a revelation, then, was "OCUMICHO" in its conciseness, its essential imagery. The imagery centered on typically Mexican themes (festivals celebrating death) and more universal ones (the collaboration of big business and military to exploit the peasants). This viewer had the impression that the performers had a vested interest in what they were communicating to the audience, that it had some significance theatrically, yes, but also a significance that radiated beyond the theatre. ...Sigfrido Aguilar has always had a disarming simplicity and sincerity, about his teaching, about his person; it is satisfying to find it
now on the stage as well."


Thomas Leabhart, Editor

MIME JOURNAL, Pomona College Theater Department for

The Claremont Colleges - USA, november 1985


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