This group practiced pratfalls earlier. Now they divide into smaller groups to write sketches. After 15 minutes, they return to act them out.

In one, a girl buys a folding chair. She offers it to the others at auction. One wins, but the others aren't ready to concede defeat.

In turn, each plops down in the chair, gets shoved off, does a comic clown roll and returns to bicker some more. It becomes a tapestry of motion.

In the end, the bidders knock each other to the floor. The seller shrugs, picks up the chair and leaves. The others make faces of surprise, then exit in a "clown chase." The laughs are loud and long.

Taking a bow

The campers were to hone their skills Wednesday, enjoy a "pie-in-the-face day" Thursday and put on their own circus Friday, with each doing a solo using his or her best skill.

They may not have been assembling the Greatest Show on Earth, but judging by their progress the first two days, they were putting together something special.

"Above all, it's empowering to each person to get a moment in the spotlight," Rosman said.

Even Tuesday's class offered a preview. At one point, Rosman clapped his hands and drew everyone together in a circle.

"We're going to do something fun," he said.

"Fun? At Clown Camp?!" Lohr asked, his eyebrows rising.

The boss "volunteered" three students to display what they'd learned.

One was Cameron Orner, the juggler from Arnold. He stepped to center stage, took a deep breath and picked up three beanbags. He flipped one in the air, then two, then got three up and moving. He kept them aloft for five, six, then seven seconds.

Then his hands started moving faster, the pattern dissolved, and the balls fell to the floor. But he didn't let his error linger.

He waited a beat, put on a big smile, and took an exaggerated bow. "Ta-daaa!" he cried. And Circus Camp 2011 burst into wild applause.

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