Jump rope champion Rene Bibaud of West Seattle teaches P.E. instructor Derek Severson of Midway School in Des Moines a tricky maneuver. She joined professional magician and juggler Louie Foxx of Des Moines and puppeteer and comedian Eric Haines of Everett to promote reading to an assembly of kids. They attributed many of their talents to skills they learned in books. CLICK ON PHOTO FOR SLIDESHOW.
SLIDESHOW: Magician, puppeteer, & jump rope champ promote reading
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Over 600 students assembled in the Midway Elementary School gym Tuesday afternoon to enjoy three professional entertainers who brought puppets, jump ropes, and an assortment of magic wands. But they had something more up their sleeves, an important message to share. They explained that their interest in entertainment was sparked, and their talents developed thanks to reading books.
The entertainers included magician, juggler, and inventor Louie Foxx from Des Moines. The Highline Times featured his recent Tin Theater performance here.
Louie's daughter, Midway School second-grader Ella even got into the act, assisting Dad and wooing their pet rat, Daisy, into standing on its hind legs and doing a rope trick to the delight of her schoolmates. Her stage name is "Miss Ella", and she seemed to love the attention and work the crowd like the best of them.
Also performing were two of Louie's colleagues, world jump rope champ, coach, and motivator Rene Bibaud of West Seattle who performed two rapid routines, and comedian, juggler, stilt walker, and one-man-band performer Eric Haines from Everett who introduced his little friend, monkey marionette, Giuseppe.
"We're doing a motivational reading assembly and I'm going to show the kids all the cool things they can learn from reading, cool things I've learned about magic," Louie Foxx told the West Seattle Herald before the performance. "I'm an avid reader. Because I read a lot I'm able to do all the stuff I do. Every year I read over 50 books and over 200 magazines. I do some Kindle, some paper. The nice thing about Kindle is that I can have a 'ton of books' in my car and it doesn't take up a lot of room.
"By learning about bubbles from a book I broke a Guiness World Record," he added. Last November 17 he beat his previous world record for "Most Bounces of a Soap Bubble". His record of 88 bounces increased to 107 in front of 300 kids and teachers at Peter G Schmidt Elementary in Tumwater. "I also learned an act from a book that got me on America's Got Talent."
Like father, like daughter, as Ella also loves to read.
"She just read two Diary of a Whimpy Kid books in less than a week," her dad said proudly.
Foxx told the audience, "A magician came to my school when I was five and I thought it was the neatest thing in the world. I decided that day, for my job, I was going to do magic tricks, and how did I learned to do them? From books. My mom took me to the library and helped me read them. Quite often when I set up, a kid will come up to me and say, 'You're not really magical'. And I'm not. I do magic tricks, illusions that I learned from books."
Rene Bibaud of West Seattle
"If you want to learn what I do, there is a book that my coach wrote called Rope Skipping for Fun and Fitness," said Bibaud. It's author is Bob Melson. One of her records is jumping rope 756 times in two minutes. She has appeared on Jay Leno, the Today Show, Good Morning America, and toured with Cirque du Soleil four and a half years worldwide.
"I am here to share with you a great way to have fun and stay in shape," she said. "In 1980 when I was in fifth grade a jump rope team came to my school. They wore matching uniforms and did all these cool jump rope moves. They started a jump rope team in my school called Hot Dogs. At first I wasn't on the team. Then the next year the coach said he would choose those who gave it their best effort. He wanted us to work at our own pace.
"I was the only girl in 6th grade to make the Hot Dog team," she said. "The coach said, 'Rene may not be good right now but she's got the right attitude. She'll get better.' I did."
"I make puppets, and perform with puppets," Haines told the audience before Giuseppe appeared. "And, as Louie has been saying, when I bought some books I found out that there is a particular kind of puppet you work with strings, a marionette."
We don't know if Giuseppe is a book worm, but he may contain one. Haines tells us he made Giuseppe from wood.
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