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BIOGRAPHY

Iman Lizarazu

Iman Lizarazu was born in a small village in the Basque region of France, where her family has lived for over 800 years.

Iman’s early years were spent in both the Basque Country in the southwest of France and in Moscow, where her father worked with the Bolshoi Ballet. She first performed on stage at age six as the Mouse in the Nutcracker. Here she began her training in classical ballet, and received a strong foundation in ballet and choreography. During these years, Iman was most often at the Moscow Circus training gym, learning circus arts from a bygone era.

As a teen in Dresden, Germany, she studied at the Circus School and continued honing her juggling skills. Iman tested into Die Technische Hochschule Dresden without attending formal high school. There she majored in Medizin Technik, (but didn’t enjoy seeing blood), so switched her major to Physics and Math. After two years, she went to Moscow and studied at the Lomonosov University. Iman went on to earn a PhD in Astrophysics with Honors from the Max Plank Institute in Munich in 1995. When she graduated, the faculty mused "the fresh wind had left the institute, when Iman completed her PhD."

Iman has been active in Clowns Without Borders since it’s inception in 1993, when she volunteered in refugee camps in Kosovo, Bosnia. In ’93 she also went to St. Petersburg and Georgia to perform in orphanages as well as teach. Her other Clowns Without Borders work includes performing and teaching in Cuba in ’97, ’98, and ’99 and teaching and helping to establish the first circus school on the east coast of Africa in Nairobi. She also worked with Doctors Without Borders in hospitals in Somalia in 2009. She was performing and teaching in Haiti in 2010, and performing in California state prisons in 2012.

Iman is co-owner and co-creator of Renegade Juggling, where she and her partner have made juggling equipment for 25 years.

Although a person of many languages, as a mime Iman is silent. She is passionate about clowning and dedicates her time and considerable energy to exploring and honing her craft. She has performed in Tandy Beal and Company’s Mixed Nutz!: the Nutcracker REMixed to glowing reviews. Wallace Baine of the Santa Cruz Sentinel says: “Weaving through the architecture of the "Nutcracker" story is a collection of amazing performers including Iman Lizarazu, the multi-talented juggler/clown who serves as the show's "narrator" though she has no lines.”

Iman studied at the School of Mime with Marcel Marceau, and with Masters Julie Goell and Avner the Eccentric. This background helped her blend her training with her rich cultural background, resulting is a compelling, intoxicating show.

After four decades of training her capable and expressive physique, Iman has created an engaging 75-minute solo show entitled "Basquette Quese". This entertaining portrayal of a character suffering from insomnia takes us through one night, with a series of mesmerizing and gravity-defying vignettes. Iman’s intelligence, passion to perform, and deep range of techniques have come together to create an amazing, tender and insightful clown character. As always, there is a provocative soundtrack to propel the story, composed by Jon Scoville and Les Yeux Noir.


Euskal Herria!

Map of Basque Region

Iman was born in a small village in the Basque region of France where her family has lived for 800 years. She is widely travelled and speaks English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. Click the map above to learn more about Iman's Basque heritage, of which she is fiercely proud.

© Iman Lizarazu 2006,2008 Original site design by Kimberly Parrish and Zev Eisenberg