I believe in laughter. I believe a good joke or funny story at least once a day that makes me laugh a little is a wonderful daily vitamin. It has been said that laughter is the best medicine, and I have certainly used it as such in my life. I’ve read that often the emotion that causes laughter is very similar to that which causes crying, and I felt this to be true at times as well. I’ve also been told that clowns are some of the saddest people and that all their make-up and shenanigans completely mask their true identity and feelings. I think there is some truth to this also.
I have always loved to laugh, as evidenced by the many snapshots of me as a child in funny costumes or poses. I don’t know that I’d have called myself the “class clown,” but I certainly could be counted on for finding a reason to laugh each day. I am a dancer and a dance teacher and in the world of arts and entertainment, a really good comedian is a rarity. As a student of choreography in college I tried hard to create deep, thoughtful work and, somehow, people always ended up laughing at something I did. Frustrated as I was, my teacher told me that many people TRY to be funny and do not succeed, and that if I could be successful without even trying that I ought to run with it. I took this advice to heart and it has served me well since.
My personality enjoys laughing and making people laugh. I use jokes when I teach to enable people to relax and not take themselves so seriously. When class is fun, students want to attend. I’ve had former students contact me having used my ideas in their own performance or in teaching to let me know that “it works!”
I believe in laughing as a reaction, as a release, as a protection and as a teaching tool. I believe one of the highest compliments I could ever be paid is to learn that something I did made someone laugh and, in so doing, helped them learn, remember, relax or otherwise react to a certain situation. Laughter is not always the appropriate response, as there is definite tragedy and suffering in our world. But I believe there is always a silver lining and, more than likely, also a rainbow-colored trim to things and I believe there will still be reason to laugh.
Noelle Partusch grew up in Las Cruces, NM, and was born in Lancaster, PA. She is currently in her seventh year as an Assistant Professor of Dance here at Mercyhurst. She currently serves as well as the faculty adviser for Mercyhurst’s Liturgical Dance Ensemble. She appreciates Mercyhurst’s close-knit community and the collegiality of its faculty, but also says the college’s coffee has always been wonderful.