Sideshow School and Burlesque Master Class


Sideshow Skills

Learn Ancient Skills from the Very Best in the Business! Have you ever dreamed of running away with the circus? Did anyone ever call you a freak? Well, now's your chance to become one! At Coney Island USA's Sideshow School, you can learn how to hammer a 20-penny nail right into your skull and then paint a banner trumpeting your new career!  You'll work with Professa Adam Realman to learn the ins and outs of the working acts of the sideshow.

The complete list of acts taught:
The Basics of Fire Eating and Breathing and Fire Safety
Human Blockhead
The Fundamentals of Sword Swallowing
Bed of Nails
Stunts with Various Traps
Glass Walking
Blade Box
Electric Chair
Snake Care

2019 classes: To be Announced

Tuition: $1500.  

For inquiries about the class, email adam(at) YOU MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER TO ATTEND THE SIDESHOW SKILLS SESSION. This class is limited to 10 students to ensure proper student to instructor ratio. Deadline for registration is August 1. The Coney Island Sideshow School reserves the right to cancel this session, if a minimum of five students, are not registered by the deadline. Registered students will be notified if the session is cancelled and a full refund will be issued. 

Classes in individual skills will not be offered. You must sign up for the entire session.

Burlesque Master Class 

There's no burlesque class in the world like the Coney Island Master Class Series! Spend six weeks with the author of The Burlesque Handbook, Headmistress Jo Weldon of the New York School of Burlesque, while she teaches you how to create a themed burlesque number the Coney Island way. This unique class is taught in the Museum at CIUSA. You'll learn how to come up with ideas, pick the best possible music, bring together a costume on a budget, how to make pasties, and how to twirl tassels -- taught in front of funhouse mirrors!

You'll develop your number and your choreography with an ace team of guest speakers, featuring many of the best burlesque performers in the world. Speakers TBA, but regular participants have included Dirty Martini, Angie Pontani, Gal Friday, Bambi the Mermaid, Fem Appeal, Tigger!, and many others at the top of the game. Best of all, you'll get to finish the series with a performance at the legendary Sideshows by the Seashore! There will be homework and video assignments to watch for discussion, related to class material. All styles of burlesque welcome, from performance art to peak glamour. Open to all genders.

Bring a notebook and a copy of The Burlesque Handbook to class, and wear clothing that allows you to move freely.

Registration is strictly limited. If class sells out, email to be added to the waitlist.

Summer 2019 Class - TBA

Tuition $295. 

Banner Painting 
2019 classes - TBA. You'll work with our artist-in-residence Marie Roberts, Coney Island Legacy and the only traditional banner painter working in Coney Island today, and discuss in the history and theory of Sideshow banners, while designing and executing your own. For inquiries, email: Marie Roberts bitterwonder(at)

All students must sign a "hold harmless" agreement to be distributed at the start of the first session. Please see each course description for details.

Watch a video about Sideshow School, from Seen in NY, below!

Sideshow Skills Testimonials:

"I have been so void and sick without your class, and ever since I left, my Tuesday life has no purpose. The sideshow by far and forward will be the most interesting thing I will do with my life! So somewhere you can find it in your heart to know, you’re responsible for giving me such the cool outlook, and what a time we had. I’m also thinking of taking the class again. I’ve been doing the human blockhead amazingly; it’s the most progressive act I’ve gotten into. For a brief period in my life, you've shown me the best, most interesting way I could be a hell of a lot powerful by being all-knowing of a craft. And people, people like me, do not forget that!!" Ariel K.

"Big thanks to you, Adam for being an amazing teacher! My only complaint about the class is that it has to end." Holly N.

"The class was so awesome. I had a great time; I pushed my limits, stretched my boundaries and really was inspired. You are a really terrific teacher. If I were your boss I would give you a raise. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to us all." Maxinne L.