Do You Have to be a Dancer to Make a Marionette Dance?

Tiny marionette dancing

Dancing Marionette at the feet of puppet master Ricky Syers

Last week I posted on Appalachian  dancing dolls and promised a follow up post on Dancing puppets.  Making a marionette look real is a real and fascinating art.  The dolls themselves are amazing works of art and the puppet masters are true masters of illusion.


When a puppet dances, does that mean a dancer is pulling the strings?  Well I haven’t met many people behind the puppets so I can’t answer for sure, but my guess is that it takes a dancer to make the doll respond to the music in a realistic way.


In this clip, the street puppeteer is standing in plain sight as he works his puppets to the music.  You can see him dancing along with them:

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The incredibly gifted Ricky Syers delights ever amazed crowds with his tiny marionettes in the streets of Manhattan.  His beautiful creations are constantly dancing to the music.  Sometimes the camera picks up on Ricky and you can see him swaying to the music as he maneuvers his little charges.


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As you can see, it’s possible to perform a mesmerizing dance where the audience can’t even see you.  And it’s possible to be in full sight where the audience doesn’t even notice you.  If you can make a doll dance with grace, charm, rhythm, and engaging personality, that, in my book, qualifies you as a dancer.


If you’d like to support the career of this gifted street performer, consider joining his kickstarter campaign on


by LaurieAnn Lepoff

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