By Kyle Petersen

By now, many of you are aware of Kenny “K-Strass” Strasser, the legendary yo-yo artist who has been preaching a message of environmentalism in schools around the country using his yo-yo skills. In the clip below, K-Strass demonstrates his signature move, the Blue Flying Angel. Watch below!

Want to learn the Blue Flying Angel? YouTube user elephark has posted his own tutorial. Now you too can become a yo-yo master just like K-Strass!



By Kyle Petersen

Brian and Lucky

Brian and Lucky, Separated at birth?

As an icon in the juggling community since the 1970s, Brian Dubé has received hundreds of correspondences over the years. Most of these letters have been from others within the juggling community: fans, friends, well-wishers, critics and complainers. Occasionally, however, the letters he receives are due to a case of mistaken identity.

Lucky Dube (1964-2007) was a South African reggae music legend who produced more than 20 records over his career which spanned three decades. Although we don’t know for sure, we are pretty sure he was not a juggler. He was, however, beloved by fans throughout the African continent and beyond.

One such fan, a boy named George from Ghana, sent a touching letter to Lucky Dube. However, in a case of mistaken identity, the letter ended up not in the hands of a reggae master but in the hands of a juggling equipment maker:

Dear Raggae Master,

I am very pleasure to write you this letter. I believe as I am writing to you you are fine by the grace of “JAH”.

The main point of this letter is to encourage you and also ple begging you to send me Raggae CD. (Cassette DVD).

I am a boy of twelve (12) years and I like music. My favorate mis music is Raggae business (LUKY DUBE song). Anytime I heard your song I became happy due to the way you song sing, the way you present the words.

I have meet and like many songs, but your’s is different. Please raggar master I need C.D. cassette to hear more from you or to learn more from you. I know by the grace name of JAH, you will bring.

MAY “JAH” BLESSED YOU AND YOUR FAMILY,

GOOD-BYE

2ND JANUARY 2004.

As of right now, Brian is not considering a career in reggae music.

Copy of the letter, as received


By Robin Hu
The Sundia Shining Diabolo is a technological marvel and has the potential to push the boundaries for diabolo. It is different from a normal diabolo because it has a ball bearing axle.  This ball bearing causes the axle to spin separately from the diabolo cups, giving the diabolo a longer and smoother spin.

Tricks are not necessarily easier on the Shining, but because the diabolo spins longer, you have more time to prepare for your tricks and more time to recover if things go awry.  A significant advantage is that it is nearly impossible to get the string to wound up with the diabolo, which is very common with a fixed axle.  You can also perform lengthier trick combos without having to stop and speed up the diabolo.

If you are an advanced diaboloist, then you may be interested in how the Shining runs with 2 diabolos on a string.  My recommendation if you are serious about learning 2 diabolos is to get a set of regular Sundia Suns; 2 diabolos with Shinings is much more difficult and you will learn faster with fixed-axle diabolos.

Overall, the Sundia Shining Diabolo is a quality prop, though I recommend a ball bearing axle as a supplement to a fixed axle diabolo, not a replacement.







    

By Kyle Petersen

Big Apple Circus

Big Apple Circus: Dance On

Since 1977, The Big Apple Circus has been a fixture in New York City. I first attended the Big Apple Circus on my fifth birthday, and going to the circus soon became a birthday tradition in my family. To be sure, Big Apple occupies a special place in my heart. It was where I was first introduced to the circus arts; the first place I saw a real juggler and a real unicyclist. Years later, I think back at the important role that Big Apple Circus played in my development as a variety artist.

On October 21st, Big Apple unveiled its 2010 offering: Dance On. The show features a strong cast of some familiar faces and impressive newcomers. Clown Hall-of-Famer Barry Lubin is back once again as the lovable Grandma the Clown. Rob Torres also contributes to the clowning with excellent comedic acts featuring shaker cups and hat manipulation. Ethiopian acro-juggler Girma Tshehai dazzled the audience by juggling up to six silicon juggling balls within a Michael Moschen-inspired large clear plastic diamond.

All contained within a one-ring, European style circus tent, the show also features the standard circus fair: A strong animal act, in which goats mounted and rode on ponies; a high-flying aerial act and back-bending contortion. The strongest performers, however, were the members of the Hebei Wuqiao Acrobatic Troupe.

The troupe performed a number of acts. Their acrobatic ultimate wheel display featured a few mistakes but demonstrated mind-blowing skills, including a back hand spring while riding an ultimate wheel. The troupe also provided the show’s closing number: an acrobatic wild-west style rope spinning act. Their act was a special delight, gracefully combining manipulation, equilibristics and acrobatics.

Dance On will play at Lincoln Center in New York City through January, after which it will tour the northeast. Go to http://www.bigapplecircus.org/ for more info.

PBS’s new documentary series Circus featuring performers from the Big Apple Circus primers this November. Take a look at the preview below!

Watch the full episode. See more Circus.

Disclaimer: The author Kyle Petersen works for the Big Apple Circus as an instructor, though is not affiliated with the tent show.

By Kyle Petersen

Buskers: The Story of Street Performers

Buskers DVD

Dubé Juggling is proud to announce the newest addition to our DVD collection. Buskers: The Story of Street Performers is an in depth look at the lives of street performers across the United States. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always entertaining, this DVD explores the inner workings of those who make a living performing on the street.

Featuring outstanding performers such as Butterfly Man, Tony Vera the fire eater, Michael Moschen, A. Whitney Brown, Master Lee, Michael Davis, Jim Rose, Amazing Johnathan, Gazzo, Flying Dutchmen, Mad Chad Taylor and Johnny Fox, this DVD is sure to please any fan of juggling, street performing or the variety arts. Click here to order yours today. Watch the trailer below:


By Kyle Petersen

Michael Moschen

Michael Moschen, photo by Brian Dube

Last week, after a performance, an audience member approached me and told me, “that was amazing, I can’t even juggle one ball!” I replied to her that some of the best jugglers in the world only juggle one ball.

I am referring, of course, to contact jugglers. But is contact juggling actually juggling?

By many people’s definition, juggling requires throwing objects, maintaining one airborne at all times. If juggling is defined in this way, contact juggling does not fit the bill.

Merriam Webster, however, provides a broader definition of juggling: “to engage in manipulation especially in order to achieve a desired end.” But what does manipulation to achieve a desired end mean? Under this definition, sleight of hand illusions, playing the piano and driving a car could all be defined as “juggling” Clearly, Webster’s definition is too broad to be of any real utility.

So how do we define juggling? Describing all manipulation as juggling seems excessively inclusive, while restricting the definition of juggling to traditional toss juggling is a little too exclusionary. But is there a middle ground?

Before 1990, contact juggling was a genre in search of a name. Michael Moschen, the godfather of modern contact juggling, preferred to call it “dynamic manipulation”, a term which never caught on. In the 1986 movie The Labyrinth credits Moschen with “crystal ball manipulation”, a term which is inadequate for a number of reasons.  The term “contact juggling” was born when James Ernest wrote Contact Juggling, the first-ever published guide to single-ball manipulation. But that still leaves the question: is contact juggling actually juggling?

The term “manipulation” seems to be a convenient catch-all. Juggling, devil sticks, diabolo, whip cracking and poi spinning all fall under the umbrella of manipulation. There are few who would argue that poi spinning should be considered a form of juggling. So why should contact juggling be classified as juggling?

We are left in a difficult situation. On the one hand, the term “contact juggling” seems inadequate. On the other hand, it seems useless to rename something that already has a name. So is contact juggling actually juggling? Should it be considered a category altogether separate from juggling? Should we leave this mess of confusing nomenclature as it is? Let us know what you think!


By Kyle Petersen

In this classic video, NBA hall-of-famer “Pistol” Pete Maravich (1947-1988) teaches the basics of ball spinning. Maravich is known as one of the most prolific scorers in NCAA history and as one of the best ball handlers of all time. Maravich played for the Atlanta Hawks, the New Orleans/Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics.

By Kyle Petersen

Straight from the wayback machine, Erich Brenn performs his plate spinning act on The Ed Sullivan Show. This is an example of a classic static pole plate spinning act. A static pole is fixed to a table or to a board, meaning the performer can leave the plate spinning while he or she does other things. It also allows to performer to get many plates spinning all at once.

The drama usually builds slowly, with the performer getting one or two plates spinning. The performer is then free to leave the plates spinning and perform other stunts. In this routine, Erich demonstrates a classic cup and spoon trick, as well as a cup and egg trick. Theoretically, any type of material can be used.  After completing various stunts, the performer then goes back to the plates, speeding up the original plates and getting additional plates spinning.

Each additional plate that Erich spins adds to the tension. The final payoff comes when Erich gets all the plates spinning on their poles, in addition to spinning a number of plates on the flat table surface below the poles. The visual effect is stunning. For a brief moment, the performer does nothing more than admire the spectacle that they have created. The only thing left is to clean up.


By Kyle Petersen

This week’s Video Friday features champion juggler and footbagger Peter Irish. While many have intergrated footbag techniques into their juggling routine, Peter is in a class all of his own.


By Kyle Petersen

Saturday, October 9th is World Contact Juggling Day. Our favorite Canadian contact juggler, Dawn Dreams, is at it again, promoting the annual celebration of sphere manipulation with another entertaining YouTube video.

Are you planning on celebrating Contact Juggling Day? Please let us know what you have planned!



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