By Kyle Petersen (aka Awesome Kyle, host of the Late Show)

The show started off with a bang, as I came out with a purple top hat with a purple feather, purple shirt, purple tie, sequined vest and purple shoe laces. I was about to mount my purple unicycle when my arch nemesis Michael Richter (of Ringling Brothers) appeared on stage with his unicycle and stole my thunder. After a well-fought unicycle duel, he was escorted off stage by security.

Up-and-coming diaboloist Robin Hu brought the house down with his new Sundia Fly Diabolos, which he purchased at our store just a few weeks ago. He almost chickened out of his performance but I convinced him to go on stage. I’m really glad he did, and so was everyone in attendance.

I was particularly impressed with A Different Spin, a scarlet-clad juggling troupe who showed up and asked to be included in the show. When I saw their costumes, I couldn’t refuse. They did an outstanding job, look for them in the future.

The most popular act of the night by far was Chris McDaniel, who performed an amazing wild west cowboy act. The crowd roared he cracked whips, spun ropes, and sang songs. Chris later apologized to me for going on too long, but I hadn’t noticed. Naomi was particularly impressed by his agile Texas skip, a very difficult trick. His performance was magical, and I was really grateful he came.

But for me, the highlight of the evening was passing clubs around my mom, and debuting my brand new wooden stacking boxes. The boxes look really crisp on stage, and they stack up so neatly. I’m kinda obsessed with them… I stacked up 9 boxes, but the next day the legendary Jay Green taught me a new type of 9 box stack. I hope to share it with you shortly.

The show closed just as strong as it started, with the country-bluegrass stylings of Steve Dagz and the Scallywags. The crowd was a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’ as Steve and his quartet played the show out.

All-in-all, it was one of the best nights of my life. I can’t wait to host next year’s show. If you were in attendance, let us know if you had a favorite part!

Photos and post by Naomi Donabedian. Thanks to Esy Casey for equipment and guidance.

I’ve never been to the Juggle This show solo. Nevertheless I was seated among a seasoned circus-goer and young  juggling enthusiast 6 year old. You can’t trick a 6 year old, they know good juggilng, and she was just as pleased as punch with  the antics and skills of this year’s Saturday Night Show Spectacular.

Photos and post by Naomi Donabedian. Thanks to Esy Casey for equipment and guidance.

Pratt Juggling Club’s 9th annual Juggle This Festival sprung into Brooklyn last week, April 8th-11th. It was a warm, breezy, darn right beautiful Saturday that we spent inside Pratt’s gym. Jugglers and performers spilled across the mammoth gym floor in pockets and groups. Clubs, balls, and diabolo seem to be the dominate prop, but this year we a spied acrobatics, hoops, devil sticks, yo-yos and more.

Photos by Naomi Donabedian. Thanks to Esy Casey for equipment and guidance.

Juggling Made Easy, an Illustrated Classic

Gene Jones left us with a great heap of juggling ephemera and memories when he dropped off a couple boxes of his collection. Covered in a shocking green, Rudolf Dittrich’s 1961 Juggling Made Easy is a juggling book worth getting to know. Juggling Made Easy offers enthusiastic encouragement for the beginner with playful and clear illustrations. The book describes juggling as a game you can learn to impress your friends and family with at parties! Juggling banishes boredom! The book covers 2-ball, 3-ball, 4-ball, 5-ball, 7-balls, rings, clubs (including cut-out instructions on how to make your own cardboard and broom handle club), see-saw (Dubé calls it a rola-bola), knives (wood knives painted silver to look real!), plates and disks, balancing, ribbons, feats of strength, and hats.

The final chapter, A Boy’s Game with Pocket Knives, seems a little tacked on, but is both educational and entertaining nonetheless. The chapter includes safety warnings but still might make a parent fear for their boy or girl’s extremities. Shouldn’t they be using wood knives painted with silver?

Has YouTube wiped out the need for printed instructions? Did anyone learn to juggle from books? Copies of Juggling Made Easy are still floating around the internet. Or come by and take a look at ours, we don’t mind sharing.

Cigar box manipulation is a vaudevillian throwback. Although we can’t say with certainty who first developed the concept of box manipulation, we do know that the art form was pioneered and popularized by the great W.C. Fields around the turn of the century. The first cigar box jugglers used actual cigar boxes (hence the name) which were typically nailed shut. The juggler holds onto two of the boxes and uses them to trap the third box. By turning, tossing, tumbling and flipping the boxes, box jugglers are able to execute a vast array of tricks. Box juggling is a standard part of any gentleman juggler act.

Cigar box juggling reached the peak of its popularity during the height of vaudeville, and suffered a slow decline after the advent of motion pictures. For years the art form had few practitioners until a young man named Kris Kremo burst onto the scene in the 1970s. Kris learned the art of cigar box juggling from his father, Bela Kremo, and the two even performed an act together. Kris is noted for his stage presence, and brought the art of box juggling to a broad audience.

While Kris focused on presentation, former Flying Karamazov Brother Charlie Brown is noted for his technical prowess. Charlie Brown would often perform in jeans and a t-shirt, and was something of a juggling rock star. Charlie’s message was clear: box juggling isn’t just for the gentleman juggler anymore. Even today, Charlie Brown is considered one of the great technical box jugglers of all time.

Like many juggling disciplines, cigar box juggling is experiencing a resurgence on the internet. Thanks to YouTube, the art form has been able to reach a much wider audience than before, and the level of technical ability has gone up dramatically. Of the current generation of cigar box jugglers, Eric Bates, Ryuhan, Tao Wei and Nick Flair stand out.

Brian Dubé’s father started manufacturing wooden boxes in the late 1970’s, and the boxes he made are very similar to the ones we sell today.  We started construction of our polyethylene boxes in the 1990’s.  Our plastic boxes are super durable, our decorated plastic boxes look outstanding on stage, and our wooden boxes have a traditional look and feel that many jugglers prefer. Stacking boxes are designed specifically for the 9 box pyramid stack.

Luke Wilson, Sean Blue, Tony Pezzo, and Jay Gilligan will be juggling tomorrow at Pratt Juggling Club. Just for fun, followed by open juggling. Stop by!

Tuesday, March 30, 8pm
@Pratt Student Union
200 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn NY,
G train to Classon or free parking on campus.
Tell the guards you’re there for juggling.

Mark your calendars! The 9th annual New York City juggling festival is taking place April 8th-11th at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY (for directions, click here). We’re very excited, here’s a rundown of the festivities:

Thursday: Open juggling at the Pratt Student Union from 7-11 pm.

Friday: Open juggling from 5-10:30 pm at the ARC building.

Saturday: Open juggling and workshops from 10am-7pm at the ARC building.

Sunday: Open juggling, workshops and games from 10am-5pm at the ARC building.

But wait, there’s more! The festival also includes an outstanding stage show Saturday night at 7:30 pm. The show features world class jugglers and variety performers from around the globe, and tickets are just $10. We recommend buying tickets in advance because the show will sell out, though tickets will be on sale Friday and Saturday during the convention.

And that’s not all! The convention also features a late show, starting at roughly 11pm at the Pratt Student Union hosted by me, Kyle Petersen. The show is open stage format, which means anyone can come up off the street and perform a short set. The show will run 2 hours, and viewer discretion is advised.

For directions to Pratt, click here. For a campus map, click here.

Hope to see you there!

Dubé Juggling is proud to announce our brand new blog. Please check back in the coming weeks for news and information from the New York City juggling community and beyond!

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