Cyrille Humen

Yesterday, internationally recognized contact juggler and poi spinner Cyrille Humen stopped by our showroom in Downtown Manhattan. Cyrille, a native of Switzerland, will be giving a series of workshops in New York City this week. Click below to see what happened when Cyrille visited our showroom!

By Kyle Petersen

Summer is around the corner, and that means peak season for juggling. Worried about looking like a geek in front of all of the cool jugglers? Don’t sweat; the Dubé Juggling Blog has your back.

Latest in Juggler Fashion

-Rainbow suspenders are a snazzy way to keep your pants up. Scrolling LED belt buckles are another option. Diabolo string should only be used as a last resort.

-When people hire a juggler, they expect a certain level of cleanliness. Make sure to live up to their expectations by not showering and sleeping in your performance clothes the night before.

-Shoes say a lot about a person. If you wear clown shoes, it says “I’m a clown”. If you go barefoot, it says “I’m a dirty hippie”.

-Hats are not only an awesome way to liven up your on-stage persona, they’re also an effective method of covering up that unsightly juggling knife-related head wound.

-Wearing juggling festival t-shirts every day is a fun, casual way to remind everyone that you go to a lot of juggling festivals.

-Chest hair is the new black. This means it’s safe to break out your sequenced v-neck spandex leotards.

-If performing at a renaissance festival, make sure all of your attire and accessories are period-appropriate. Zippers weren’t invented until 1851, velcro wasn’t invented until 1948, and your bluetooth headset wasn’t invented until 1994.

-Amusing facial hair is a great way to distract the audience from a crappy juggling routine.

-Change your hairstyle depending on the event and location. When juggling in New Jersey, fauxhawks are appropriate. When poi spinning at Burning Man, make sure to weave a bunch of yarn, rooster feathers and other crazy crap into your dreadlocks.

-If you get a high-scale gig but can’t afford a tuxedo, it is acceptable to wear a t-shirt with a picture of a tuxedo.

-A unicycle isn’t just a one-wheeled bicycle with no handlebars, it’s also a fashion accessory. Make sure to “trick out” your wheel by adding chrome spinning rims, a leopard skin print saddle, and a solid gold air cap.

-It’s considered tacky to juggle white props after Labor Day.

By Kyle Petersen

Via VisualThesaurus.com

The French have given us many things: the Statue of Liberty, the bikini and of course, the word “juggler”. As Merriam Webster’s dictionary explains, the word “juggler” evolved from the Middle English world jogelour (a minstrel or magician), which came from the Anglo-French term jugleur. This word evolved from the Latin term joculator, a derivative of joculari, which means to joke or to jest. This word, in turn, was derived from the Latin noun iocus, which means “joke”.

The evolution of this word leads us to an interesting conclusion: the first “jugglers” were not jugglers at all. Rather, they were roving performers who made a living telling jokes, singing songs and performing various stunts (which may or may not have included juggling). They were more closely related to troubadours, jesters or minstrels and were not “jugglers” in the modern sense of the word.

Often, these traveling performers were not highly regarded socially, and were known for trickery. It is for this reason that “juggle” has a number of negative connotations. Dictionary.com lists “to alter or manipulate in order to deceive” and “to use artifice or trickery” as alternative definitions.

As this blog has pointed out, the word “juggling” has taken on new connotations in recent years. A quick Google News search for “juggling” will find more articles about President Obama juggling priorities in the Middle East than it will about Anthony Gatto or the International Jugglers Association. In common usage, juggling most often refers to the act of multitasking: juggling family and a career, juggling multiple lovers etc.

Even among those who use “juggle” to refer to object manipulation, there isn’t any consensus as to what the word actually means. Some use the term to refer to “toss juggling”; keeping more objects in the air than number of hands used. Others insist that contact juggling, which often envolves only one object, should be considered “juggling” as well. Still more think that cigar box, devil stick and diabolo should be categorized as juggling.

According to Merriam Website, the word “juggle” first appeared in the English language in the 15th century. If the term seems a little vague to you today, just remember that it’s been that way for nearly 600 years.

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.

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.

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