By Kyle Petersen

It’s that time of year again. Around the world, publications everywhere are posting uninspired “Top 10” articles. What a bunch of hacks. Well, we’re no different. Dube Juggling is proud to submit our completely arbitrary list of “Top 10 Things” of 2011. This week, items 10-6.

10 Bird on ball

If anything has the power to go viral, it’s an animal doing something cute or unusual. This particular bird shows off some serious balancing skills.

9 Freestyle canoe

What’s the only thing better than an interpretive movement-based routine performed in a canoe? Doing it to Chris DeBurgh’s “Lady In Red”. Confused? Don’t be. Just click below.

8 Extreme sitting

Who says sitting is a passive activity? Part skateboard, part bar stool, the SportHocker proves that extreme sitting is the wave of the future.

7 Physics of clown cars

We’ve all seen the clown car gag, but have you ever wondered how it’s done? This article from Car and Driver explains exactly how they fit so many clowns into such a tiny car.

6 Will Ferrell juggling on The Office

If you missed Will Ferrell’s hilarious pantomimed juggling routine on NBC’s The Office, you’re out of luck. NBC removed that YouTube clip. Luckily, our friend Michael Karas stepped up to reenact this mimed juggling act with actual balls. Great work, Michael!

By Kyle Petersen

When many people think of New York City, they imagine a metropolis filled with a wide variety of performance artists and creative types. Despite the fact that the Big Apple has long been a haven for the artistically inclined, street performers (or buskers) have often been marginalized, castigated and even outlawed.

For much of the past century, buskers have been treated as  a quality of life problem along the lines of panhandlers, broken windows and graffiti. In 1935, New York City issued a formal ban on street performing that existed until the 1970s. Even today, New York street  performers face intimidation and harassment from the authorities and have been subjected to citations and arrest.

Unfortunately, the plight of New York street performers is not unique. Around the world, buskers face difficult circumstances. The Busking Project is an organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the benefits of street performers and advocating looser restrictions of street artists. As the organization explains:

Street performers face huge day to day challenges, from bad weather and restrictive laws to the simple mission of making enough money to survive. We’re here to give them a platform, to give encouragement to those who have just started, to help inform people about the benefits that buskers provide (and thus relax stigmas against them and, eventually, laws).

The Busking Project is currently involved in producing a documentary to raise awareness of street performers across the globe. The group has visited 40 cities in 5 continents and has recorded over 200 performers.  TBP is looking to producing a “feature length documentary, a photo narrative book and continue our commitment to creating, encouraging, and supporting a global community of street performers through our website”. Unfortunately, the group is still in search of funding. You can help by visiting their Kickstarter campaign and pledging a donation of $1 or more. Below, you can see a video clip of some of their great work:

Pepe Peperonius from The Busking Project on Vimeo.

Dubé Juggling is teaming up with to break the record for the most world records broken in one hour! Juggling, hooping, unicycling, handstands, feather balancing, gymnastics ribbon, whatever! The event will be streamed live over the internet, and prizes and refreshments will be provided! Bring your own equipment or use what we have in the store! Please visit the Facebook event page to RSVP

By Kyle Petersen

Five-club juggling was once the realm of only the greatest of the greats. To juggle five clubs meant you had reached a guru-like status which could only be achieved after a lifetime of dedication. Now, if you visit any local juggling festival, you will undoubtedly find some 13-year-old kid effortlessly throwing five-club backcrosses in the air. What happened?

The internet happened. More specifically, YouTube happened. Concepts and techniques which were once only attainable by spending hours at local juggling clubs and conventions are now available at the click of a mouse. In short, the collective power of the internet has been harnessed in a way which has caused skill levels to grow exponentially.

Additionally, the phenomenon of “memes” (ideas or concepts which grow within a  community) have meant that particular styles of object manipulation have grown very popular while other styles or techniques have not. For example, relatively few jugglers these days are embracing the acrobatic and multidisciplinary approach championed by Francis Brunn and others. At the same time, concepts such as isolations (popularized by Michael Moschen and others) have taken off and have been applied to ball, ring and club juggling as well as to hooping, poi spinning and more.

So where is this all leading us? What is the future of juggling? Skill levels are likely to continue to grow exponentially. At the same time, jugglers are likely to continue to copy or mimic popular styles and techniques, leading to variations and mutations of original concepts. Is all this for better or for worse? Only time will tell.

Photo credit Katy.Tresedder via Flickr

Which is better, this:

Or this:

We recently asked our Facebook followers about their greatest moment as a juggler. Here are our favorite responses:

Chris G: One day I was busking in Jackson Square in New Orleans (using nothing but Dube props) and I noticed the same smokin’ hot chick watching my show twice; I went to chat with her, and now we’ve been married for 20 years.

Christie B: Greatest moment as a juggler….when I learned to pass knives or when I went to NYC and went to the Dube store. Sadly I haven’t been able to juggle for a long time, becoming a mom does that…

Mike H. performing my diabolo act solo center ring with Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Circus … Red Unit, 125th Edition.

Andy L: Why, just last week. In fact, every time I pick up my diabolos, it’s MY moment.

By Kyle Petersen

Via Ed Yourdon’s Flickr Stream

Social media is here to stay. As a performer, your challenge is to use these services to your advantage. Here are some easy tips to keep you on top of your social media strategy.

-Have a website? Great! Make sure to feature links to your social networking accounts on the website. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube and Google+ are all appropriate.

-Start a Facebook Fan page, and use this page only to post about your juggling and events. Facebook Profile pages are for friends. People who don’t know you in real life might not be comfortable adding you as a friend, but they don’t mind telling everyone that they “like” you.

-Are you performing somewhere? Make sure your friends and followers know about it! This includes Facebook posts, invites, e-vites, tweets and more.

-Keep your YouTube videos short! Shorter videos are more likely to be shared on social media websites.

-Maintaining a blog will help you rank higher in Google searches. It’s easy to do; all it takes is time. WordPress and Blogger are both easy-to-use blogging platforms.

-Active Twitter user? Use an application like Buffer App to space out your tweets and help you gain more followers. Operating multiple accounts? Use a program like TweetDeck or HootSuite to help you juggle your accounts.

-Do you own a smart phone? Use it to share video and photos from your events or practice sessions in real time.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@DubeJuggling) and check out our Fan Page :)

By Kyle Petersen

Via against the tide’s Flickr

As a beginning performer, one of the hardest things to do is to actually start performing. Following these 6 helpful tips will help you get on your way.

-The best way to find gigs is by doing gigs. As a beginning performer, don’t pass up the opportunity to be on stage in front of potential clients. Open stage shows, variety shows and even street performing can help you find gigs. Get out there and hone your craft!

-Be prepared to perform for different audiences. Some audiences are old, some young, some warm, some hostile. Do not use the same routine for kindergartners that you use in burlesque shows.

-Have a clean professional business card ready with you at all gigs. If you don’t hand out your business card, they will never find you.

-Have a website! This really isn’t debatable. Clients will look to your website to see what sets you apart from other jugglers. A YouTube page is not a substitute for a website.

-Craigslist can be a valuable resource for finding gigs, especially for beginning performers. The problem is that it can become very tedious. In order to stay on top of potential jobs, you must search Craigslist everyday. Work around this problem by using a program like Craigsnotifica, which can automatically alert you when gigs are posted on Craigslist.

-Did you have a nice gig? Send a thank you note to the event’s organizer. People remember stuff like this. Didn’t have a nice gig? Send one anyway.

-Be nice! The people you meet on the way up are the same ones you meet on the way down. Don’t assume anything about people. Besides, a smile doesn’t cost a thing.

By Kyle Petersen

Photo via Loren Javier on Flickr

Everyone drops. It’s a fact of life. Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t always understand this. That’s why Dubé Juggling Blog has come up with a handy list of excuses. Now you can drop away without any sense of embarrassment or guilt!

-It was the wind.

-Something got in my eye.

-Saw a pretty girl.

-Gravity was too strong.


-Live entertainment, folks.

-Difficult childhood.

-Warp in the space-time continuum.

-What drop? That was part of my floor routine.

-Just ate fried chicken, hands are greasy.

-It was an artistic decision.

By Kyle Petersen

Photo by terriseesthings’ via Flickr

For many people, making the shift from hobby juggler to performing can be daunting. Dubé Juggling Blog has got your back.

-Music selection matters! Pick a song that matches your style and personality. Super serious technical juggler? Pick something that reflects that.

-Once you select a piece of music, practice juggling to that music. Get comfortable with the rhythm and timing. Try different tricks to see what works and what doesn’t.

-STOP AND STYLE! It is important to connect with the audience. Some jugglers are so focused that they never establish a connection. Make sure to stop and style a number of times throughout the routine. When you stop and style, you give the audience permission to applaud. Try to time your styles to climactic moments in the song.

-Your clothing matters! Is your style goofy and fun-loving? Bright colors should work well. Is your style more Cirque du Soleil? Simpler more natural colors should do the trick.

-Think about what color your props are. Black props do not read well on stage. If you wear a white shirt you should not juggle white balls. If possible, select props that compliment your clothing.

-Drops happen. It’s a fact of life. Anthony Gatto drops. Jason Garfield drops. You drop. Be prepared for this eventuality. Pick up the prop, smile, and get back to work. Never show the audience your frustration!

-You might love siteswaps, but your audience doesn’t understand what they are. Just because a trick is hard, doesn’t mean that audience understands that. This is why the eat-the-apple trick is so popular–people get it!

-The end of your act is the part people will remember best. Your final trick should be flashy and impressive, but not so difficult that you can’t land it. There’s nothing worse than dropping on your final trick.

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