It’s been pretty quiet on the Fushigi front, right? Fushigi has failed to kill the art of contact juggling. You may need to explain to children under age 5 what contact juggling is; i.e no magnets, no magic, and no not Fushigi. Nonetheless the children of America have caught on. They’re mad as heck and aren’t going to believe anymore cheese ball infomercials with tall tales of floating magical anything for $19.99. From the mouthes of babes:

What’s more inspiring is the backlash of kids smashing their Fushigis as found on YouTube!

Note: Dubé Juggling does not promote smashing or destroying anything, because it’s dangerous and you can hurt yourself or others, or other things around you in the process.

By Kyle Petersen

Photo by Rem-Zel

Juggling Love

Remember the first time you fell in love? You had been waiting for weeks for the moment when suddenly the doorbell rings. You rush to the door and see a tall, handsome man. He smiles and says “special delivery”. The moment you had been waiting for was finally here; your new Dubé juggling clubs had arrived.

We recently asked our Facebook followers about their first Dubé experience. We received a flurry of responses, here are some of our favorites:

MJ: I got a set of 5 stage balls and a set of European juggling clubs in the early 90s, when I was in high school.

RP: Euro clubs in the mid-eighties. Ah, fond memories of the early days…

CAR: Hideous 8-panel neon squosh balls…that I thought were SO COOL in 2000.

DG: The american style clubs,white with silver very early 80’s. They lasted hundreds, hundreds of shows. a dozen moves and finally got a crack after 100 sidewalk drops in 2008.

JW: One order: 9 classic American clubs, devil stick, 9 ABS rings, and some other stuff (torches?). The year was 1980, 8th grade. I ran to the mailbox every day for 12 weeks before those beauties showed up!

RC: All the folks I juggled with had their props for years… many of them would have had them from the late 70s — that is mostly why I went with Dubé over all the other options, yours had the best feel overall, and they hold up to use for years to come!

JDM: I got some Dube clubs in the late 70’s. I still have ’em although they have been gathering dust for a long time. Wait, I think my ex wife got them in the settlement.

By Kyle Petersen

Thought scarf juggling was just for kids? Think again. As the following videos demonstrate, scarves are quickly becoming the most extreme juggling prop out there!

Marvel at the technical expertise of master scarf juggler Bret Wengeler! My Sharona!

Is there anything more extreme than several dozen 4th graders simultaneously juggling scarves to Taio Cruz’s Dynamite? We think not!

Finally, Juggling mistress Divertida Devotchka of the Vixens of Vaudeville shows us that scarf juggling can be mysterious and erotic…

By Kyle Petersen

As jugglers, most of us lack the marketable skills necessary to stay competitive in today’s job market. Luckily, Dubé Juggling Blog is back with another helpful and informative guide.

Photo by Dan Harrelson via Flickr

-Flair bartending is a great way to earn extra tips and waste tons of alcohol.

-Panhandling is the second oldest profession on earth. You could always give that a try.

-Expert whip cracker and rope spinner? Have you considered an exciting career as a dominatrix?

-Teaching juggling to children is a great way to make sure that the next generation makes the same horrible decisions that you made.

-Professional athletes get paid pretty well. Maybe you could give that a try? Couldn’t hurt.

-Who needs a job? Just get a fire staff and set of poi and spend your days hopping from festival to festival.

-If you join the military, refrain from juggling live grenades.


-If push comes to shove, you can always resort to this:

Photo by Tim Waclawski.

While Dubé Juggling and company are spending the summer trying to innovate props some of you have the summer off. Lots of time to sleep late, and pick up a skill or two. Here’s our summer to do video list to keep boredom away for FREE with no special equipment.

Airlines get away with murder by charging for baggage. Why not leave everything behind by working with whats on hand.

Stuck at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go? Turn your basement into the ultimate ping pong bouncing playground. Not a bad skill to take on to college either.

The ultimate fidgety time killer. Just try not to wear a white shirt while learning.

Take eating to the next level.

By Kyle Petersen

Juggling Parenthood, via salomon888 on Flickr

Managing the responsibilities of parenting can be tough. As jugglers, we’re up to the task. Follow these parenting tips to juggle your way to happier, healthier kids.

-Try to have triplets. It’s easier to juggle the children when they’re all the same size and weight.

-It can be difficult to get your kids to eat healthy. Teach them the eat-the-apple trick to make sure they get fiber and vitamins.

-Diabolo is a great babysitter. Not only will this challenging skill toy keep your child occupied for hours on end, you can also use the string to tie them up when they misbehave.

-If your child asks you to buy them a Fushigi ball, explain to them that the Fushigi is actually just a contact juggling ball and that contact juggling was pioneered by Michael Moschen and popularized by the movie The Labyrinth with David Bowie. Then, scare the living daylights out of your children by actually showing them this movie. After this, they should no longer be interested in the Fushigi ball.

-When teaching your children fire juggling, be sure to coat them with a non-toxic flame retardant spray. Flame retardant sprays now come in an array of kid-friendly flavors, such as watermelon, bubblegum and cool ranch.

-Make sure your children don’t get involved in drugs by keeping them away from poi spinning.

-If your child cannot juggle three balls by the time they are 10 years old, it’s ok to completely disown them.

-Disciplining your kids can be tough. Any time they act up, threaten them by showing them this video:

By Kyle Petersen

Congratulations! You’ve gotten a date. The dating scene can be rough for today’s juggler, but have no fear. Dubé Juggling Blog is here with romantic dos and don’ts for the dashing juggler on the go:

Via Flickr from Rem-Zel

-Explaining siteswaps is a great icebreaker.

-Juggling helps you relax in high-pressure situations. Make sure to get a good run of five-ball cascade in before attempting a kiss goodnight.

-Impress your date with stories about how many romantic partners you’ve juggled in the past.

-Spontaneity is an attractive feature. Surprise your date by standing on the dinner table and juggling breadsticks while singing the theme to The Bodyguard.

-Anytime anything happens, find some way to relate it to juggling.

-Reassure your date that, despite the fact you ride a unicycle, all of your downstairs parts are in working order.

-Most people are more comfortable in the company of friends. Take your date to the local renaissance festival or freak show so they can see you in your element.

-Methodically listing every festival you’ve ever been to is great way to kill an hour between dinner and a movie.

-Be sure to wear juggling-related t-shirts, so your date knows you’re for real and not just faking it.

-Always balance a barstool on your chin as soon as you walk into any bar.

-Don’t mention that you’re a juggler until the 6th or 7th date.

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


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. 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 Brian Dubé

Claude Shannon

The following is an explanation of  Shannon’s Juggling Theorem, developed by legendary mathematical, engineer and juggler Claude Shannon. This posting is based on articles written by mathematicians Ron Graham and Joe Buhler.

In mathematical terms, a juggler juggles five variables. He is free to vary the number of balls (b) he is juggling, the number of hands (h) he juggles with, the flight time (f) of each ball between his hands, the length of time a hand is empty (e) between catches, and the length of time a ball dwells (d) in a hand between throws. We assume that for a given pattern that all the above variables are constant and that no two balls are ever in the same hand at the same time and that the pattern is periodic (each configuration
of balls occurs at fixed intervals). These assumptions imply that the pattern has a certain symmetry and stable rhythm. This is true for the cascade but not for the shower which requires more complex mathematical descriptions. Consider two time lines, each representing one period (p1 or p2), one from the ball’s perspective and one from the hand’s perspective:

Ball perspective

__d f__     __d f__
1st hand    2nd hand

Hand perspective

__d e__   __ d e__   __d e__
1st ball     2nd ball     3rd ball

From the ball’s perspective, the length of one period is equal to the
number of hands times the combined time that a ball dwells in one hand
and is in flight, for each hand it meets:

a) p1 = h(d+f)

From the hand’s perspective, the length of one period is equal to the
number of balls times the combined time that the ball dwells in a hand
and that the hand is empty, for each ball it meets:

b) p2 = b(d+e)

Since the two periods are equal (p1=p2) (just considered from two different perspectives) we have:

c) b(d+e)=h(d+f) or:

d) b/h=(d+f)/(d+e)

We call this Shannon’s Juggling Theorem.

We can see from this theorem that each variable in juggling is related to and affected by changes in the others. Many relationships can be explored with this theorem. For example, what are the limits of the juggler’s freedom to vary the speed of a juggling pattern? We can fix the number of balls, hands, and the throw height (and, therefore, the flight time). The juggler can slow the pattern down by holding the ball longer or can speed it up by releasing each ball faster. The limit in the first case where the ball is held as long as possible is: empty time=0. Using equation c) above and setting e=0, we get:

e) bd=h(d+f).

The limit in the second case where the ball is held as short as possible is:
dwell time=0. Setting d=0 we get:

f) be=hf.

The ratio of these two extremes (between fastest and slowest) is bd/be=d/e
Solving equation e) for d yields d=(hf)/(b-h).
Solving equation f) for e yields e=(hf)/b.
So the ratio of fastest to slowest speeds (or period lengths) is
d/e=[(hf)/(b-h)]/[(hf)/b] or:

g) b/(b-h)

According to this ratio, b/(b-h), the range of possible juggling speeds decreases with the number of balls (and increases with the number of hands). So for a juggler using two hands and three balls, the ratio between the fastest and slowest speeds is 3/(3-2) or three to one. For a jugglerusing two hands and SEVEN balls, the ratio is 7/(7-2) or only 1.4 to one. Thus, one can see how the addition of more balls dramatically constrains the juggler. Of course, the extremes of fast and slow juggling are only possible in theory since a juggler can’t make the dwell time or empty time actually equal to zero. Therefore, the ratio of achievable speeds is even smaller.

We would like to thank Ron Graham and Joe Buhler for use of their work…
and of course a special thanks to Claude Shannon.

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