Photo by Robin Hu

By Kyle Petersen

The 10th and final New York City juggling festival was held this past weekend at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, Juggle THIS! has made a name for itself as one of the best regional festivals in the United States, attracting top-notch talent from throughout the world.

However, all good things must come to an end. Matt Guzzardo, the festival’s principle organizer, is moving across country, and Pratt Institute is no longer willing to act as the host venue. Because of this, any New York City juggling festival in the future will require new leadership and a new venue.

Undeterred by uncertainty, hundreds of jugglers descended on the Big Apple this past weekend for one last hurrah. Turnout was strong despite the fact that the dates for the festival were announced only three weeks ahead of time. Saturday featured workshops and two stage shows while Sunday’s festivities included more workshops and of course, games such as endurance and combat.

Below you can watch a clip from the 5-club endurance competition. Notice how Marcus Monroe tries to sneak his way back into the competition after being eliminated.

As part of our new partnership with El Circense, the Spanish language digital magazine, we will be republishing some of their original content, translated into English. This week, we present an in-depth interview with Argentine street performer Mauri Kurcbard!

By Tomi

Mauri Kurcbard. Photo by Mozcografía

Describe your first contact with circus.

I enjoyed the circus like any child, but I was not especially enamored. The shock came when I was living in France from 1989 to 1992. I was first introduced to juggling there by street performers. They taught me that the road to learning juggling wasn’t so hermetic or closed as it used to be. In that moment (1990) I fell in love with juggling and I practised all day long. As the year came to an end, I had learned clubs, balls, diabolo and devilstick.

When I was back in Buenos Aires in 1992 the only guy who was juggling in street was Chacovachi, but this was only to supplement his work as a clown. At this point, I was trying to make a juggling and humor show, as the one that Cotton MacAloon used to. In 1993 I went to a local plaza with a show named “El Circo Moskova Caligari” and then to CC Recoleta. It was very good and that turned my destiny to street humorist.

How the Malabaristas del Apokalipsis were formed?

I met Pablo del Giudicce and Riki Ra in summer of 1993. Both of them had a comedy and juggling duet called “La Organización Rayada” so they didn’t take too much time in meeting us. We shared stage in San Clemente during the summer and after a few meetings we decided to work together. We toured in France and we lived there doing little shows in Paris.

We were four punk kids on bicycles with our clubs in our backpacks as if they were swords. We were like the four horsemen of the apocalypse, which is how we found our name: Los Malabaristas del Apokalipsis (The Jugglers of the Apocalypse).

In August 1994 we arrived in Plaza Francia (a neighborhood in Buenos Aires) with a new show, which was an immediate success. We then created a show called Varieté Apokaliptika (Apocalyptic Variety). We also organized the first juggling meeting at Buenos Aires, which would later become the Argentinian Juggling and Circus Convention.

What is ‘Anticirco’?

We wanted to be different from traditional circus and its hermeticism and also different to the new circus and its showiness. Neither were popular in Argentina. We wanted to show a third position so we wrote a manifesto called “El Anticirco” (“Anti-circus”), playing a little bit with a philosophy book that has made a big impact in me called “El Antiedipo” (“Anti-Oedipus”).

So we weren’t alone. With los Malabaristas del Apokalipsis there was other similar groups that shared our vision and our new street language that questioned a way or life that we didn’t shared. That was the seed of Forte Garrizone that came in 1995.

What were your motivations in circus artists then?

I was part of the movement of juggling artists in nineties, the years when Argentina’s economy was failing, the unemployment was growing and the options were closing. We were sons of hyperinflation. The street was then as a strategy for surviving as young people. But we didn’t want to simply work; we were very convinced that we were artists that wanted to emerge and resound everywhere. Sometimes some people told us that we were working as jugglers in the streets because we couldn’t make anything else we denied this emphatically.

I remember we used to fight for the spaces in the squares and we consider this as a social right beyond freedom of speech. We wanted to be recognized as generators of a cultural wealth. We wanted to be defended, stimulated and subsidized.

Which is the street artists role in the world’s cities?

The street artist is a urban host and this concept is related his activity with puppeteers, musicians, actors and every creator that day to day in every city of the world try to make people’s life more happy or more conscious. The artist expands the subjective world of the man and this mission has to be seen as a privilege. When social classes disappear –I haven’t lost my hope in this- and the history of mankind won’t be more than the big scientific events there still is going to be artists criticizing, singing and making things. In the future, the scientifics are going to be the politicians and the national heroes will be the past artists.

What would you recommend to people who want to perform in street?

My first recommendation is getting really into it. This means putting some originality, love for working and using what you know with rhythm and intensity. When you start in this art of expressing things in street you always copy others that you already saw. There are always little fishes copying big artists, or being influenced for them. In Buenos Aires once I had the chance of talking with the Master Cavarozzi (Chacovachi) who told me a perfect summary about the street artist’s metier. A street artist has to work with four organs: the brain, the heart, the balls and the stomach. Beautiful.

What are you working in Mexico?

I’ve been working in Cancún for four years. I’m presenting a circus show in the Riviera Maya, the coast zone from Cancún to Playa del Carmen and Tulum. This is paradise, the sea mixes all kinds of blue that catch you and won’t let you go out. In the show I do a little bit of everything, a very simple diabolo routine and different participatory acts in a “Cirque Du Soleil” theme that turns my stomach a little.

It was easy, I do the same as always, but instead of a leather jacket I wear sequins. I work with people all over the world and this enriches my personal work. Additionally I also give comedy workshops.

I’m also preparing another show in Cancún with more humor and more music, but also more Argentinian and more street style. As if this weren’t too much I want to get back to Buenos Aires with a van and all my family inside, traveling from Mexico to Argentina crossing all over Latin America with my street show in 2011 and 2012. It has to work. I have faith in myself.

El Circense: the Online Circus Magazine

Dubé Juggling proud to announce our partnership with the circus magazine El Circense!

Based in Buenos Aires, El Circense is a digital monthly magazine that, since 2008, has been reporting on the world of circus arts. Though originally written in Spanish, articles from El Circense will be republished in English through the Dubé Juggling Blog.

by Naomi Donabedian

Wah! All this juggling is so stressful!

Stock art and photography are a good resource for displaying a recognizable idea, understood by all, young and old, beyond language barrier. Stock art colors the white space delivering a neutral message. The reasons stock art is good is also the same reason it’s bad. It’s a cliche and you’ve probably seen it over and over again. At its worst stock is a visual pun, or a dumbed-down illustration of an otherwise abstract idea. Juggling, sadly, has become the vehicle for stock art themes. Finance woes (juggling the books is Brian Dubé’s favorite cliche), busy at your job, busy at home, crazy for technology, health conscious, or just a disturbing juggling clown, there is juggling stock art to represent your concern. What burns me is the lack of proper juggling displayed in stock art. Juggling as a graphic is reduced into throwing balls thrown in a circle. A cascades look like juggling, and isn’t difficult to illustrate. Do non-jugglers really believe that throwing balls in a circle equals juggling? Lets view some examples:

This is not and CAN NOT be juggling

juggling success, get it?

Any successful broker understands this common juggling metaphor.

How the gods control Earth. This one actually know how to juggle.

How many men can you juggle? Again an accurate cascade.

Good thing moms know how to juggle.

Skinny ladies who eat all their vegetables know how to juggle too.

Does not represent juggling

Aww... somehow all is forgiven when its a cute animal juggling!!

Yannick Foe, tools of the trade

By Kyle Petersen

Last September, Dubé Juggling Blog featured an interview with a Peruvian street juggler named Guillermo de la Kausa. This week, we’re traveling across the Atlantic to talk to Yannick Foe, a Cameroonian street juggler living in Cote d’Ivoire.

Kyle: How old you are, where you are and how long have you been juggling?

Yannick: I was born October 29, 1987 in Yaounde, Cameroon. I learned juggling in 1999 at a center for street children. I’ve been juggling for almost 12 years.

Kyle: What are your favorite circus skills?

Yannick: I juggle clubs, torches, balls, bouncing balls, diabolo, rings, I ride unicycle, rola bola, and I also eat the fire, a little balance and a little acrobat.

Kyle: Tell me about the organization you have worked with. How have you been involved with them?

Yannick: The organization is called the Centre Saint Nicodemus Home. When I first came there, I was a street child for over 3 years. I was forced to take control of my life by responding as quickly possible. Once I arrived, I had to choose a job. I had passion for juggling since I watched the circus on TV from a young age.

Kyle: You are a native of Cameroon. How did you end up in Cote d’Ivoire?

Yannick: I left Cameroon with the intention going back to Europe. I left Cameroon to Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, and Algeria but was not able to enter Europe. I finally made my way to Cote d’Ivoire where I now live. In Cote d’Ivoire, I arrived during the bitterly disputed Presidential elections November 26, 2010, which threatened to plunge the country into civil war. After the elections, the military issued a month-long curfew that prevented me from working in the streets.

Well-worn clubs

Kyle: You mentioned that you work as a street juggler. Describe a day typical juggling in the streets.

Yannick: My day starts at 15 hours in the capital Abidjan. I choose an area with a lot of bars or restaurants that attract crowds of people.

I begin by juggling balls and clubs and then torches and I climb the bridge tower on my unicycle to please the crowd. They always scream for more, which brings great joy to many in this troubled country. Through these shows often I get meet clients who ask me to perform at birthday parties and other events.

Kyle: What are your goals as a juggler? What do you hope to accomplish.

Yannick: As an avid juggler, I want to be able to perform on the biggest world stages.

I dream of working in a big top circus and of helping the children of Africa to learn the circus arts. I also want to organize an African juggling festival that will attract the greatest jugglers in the world.

And finally to help my family is in great need because I’m
from a family with 10 children.

Kyle: Yannick, thank you so much for your time.

Below, you can watch a french-language news segment about Yannick and his work.

by Naomi Donabedian

4-sided cardboard juggling club pattern to be wrapped ovre a broom stick.

We know the price of perfectly engineered and balanced juggling clubs can seem high. Like power tools, duct tape, tennis balls and washers? Really into the DIY channel,, and Make Zine? Snowed in with time on your hands? Us too!! We think there’s a well of knowledge in building your own equipment and perfecting the weight and size to your own juggling style. You can build practically everything we sell from scratch or objects around the home.

How to Make Juggling Balls (tennis balls and balloon style)

Online tutorials

“Green Clubs” made from Tennis ball and Soda Bottle on Wiki How. Or download a PDF from the Green Club Project’s website.

Newspaper juggling clubs on Instructables

Rag Juggling Balls on Maya Made.

Otedama Japanese beanbags on Things That Make Us Happy Make Us Wise.

No sew beanbags on EHow.

Juggling Rubber Chickens from FuzzCo, hilarious!

How to build a juggling torch on Instructables.

Cigar Boxes also on Instructables. Plus, they stole an image from our website as the “final goal.” Please don’t take images without our permission, and if you do at least give us some credit.

Upgrade to two-color or color changing juggling rings video tutorial on YouTube.

Devil Stick video tutorial on YouTube.

How to Make a Juggling Pin (ed. note we prefer juggling club!) on a Lathe

Some of these projects are for the experienced wood worker. Please be careful when using any power tools. Wear protection and remember what your shop teacher told you, usually something about not letting loose hair near the lathe or blammo there goes your scalp.

Successfully make some juggling props at home? Email us pictures, info at dube dot com, or put them up on our Facebook wall.

By Ross Berenson

Well balanced jugglers

Pulling up to an old cathedral that was converted into a circus school is quite a sight. You enter the building and see smiling faces all around. You take a quick walk around to feel the space out and you are already excited. The thrill and the fun of circus is going through your mind. You see some students practicing and already get a glimpse of the high talent level. A ceiling so high up, you can’t even hit it if you tried. Welcome to Turbo Fest at École de Cirque de Québec located in Quebec City, Canada.

The weekend of January 7th, the school hosted one of the best regional in North America. It cost $45 if you pre-registered and $50 at the door. With this price tag you get fun, sleeping space, access to the Saturday night show, and of course access to the schools space. Well worth the price.

There are two large rooms that are open for the public to juggle in. There is one room upstairs and one room downstairs. When both rooms are full, they are larger than some East Coast juggling festivals. The room downstairs is the tumbling room with mats all over the floor. The room doubles as a bedroom where many people set up camp and sleep for the night. Well… nap for the night. No one wants to sleep at this festival because there is so much going on.

Upstairs is the party room. Bright blue ceiling that houses many jugglers. There is a lot of space for everyone to do his or her thing. Up here is where the show is held and where the canteen is. Food and Beverages are sold on site, and they have a nice sized sitting area for everyone to enjoy their meal.

The fact that the festival it is held in such a high energy place adds to the energy greatly. The talent level is extremely high here. This is not your beginner festival. There are some beginner workshops though. Everyone that attends is very welcoming and friendly. You will see groups of people just exchanging tricks and tips.

Friday was the first day of the festival and there was already a high turnout. This was my fourth Turbo Fest and I think this had the largest turnout by far. The music is blasting and people are juggling. It’s a juggling party all weekend. Some people late at night weren’t even juggling and were just dancing. Friday night hosts the Juggle Jam and the Renegade (AKA the late show). You get to see amazing talent demonstrate some new tricks they are working on. The juggle Jam is fun. It’s rapid fire juggling. One person goes up; attempts a trick then someone else comes up and attempts a trick and so forth. This goes on for around 10 minutes. In the past there renegade shows consist of people trying hard tricks and some routines but this year they tried something different. Francis Julien was the host that night. They did a 45min improv. There were two teams of jugglers and Francis gave each team a theme they had to follow. It was fun to watch at first but it went on too long. That’s my opinion though. Many people seemed to enjoy it a lot. To each their own. After the improv, everyone went back into juggling and dancing.

Saturday is when some of the games were played, workshops, the Saturday night show, and thanks to Jason Garfield, Major League Combat. They have the typical games then some of their own. Many people are competitive here so it is fun to watch and to compete. Workshops went on all day. Before the show, the school offers a catered meal for attendees for a low price. Some people take it and others leave the school to eat at a nearby restaurant.

The show is always incredible. They have great talent from the school perform, École Nationale de Cirque, and many guest. This year they flew in the Gandini’s, Matt Hall, and Meghan Pike, Sean Blue, Eric Bates, and more. After the show the staff quickly cleaned up and juggling resumed. Shortly after, a round of Jason Garfield’s Major League Combat began. There were eight teams formed, which made quite the match up. It was the most intense games I have witnessed but I hear Madfest (Madison, Wisconsin) had even more of intense matches. Team Turbo may have to step it up next year! Not only did the competitors enjoy MLC, it also drew up a nice sized crowd. People enjoyed watching because its combat with rules. You see the teams thinking of plans and strategies. People are cheering and getting really into it. The Semi Finals were finished on Sunday because it was already 2am. The day flew by.

Sunday consisted of more games like diabolo high String and Balance Limbo. Games went on for a while. Every winner gets a metal and a prize. The Gandinis did a small surprise show for 20-30 minutes downstairs and you can see the passion they have for juggling. The fest ended at 6:00 and people stayed till the end. Good to the last drop (no pun intended).

Being around all the students is great. It’s a younger crowd than the average East Coast Festival. The talent is inspiring. The energy level is motivating. You just want to juggle and meet jugglers. It’s awesome. I look forward to next year’s festival the day the current festival ends. This festival wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for the Turbo Crew! Thanks! Turbo 6 is January 6th, 2012. Get planning!

Below, watch highlights from this year’s festival!

By Kyle Petersen

Watching cartoon characters juggle can be incredibly frustrating. Mickey Mouse doing an 8-ball shower? Give me a break! Why is so hard to animate a cascade pattern? Why have there been so few honest representations of juggling within the medium of cartoon animation? We dug into the archives to find our favorite cartoon juggling clips.

For those too young (or too old) to remember, Space Ghost Coast to Coast was a 1990’s late-night talk show hosted by Space Ghost, a 1960s Hannah-Barbera cartoon character. Confused? That’s ok, just watch the clip below.

In the following clip, Futurama’s Hermes shows us that it take a lot of juggling skills to maintain a bloated bureaucracy. In this video, our favorite Jamaican bureaucrat demonstrates a cascade, some spinning techniques as well as some old-school cigar box maneuvers. Well done!

By Kyle Petersen

Puerto Rico is one of the world’s unicycling hot spots. The tiny island nation (an unincorporated territory of the United States), is home to a number of unicycle communities. My recent vacation to the Island of Enchantment brought me to such varied locations as Rincon (to the far west), San Juan (capital city and major tourism hub) and La Silla de Calderon (a large mountain in the municipality of Adjuntas). I was struck by the large number of monowheeling young people I encountered on my adventures. Below, you can watch the highlights from my week-and-a-half long vacation. Enjoy!

Unicycling in Puerto Rico from Kyle Petersen on Vimeo.

By Kyle Petersen

Western Puerto Rico: unicycle hotspot

In a town called Aguada, far away from the tourist districts of San Juan, exists one of the strongest and most vibrant communities of unicyclists in the world. Aguada is located on the west coast of Puerto Rico, close to another town, Isabela, which is famous for its tremendous unicycle basketball team. Because Isabela is only 30 minutes from Aguada, it’s fair to say that western Puerto Rico is one of the biggest unicycle hotspots in the world.

Aguada is home the Bicicleteros de Aguada, a group of BMX bicyclists from the 1970s and ’80s who also embraced unicycle. One member, a man named Cesar, continued unicycling after the Bicicleteros disbanded. His love of monowheeling has led him to form clinics in his hometown of Aguada to teach the local children how to correr monociclo (ride unicycle). There aren’t any statistics to prove this, but Aguada must have one of the highest percentages of children that can unicycle in the world. Below, you can watch myself leading a group of children unicycling in a circle:

Isabela, to the north east, is the home of one of the best unicycle basketball teams in the world. The group, headed by Carlos Medina, is recognized as a force in the sport of unicycle basketball. Below, you can watch the team in action:

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