By Kyle Petersen

In the past year, a number of parody music videos have been produced by the juggling community. Here’s a look at some of our favorites:

Taylor Glenn, The Omnipotent Juggler, strikes again, this time with her spin on Travie McCoy’s 2010 breakout hit “Billionaire”. This clever pop parody, titled “I wanna be a juggler”, includes shoutouts to everyone from Doug Sayers to Michael Karas.

It was only a matter of time before someone created a Lady Gaga juggling music video. Chris Chiappini presents “Just Juggle”, a parody of Gaga’s “Just Dance”. The song references a number of New York City jugglers, and features a little bit of site swap humor to boot. After all, who doesn’t love a good site swap joke?

Finally, to prove that we’re not totally slaves to pop music, Mark and Dre present their take on Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”. The video, titled “Psycho Juggler”, features a number of karamozovian tricks, as well as creative use of percussive juggling.

Did we miss something? Leave a comment so we can post it next time around.

Polishing our acrylic contact ball this morning we saw a blurry light that formed itself into a vision, a vision of the juggling world in 2011. Here is some of what we saw:

— Somewhere a child under the age of 7 is going to flash 12 balls. This event will probably be broadcast on YouTube.

— Teenagers will drop and crack their magic floating balls. A third of those teens will be upset for a moment before returning to video games. Another third of those teens will return the broken ball and get their money back. The last third will go online, complain, discover the meaning of contact juggling, and find their true path

— Jugglers will discover that hoops are meant for more than just dance, but nearly-human sized circles which unlimited manipulation tricks can be incorporated into performances. It’s unclear, but hoops may be the prop of the year. We might be misinterpreting hoops for trick roping. It’s that unclear.

— You ARE going to be on the cover of Juggle Magazine!

— Gas prices will rise. People will be criticize their elected politicians. The weather will be unpredictable, but the show will go on!

H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R

By Kyle Petersen

As many of you may know, Dubé Juggling also sells professional grade hoops under the brand name Troo Hoops. Since hooping leaves your upper and lower body free, it’s only natural to combine hooping with other skills such as juggling and balancing. Juggling while hooping is surprisingly manageable. Balancing while hooping is more difficult. Here’s a look at what YouTube has to offer:

Below, the legendary Tony Duncan hooping while balancing a silicone ball on his head and contact juggling two more silicone balls. Fact: Tony Duncan spends 78% of his life with a ball balanced on his head.


Next, a mysterious unknown juggler juggles and hoops while balancing on a rola bola. Notice the cheesy and overly-dramatic music, as well as the furry white dog in the background and the small, messy apartment.

Below, the immortal Larry Vee hoops while riding a unicycle while spinning a ring round one arm while juggling! That’s four completely separate tasks at the same time! LARRY LARRY LARRY!


By Kyle Petersen

As far as we know, no animal (other than human) has ever been able to maintain a three-object cascade. That doesn’t mean that animals can’t do some pretty remarkable manipulation and balance tricks. Here’s a rundown of our favorites:

BEAR AND STICK

The following video features Claude the Bear from Japan showing off his fancy stick handling. Claude will be teaching a staff manipulation workshop in New York City this January!

DOG ON ROLLING GLOBE

This video features a Jack Russel Terrier balancing on a dog-sized rolling globe (AKA, a basketball). Go dog, go!

MONKEY BUSINESS

Below watch the Soviet juggling Gratchinow use a monkey as a juggling assistant and a juggling prop. We’re not sure what PETA would think of this, but that monkey has skills.

CANINE CONTACT

This well-trained dog gives Michael Moschen a run for his money with some fancy headstalls!

Do you have any videos of animals performing amazing tricks? Let us know!

By Kyle Petersen

Spaceballs!

The ball is one of the oldest toys on earth. For the vast majority of human existence, there’s been little innovation with respect to ball construction and design. With the advent of the industrial revolution, things began to change slowly. New synthetic materials and construction techniques made it possible to build balls of consistent weight and size. Even so, there’s been surprisingly few innovations with respect to ball making.

One group bucking that trend and trying to build a better ball is STEIM Amsterdam (STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music, Amsterdam), a “leading institution in research, development and facilitating live electronic music and arts”. STEIM has worked with Gandini Juggling to make one of the first electronic sound juggling balls. Each ball is implanted with a microchip, and makes a sound when thrown. The sounds are controlled though a mixing board, making it possible to play a song simply by juggling!

Juggling Sound Ball Demo from STEIM Amsterdam on Vimeo.

For another example of space-age balls, we have Australian juggler Phillip Edwards, who shows off fancy siteswap know-how as well as some fancy programmable balls. Edwards explains:

The balls are programmed to be a certain colour determined by the vertical distance from my hand. The colour ranges from purple at the bottom up through blue, green, yellow, orange to red at the top of the highest throw – like a rainbow.

It requires fairly precise timing to keep in sync with the programmed timing. Some siteswaps I do a good job with it; others are not quite as in sync.



By Kyle Petersen

Lovers of object manipulation owe a great debt to the art of Indian club swinging. First developed as a form of strength training, Indian swinging clubs are essentially two long, heavy clubs that are swung in a poi-like fashion. Club swinging became popular with British soldiers stationed in India, and it’s popularity quickly spread around the world. One informational pamphlet, published in the carefree days of 1866, praises the benefits of swinging clubs as a form of exercise:

This branch of gymnastics is one we strongly recommend to boys. In using the clubs the chest is expanded, – greater freedom is given in the use of the arms, the muscles of the legs and arms as well as those of the whole body are brought into full use, the wrist is strengthened, the grasp of the hand is made firmer, the circulation of the blood is regulated, and the health in general is greatly improved. If their use is persevered in, they will render the person who practises with them ambidextrous-that is to say, he will be able to use his left arm almost as well as his right in hurling, flinging stones, lifting weights, and similar operations.

Below, you can watch historical footage showing traditional Indian club swinging.

The relationship between club swinging and juggling seems natural. There’s some speculation that the Indian swinging club was the inspiration for the modern juggling club. A number of traditional club swinging techniques have been incorporated into modern poi spinning. Many jugglers have embraced the artform, putting their own spin on a historical artform. Anna Jillings writes Modern Club Swinging and Pole Spinning that:

Club swinging was reintroduced to jugglers in America by Michael Moshen and Allan Jacobs. Allan won the US Nationals competition at the 1983 International Juggling Convention with a club swinging and juggling routine, thus inspiring many other jugglers to learn.

Below, you can watch a street performer named Swing demonstrating her club swinging skills on the streets of São Paulo.



By Kyle Petersen

In the 1970s, American engineer and mathematician Claude Shannon invented the world’s first juggling machine. His machine, which was made from an erector set, used a bounce juggling technique to keep a three-ball bounce cascade moving. Bounce juggling was the preferred method because the ball is caught at the top of it trajectory, when it’s not moving. Below you can watch Shannon’s machine on a 1985 Canadian television show.

Since that time, however, there’s been little progress in making machines juggle–until now. Below you can watch Mark Muller and Sergei Lupashin operate a quadrocopter, which is a remote control helicopter-like device, maintaining a single ball aloft by bouncing it while in flight. Watching the video, it’s easy to see how another ball or two could be added to the pattern.


This is cause for alarm. Will juggling machines render human jugglers obsolete?

Dubé Juggling is proud to announce our annual Holiday Sale! Now through December 12th, use the promo code SAVEMORE to save 10% off orders over $100, 15% off for orders over $150, and 20% off orders over $200. Offer excludes gift certificates, combo sets, sale items, collapsible top hat and silicone balls. Offer cannot be combined with other promotion.

By Kyle Petersen

This is Japanese juggler Nobuharu Sato performing a very unique juggle act featuring an array of objects. Sato’s performance is reminiscent of routines by Michael Moschen and Greg Kennedy, but features some very innovative concepts.

Hat tip to Ministry of Manipulation for posting the video.


By Kyle Petersen

Dexter the Juggler

Sesame Street first aired 40 years ago, and has featured such universally recognized characters as Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster. However, one character you may not be aware of is Dexter the Juggler.

Dexter appeared in only two segments in the 1980s, and was manipulated by Kevin Clash, who controlled the head, and juggler Fred Garbo, who controlled the hands.

If the name Fred Garbo sounds familiar, it should. Fred is an American juggler, clown and vaudeville performer who has been performing since 1974. He was one of Brian Dubé’s first customers in the mid 1970s, and has been a regular at the store ever since. He has performed across the world, and currently operates the Inflatable Theater Company.

Although Garbo’s career has been long and successful, his stint as Dexter was not. Kevin Clash, better known as the man behind Elmo, has said that Dexter was Sesame Street’s “most spectacular failure”. In his book, My Life as a Furry Red Monster, Clash writes:

I puppeteered the head of the character and we found a talented artist named Fred Garbo to do the juggling while squatting under the camera’s frame. Talk about tough! Trying to coordinate Fred’s actions was next to impossible. Fred was the best, but this was asking too much. We spent most of our time in rehearsal rounding up dropped balls, stumbling over one another, and flubbing lines of dialogue – just try concentrating on what you’re saying when you’ve got balls flying around your head.

Even though Dexter only appeared in two segments of Sesame Street, his memory now lives forever thanks to the magic of YouTube. Below, you can watch Dexter in action. In the first half, Dexter juggles three and four balls. In the second, Dexter teaches the Sesame Street character Gordon how to juggle.


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