By Naomi Donabedian

Show Spectacular curtain call. Photo by Brian Dubé

Last Saturday, a full house of New York City jugglers and juggling lovers gathered in the Pratt Memorial Hall as Matt Guzzardo, Myles Kane, and Bernie the dog opened the Juggle THIS! Main Show. Because 2011 was the final year of the festival, the show was a final hurrah for the jugglers, spinners, and performers. The first hurrah, led by the hosts, occurred during the first half of the show. Quite a moving hurrah it was! Original members of the Pratt Juggling Club (organizers of the Juggle THIS! festival) had a chance to nail some club passing patterns on stage, best tricks went down in infamy, endless balls and clubs were juggled, and the hosts kept it moving with gags, skits, and the cuteness of a Boston Terrier. A fond farewell to the 10 years of great Juggle THIS! shows in Brooklyn.

The hosts and company nail club passing on stage. Photo by Brian Dubé

The show, produced by Viveca Gardner of Playful Productions, was heavy on juggling. In previous years the show has included diabolo, balloon twisting, gymnastics, hand-balancing, flag and break dance. Jacob D’Eustachio opened with strong ball and hat juggling with character and panache. Mark Hayward and Scott Spencer represented the “non” category with a hillarious yo-yo act matched with comic didgeridoo. Tony Pezzo brought a strong act of creative ring juggling that made rings fun to watch for all. Marcus Monroe (whose comedy club, knife, unicycle act the Dubé team loves to watch) was extra on point with “sharp” jokes just for the jugglers in the crowd and perfect timing. Doug Sayers always brings the A-game juggling you wish you had. Joëlle Huguenin roused an early-standing ovation with her club and ball routine. Joëlle’s juggling has an uncommon grace and poise for highly techincal juggling. Dream up any position or way to juggle and Joëlle could probably breeze through it.

The night’s most anticipated event was the “Best of the Best” clash of juggling titans. A collection of the last three best trick winners competing for ultimate title. Jay Green with plates and umbrella, Richard Kohut (aka Reese) with his infamous muffin clutch, were no match for winning Larry Vee’s combo Rola Bola, hoola-hoop, 3-ball cascade, while spinning rings on his arms.

Matt Guzzard in his custom shirt celebrating Muffin Clutch trick. Photo by Naomi Donabedian

Robin Hu, fastest diabolo this side of the Mississippi. Photo by Naomi Donabedian

The Juggle THIS! show isn’t over until the fat man juggles. Reese was the fat man at the Late Night Renegade Show. He attempted a new trick called the real ass grab, a ring caught where the sun doesn’t shine. Other performers included Robin Hu with speedy 2 diabolos. Meike Fromm spinning golden glittery boots made into poi also earned loud attention from the crowd for hooping on top of host Kyle Petersen’s back. A full house of rowdy juiced up jugglers (the student union served smoothies) rallied as Kyle’s mom to assist. It was Kyle’s moms second stage appearance in as many years. Where the earlier Show Spectacular show offered jaw-dropping technical juggling, the late show provided a laid-back social atmosphere, blurring the line between stage and heckler. Everyone was a comedian, and it was a great.

Kyle and Mother

Host Kyle and Mother. Photo by Naomi Donabedian

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