By Kyle Petersen


Grandma had a problem. No not my grandma. Not anyone’s grandma, really. We’re talking about Barry Lubin, the man behind the legendary Grandma the Clown character. The renowned and  award-winning circus clown uses a giant hula hoop in his act. While great for comedy, giant hula hoops have their drawbacks; namely, their size. A 6-foot diameter hula hoop requires 19 feet of tubing. As you can imagine, this makes travel nearly impossible. Because of this, Barry would construct a brand-new hoop in every city he worked in. Upon leaving that city, he would simply throw the hoop away.

Barry called us asking for help. He heard about our collapsible hula hoops and wanted to know if we could make one for him. We told him that we could but Barry wasn’t going to take our word for it. He wanted to see the hoop in action to make sure it worked the way we said it did. No problem, we told him. We simply turned on our webcam and demonstrated our 6-foot hula hoop for him live via our Ustream account. After seeing it in action, Barry was satisfied that he had found a collapsible  6-foot hoop that would work for him. We sent it to him the very next day.

Do you need a unique or customized circus prop? Don’t be afraid to ask. We might not be able to make it for you but we can definitely try!

Via Morbuto on Flickr

By Kyle Petersen

Making money in the variety arts is a tough proposition. Gigs can be difficult to find and every gig presents an unique set of challenges. Here are some tips to help you survive.

-Always show up early. Event planners get really nervous when you’re not early. When they get nervous, they get agitated. When they get agitated, they make your life difficult. Make your life easy and get there promptly.

-When you meet your contact at a gig, make sure you remember their name. It sounds simple, but it is so easy to forget someone’s name when you meet them the first time. You will need this person. Their name is important.

-Does your performance involve music? Are you bringing your own sound equipment? If not, be prepared for complications. It’s best to bring music on iPod AND CD. In fact, you should also bring a number of different cables to connect your iPod to the system. Don’t ever assume that the event planner knows what they’re doing when it comes to sound.

-Is it a stage show? Have you seen the stage before? When talking to the event planner, make sure they understand the space requirements for your performance. Be prepared to adjust your routine if you don’t have enough space.

-Did they hire you to juggle at night? Will it be dark? This has happened to me. People will hire you without even thinking about the fact that it’s impossible to juggle in the dark. This is why light up LED juggling balls are a must have for any working juggler.

-BRING BUSINESS CARDS. C’mon. Really? You forgot your business cards? Really? Buy a bunch of cards, and put some in your suitcase. Put others in your car. Put more in your wallet, then put a few in your coat pocket. Now you’ll always have one near by.

-You will be treated poorly at events sometimes. This happens to everyone. Don’t let it affect your performance. Remember, the audience doesn’t know or care that an event planner barked at your or one of the guests made a snide comment. Just go about your business; you can always complain to your friends about it later.

-Be gracious and say goodbye to your hosts and the event planner. They will remember this. No one likes a prima dona juggler.

By Kyle Petersen

Arbitrary? Capricious? You bet! Here’s part two of our “Top 10 things” of 2011!

5 Quite a catch!

At NYC’s Juggle This! Festival, Reeses made what was, perhaps, the catch of the year. You can see the whole photo set here.

4 Marcus Monroe!

Marcus Monroe’s off-Broadway show was a bit hit! Produced by Hollywood legend Lucie Arnaz, Marcus’ show combined juggling, comedy, and something called “The Knorch”.

3 Kyle Johnson’s yellow balls

Kyle Johnson put together one of the prettiest juggling videos in a while after spending the summer attending festivals in Europe. Watch below!


Jacob Sharpe’s Pink Shorts video brought sexy and juggling together like never before. And yes, it’s ok for men to wear pink hot pants.

1 Unicyclists are the enemy within

Did I mention this list is arbitrary? Well what could be more arbitrary than picking yourself as the number one “thing” of 2011? This year, I was featured on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report in a segment titled “Unicyclists: The Enemy Within”

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Enemy Within – Unicyclists
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

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 :)

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