The Evolution of Juggling: Jay Gilligan at TedxHelsinki

We always knew that the guys at RenegadesignLab were doing something awesome.

But we never really new what it was or why exactly they were doing it.

Then we watched Jay Gilligan’s talk at TedxHelsinki.

We highly recommend anyone who has ever juggled a ball, a ring, or a club take the 26 minutes to watch this video.

Here is the link:

Jay smartly questions how the shapes and sizes of classic juggling props became universally accepted. “Why is this ring like this? Why is it this shape, this thickness, this weight, this material?”

The answers lead to profound and challenging conclusions about the limitless possibilities of the design of juggling props and their interpretive manipulation. From there he and his friends took a giant step through the looking glass and found unexpected creatures on the  other side. Props like a club with a hole through the middle; two rings melded together like a figure 8; clubs with flat tops; clubs with scooped out tops; ring like things that are square or triangular instead of round; long sticks with hooks on one side. . .  and you can tell that this is only the beginning.


After watching Jay’s talk the world of juggling just seems bigger and more beautiful to us–and makes us want to get a saw and a hot glue gun and see what we can come up with!


Know Your Audience

Every audience is different. As a performer you need to figure out the uniqueness of your audience, meet them where they are, and from there take them with you on a journey of discovery and entertainment.

Here’s what that looks like when your audience is a 15-month-old:

Our hats off to the unnamed juggler who isn’t above juggling for a “smaller” audience!

Tips For Developing Your Juggling Routine

Many jugglers feel the desire to share their skills with others but struggle to translate what they’ve learned into an entertaining routine. The Dube Juggling Blog recently posted “8 Tips to Develop Your Routine” that we found insightful.

Here are a couple of tips that we thought were particularly helpful:

-Drops happen. It’s a fact of life. Anthony Gatto drops. Jason Garfield drops. You drop. Be prepared for this eventuality. Pick up the prop, smile, and get back to work. Never show the audience your frustration!

-You might love siteswaps, but your audience doesn’t understand what they are. Just because a trick is hard, doesn’t mean that audience understands that. This is why the eat-the-apple trick is so popular–people get it!

-STOP AND STYLE! It is important to connect with the audience. Some jugglers are so focused that they never establish a connection. Make sure to stop and style a number of times throughout the routine. When you stop and style, you give the audience permission to applaud. Try to time your styles to climactic moments in the song.

Click here to read the rest of the tips.

Scarf Juggling

We all know scarves a good way to introduce beginners to basic juggling, but do they have a place in performance?

We think so, but only as long as you make it clear to the audience that you aren’t taking yourself too seriously.

Here’s a great example from Bret Wengeler:

JuggleFit-Juggle Your Way to Fitness

Even though Jason Garfield was kidding around when he posted his Juggling Tae Bo fitness video, we always thought he was on to something.

Juggling as an exercise program seems to make sense!

Recently we learned about JuggleFit from The Jugglers’ Lounge blog.

Heather Wolf, the founder and lead trainer of JuggleFit, created the company in order to provide a “new and exciting route to brain and body fitness through juggling.” She uses DVD’s and live training seminars to teach juggling as a calorie burner and brain enhancer.

We’re proud of Heather for bringing her joint passion for juggling and fitness together in this way!

Click here to watch Heather teach a juggling lesson.

Click here to watch testimonials from people who just learned how to juggle for fitness.

Juggling Nun

Is she juggling as a form of meditative prayer? Or just trying to raise a few extra bucks for the orphans?

Either way it’s good to see a nun juggling!

Dr. Don Rapp’s “This is the House that Jack Built”

Dr. Don Rapp has been juggling since 1940. He’s also been an educator for most of his life. Naturally, juggling has become a major part of his teaching repertoire.

Here he is performing one of his classic routines:

This article explains how Dr. Rapp uses juggling to teach kids about the connection between body and mind . . .

. . . but we were more intrigued by his simple, charming routine.

So often, observing the Juggling Subculture on the internet makes us feel inferior. So many great jugglers show off amazing routines with tricks it would take us lifetimes to learn.

Through this video the good doctor reminds us that a juggling routine doesn’t have to be packed with piourettes, or piled with props in order to bring a smile to people’s faces.

Michael Moschen at NYU


Michael Moschen has always propped up the performance-art edge of the juggling subculture. To him, juggling is art. Consequently his performances are less show and more art class.

This was the case at his recent appearance at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. An article in the Wall Street Journal aptly portrays Moschen’s presentation as half lecture, half demonstration, and fully entertaining and inspiring.

Even though Moschen’s view of juggling can often be dismissed as a bit pretentious–he opened his performance at NYU saying, “Hello . . . I want to make new things.”–you can’t deny that his passion for art has led him to create some of the most innovative performances that have graced the juggling stage.

Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article.

Click below to watch Moschen’s famous triangle routine. This video has been viewed on YouTube almost a half million times.

A Juggler’s Demise on Britain’s Got Talent

Here are two performances by Luke Clements on Britain’s Got Talent:

You can tell the judges enjoyed the apple eating, but they issued him a very specific challenge. Here’s what he came up with.

What a missed opportunity. If he could have found any way to get anything close to taking a bite out of that melon he would have moved on to the next level.

Also, the female judge Amanda made a great point that he should have led with his best stuff.

Sad to see yet another juggler “eaten” alive on a “Got Talent” show.