International Juggling Festival

I have been delinquent in writing about the International Juggling Association Festival 2009. It has been going on all week at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. See world-class jugglers practicing before your very eyes. Learn tips and tricks from jugglers from around the world. See the Cascade of Stars Friday night in the Stevens Center. For some reason the IJA Festival is not listed on the Convention Center website or the Stevens Center website. Don’t let that deter you. The festival is going strong. Even if all you do is walk into the lobby and peak into the first large meeting room on the left you will see things that you can see no where else in the area.

New MMX balls

MMX ballsI was given a set of PX3 clubs (made by Play) by my friends Henry and Nisha, so when I bought some the MMX balls made by Play, I had high hopes. They perform almost exactly as described,

“As soft as beanbags, these give a great smooth feeling in your hands and always keep a perfect round shape in the air. At the same time the MMX is as durable as a stage ball and easily washable, but doesn’t roll when dropped.”

They do differ from beanbags in that they will roll somewhat but come to a stop quickly because of the loose filling. I still use my beanbags in practice because I can do a two-finger snag in a desperate attempt to keep a ball from hitting the ground. Also the MMX balls will roll off your fingertips like any normal ball will if you don’t get a good grasp on it.

They are definitely more forgiving than regular balls, but not quite as forgiving as beanbags. They do look nice and since they remain spherical in flight I believe it is easier to control their trajectory.

El Circense

El Circense 3“La revista digital de circo que anda recoriendo este vasto mundo del arte, ese que nos hace respirar y palpitar con sus peripecias.” From in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In other words, “The digital circus magazine that recalls this vast world of art, that makes us breathe and throb with it’s adventures.”

Alan Plotkin Documentaries

Gatto DocumentaryI just bought Alan Plotkin’s documentary about the world’s greatest juggler, Anthony Gatto. I knew Anthony was good at a very young age, but I didn’t know he was performing as a professional at the age of 11. I also learned that Anthony gave up juggling for one or two years to start a landscaping business in his twenties. He said no one gave him applause when he was digging a hole to plant a tree. Alan Plotkin has also produced documentaries about The Flying Karamazov Brothers, The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Esther’s Follies and others. There is a whole universe that is being captured by filmmakers like Plotkin. I hope to catch just a glimpse.

Wes Peden and Patrik Elmnert team up

Wes Peden and Patrik Elmnert team up

“Loved by audiences around the world their show mixes new age juggling, extreme techniques, dance, puzzles, backwards ideas, backflips, smashed assumptions and higher 5’s!” From the YouTube description.

Triad Jugglers Association

Kernersville Parks and Recreation

The most recent incarnation of TJA was founded by Mike Pacyga. Check out his website. The Triad Jugglers Association meets once a month at the Kernersville Parks and Recreation office. Meetings are informal. Mostly we just juggle and throw things at each other. Jugglers range from beginner to fairly experienced, from 3 ball juggling to 7 club passing. Every one is welcome. If you don’t know how to juggle we can help you learn.

Our listing at the Internet Juggling Database (Contact information)

Directions: Directions to Kernersville Department of Parks and Recreation:

From I-40 Business go south on NC Hwy 66 for about 0.9 miles. Turn right at South Park Drive (there is a a big yellow and black sign that says Industrial Park South). On the right there is a tiny, hard-to-read sign on the right that says Kernersville Parks and Recreation. Turn right into the parking lot and drive around behind the fire station and drive through the opening in the chain link fence to the gravel parking lot. You can either go through the white metal door or the door with the window in it.

The next meeting is Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Come early, come late, leave early, stay late. Whatever fits your schedule.

Kernersville Parks and Recreation: 336-996-3062


katakomben“The purpose of the Katakomben is to provide a space where juggling can unfold. We have people from all over the world training for themselves in optimal and concentrated conditions, and many jugglers taking workshops from top professionals.

The Katakomben stands for development. Whether it be in technique, concepts, playing, routines, performance or personally. We have two times 200 m² of open training space (one with music and one silent) and seven partitions for focussed work. In addition there are nine fixing points for arial artists and a 100 m² dance studio. The rooms are 6 Meters high, well heated and wonderfully cool in the summer.”

There might be something like this in New York City or Las Vegas, but unfortunately there aren’t enough jugglers or circus performers in North Carolina to support a place like this.