Juggler's World: Vol. 38, No. 4

Tips and Tricks

Fancy cigar box moves

(reprinted with permission from "The Juggler's Manual of Cigar Box Manipulation & Balance," by Reginald W. Bacon)

A tumble is a take-out with extra added attraction. The tumbles are so called because the outside boxes tumble end-over-end in an arc.

[cigar box diagrams]

Diagram 1 illustrates the basic tumble. Release the left box on the upswing and direct it up and to the center above the middle box. While the left box is taking a 180 degree half-tumble, grab the middle box with the free hand and bring it to the outside. Pin the bumbling box as it comes around.

The tumble is an audience favorite best put forth by alternate right and left side tumbles. Also try a 360 degree tumble, or a tumble with an end-turn combination.

The tumble with a toss combination is detailed in diagram 2. First, release the left outside box into a tumble all the way over to the right side of your pattern. The left hand grabs the middle box. Turn the right hand and box 180 degrees clockwise in position to make an underhand toss. Toss the box from your right hand to the inside of the descending tumbling box. Catch the tumbling box, then pin the free box in the home position. The toss makes this move appear quite complex. First try a flat, than a 180 or 360 degree clockwise toss.

Line up and juggle weirdly

Here's an easy and fun group juggling pattern that can work with three or more people. It's a variation of partners juggling, where one person's right hand and another's left hand work together in a three object cascade. But in this version, your right hand is working with one person while your left hand works with another!

A line of any number of people stand side by side, two balls in the right hand and one in the left. (It would work equally well with clubs for more skilled jugglers.) Up, down, and all toss right hand throws simultaneously to the left hand of the person on their left. You'll quickly notice that the person to your right tossed a ball to your left hand as well!

You have to respond to that toss with a left hand return, but watch out, the person on your left has just tossed one to your right! Everyone juggles simultaneously right, left, right, left, etc.

To even things out, the person on the right hand end of the line holds only two balls in the right hand and juggles using only that hand. The person on the left hand end holds only one ball in the left hand and only uses that hand.

The visual effect is one of balls flying first right, then left. From inside the pattern, you must keep your eyes up to watch for incoming objects. It's confusing at first, but a lot of fun. With enough people, you can bend the line around to form a circle and try an endless cascade!

Jongleurs chart progress

by Tom Sparough

The Jongleur Jugglers of Gainesville, Fla., devised a way to strengthen their routine and minimize drops in preparation for the IJA Teams Championship in San Jose.

John Creveling, Yvonne Wetherell and Mike Stillwell, veteran convention competitors, got fed up with their drops the previous year in Atlanta.

"It was just a mess, and we figured we had to do something," Creveling said.

What they came up with was a chart to use during their practices that kept track of their drops. They listed 13 sections of the routine they were preparing for the 1986 convention and went through the routine 10 times every practice session in order to complete the chart. Any time there was a drop, they checked the appropriate box corresponding to that section of the routine. They rehearsed troublesome sections an extra half-dozen or so times during their practice sessions.

"It was a very useful tool to look objectively at how well we were doing," Wetherell said.

"After 50 or 100 times you can see if there is any particular part really throwing you," Creveling added.

The team used the chart 35 times over a four month period before the convention, Stillwell stated. "Right in the beginning we had to be realistic and drop a couple of tricks out."

He said the idea was to make practice time more productive. The chart not only helped evaluate progress, it motivated them to get through the routine completely and with a specific goal.

The trio agrees that the chart added a helpful structure to the practice sessions. Wetherell said, "We tended to think we were a lot better than we were. We were very surprised to find out how much we dropped."

The chart adds an objective view missing during their regular public performances. Because of the comical manner they handle drops, the Jongleurs amused the audience even with technically sloppy performances. If the audience enjoyed the show, the group was also happy, Wetherell said. "We don't remember that we dropped. We remember that we had a good time."

But the IJA competition demanded a higher level of technical performance, and the chart system helped them achieve that. Stillwell found that he was also a little less nervous for the competition this year. "I was less nervous because I was being more realistic, as where the year before I wanted to do a perfect show." He had prepared himself this year for the fact that they were most likely going to have a couple of drops, and that took some of the pressure off.

One problem they encountered was trouble remembering exactly where their drops occurred unless someone watched them during practice. Friends really helped out, but after a while "all our friends got real tired of seeing that same routine," Creveling said.

But overall, they recommend the system to anyone seriously practicing a set routine for any purpose. "In past year we would just practice what we felt like practicing," he said. The chart gave them the insight to spend the time on the portions of the routine that needed the most work.

Performance tips

by Joey Jordan

Fingernail polish remover is an excellent solvent for cleaning props. They should be cleaned frequently to remove the buildup of sweat and dirt that makes them sticky.

Lanacane Lotion, normally used for sunburn relief, is very useful in removing the black residue of smoke from fire juggling. It will also help quell the pain of a minor burn.

Cocoa butter in stick form is a good healing ointment for hands that are chapped or cut from juggling rings and fire. I apply it after every juggling session.

Athletic tape is helpful to prevent blisters on your fingers when working with clubs and rings. I tape slightly above the middle knuckle up to, and covering, the top knuckle of my middle, ring and small fingers.

A teaspoon of honey will keep your throat and mouth from drying out during a practice or show. A dusting of baby powder will also help prevent sweaty palms during performances.

For those who wear stage makeup, lighter fluid is a handy cleanser to remove makeup stains from your costume. Just dab some on a towel and gently wipe the stain.

As you would never end a performance with a missed trick or mistake, nor should you complete a practice session on a negative note. If there is a move that you just can't accomplish at the moment, don't quit and finish frustrated. Drop down a level of difficulty and complete an easier move successfully before putting away your props.

Dr. Dropo's Comic Dictionary

by Bruce Fife

advertising: The art of making people think they've always wanted something they've never even heard of.

baby: A baby that's a healthy pink may also be a loud "yeller."

brutal: In order not to show anything brutal on the screen, most movies end just as the couples are about to get married.

circus: An amusing performance that carries on in competition with congress.

dexterity: Some jugglers have such great dexterity they can pick up a cent with their toes. But dogs have them beat; they can do it with their noses.

kazoo: The missing link between music and noise.

taxidermist: A man who knows his stuff.

think: You are what you think, and not what you think you are.

violator: A person who plays the viola.

with: The juggler who thinks he's a real wit is usually half right.

work: He who keeps his nose to the grindstone ends up with a flat face.

Tips and Tricks / Index, Vol. 38, No. 4 / jis@juggling.org
© 1996 Juggling Information Service. All Rights Reserved.