Juggler's World: Vol. 39, No. 4

Dutch Star Rises in Saintes

by Val Smith

[Michiel Hesseling photo 1]

The 18-year-old "dynamo" at this year's European convention was Michiel Hesseling of Amsterdam, Holland. His talent with balls and clubs make him very exciting to watch. He makes five club back crosses look easy with his smiling charm.

He began juggling just four years ago, practicing three balls with friends after school. They formed a small circus for a time, but Hesseling got bored and quit for about eight months.

Later he picked it up again and taught himself four balls within two weeks. Because his friends were juggling clubs, he tried it and learned quickly.

He met Lee Hayes, an American living in Amsterdam, and was introduced to "real clubs," as he describes his Dube models.

He met a lot of other street performers as well - Cyrus, Birdie and Andrew Allen. From the latter he learned devil sticks and the complex three ball Mill's Mess juggle.

Hesseling began performing with Hayes at the intermission of school band performances, weddings and in some local bars. The following summer he traveled to Paris, Copenhagen and Switzerland, eventually performing solo. However, he took a break from juggling to devote all his energy to finishing his last year of school.

Diploma in hand, it was back to the European streets again. This past summer's work included a job in Japan, where the language barrier made him adapt his talkative style to different circumstances.

[Michiel Hesseling photo 2]

He juggled back in Europe until the convention, where he won the five club and five ball endurance contests, as well as participating in the public show.

Hesseling's street show is high energy, fast paced, funny and amazing to even veteran jugglers. His character is confident, aggressive and in control. He enjoys interaction with the crowd and the spontaneity of the street. "It's nice to make people laugh and impress them," he said.

He appreciates the fact that he can make a living by doing what he likes, because money is important, too. He claimed he would not do his fire routine at the end of his show if it weren't so important to collecting a good hat.

He's not sure where it will all lead, but he's working on technique, routines and comedy. "I'm just looking around to see what's going on and find out what I like," he said.

Dutch Star Rises in Saintes / Index, Vol. 39, No. 4 / jis@juggling.org
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