Newly Discovered Frank Le Dent Photos

Of all the work I’ve done as a juggling historian, I’m probably proudest of my research into Frank Le Dent ((1886 – 1948). Previously, all we really knew was that he supposedly juggled 11 balls. We also only had one photo of him. Through a year of research, I discovered a huge amount of information on him, including confirmation that …

The History of Juggling Balls and Beanbags

Balls and beanbags are the simplest of juggling props, yet virtually no research has been done regarding their development and history. The types of balls discussed in this article will be listed in the order of their first known historical reference. This does not mean that this was the actual order that they were in use, just the earliest recorded …

Videos From The Vault – Gypsy Gruss

Gypsy Gruss was born Camila Bouglione to the famous Bouglione circus family. In 1970, she married into another famous circus family when she wed Alexis Gruss. Gypsy is a multi-talented circus performer, having worked not only as a juggler, but also as a tightwire artist, acrobat, trapeze artist, trick cyclist, and equestrian performer. She debuted as a juggler at the …

Two Forgotten Mixed Props Juggling Combinations

As I’ve poured over the archives of the Museum of Juggling History and the IJA, I’ve noticed a couple of combinations of props that were once quite popular, but which are now more or less completely forgotten. They were both performed by gentlemen jugglers of the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can see both of them below, done by …

The Tube and Balls Routine

One particular interest of mine is researching props and routines that were once popular among jugglers but that are now almost completely forgotten. One such example is the Tube and Balls Routine. This routine used a tube and two or three balls to perform a variety of tricks. Let’s take a look at this routine’s history before we examine what …

A Brief History of the Pocket Pole Prop

The prop that I call the pocket pole is a pole that is balanced on the juggler’s forehead that has billiard style pockets / nets or cups in various locations up the pole. The juggler juggles balls and tosses them up to catch in the various pockets. The earliest reference I can find to the pocket pole prop is its …

Francisco Alvarez

Francisco Alvarez was a successful juggler and an important juggling historian. Born in Nicaragua in 1913, he came to the United States at the age of 12, settling in New Orleans. He learned to juggle at the age of 12 but also pursued an interest in art. Francisco  studied art at the Arts and Crafts Club in New Orleans. He …

Videos From The Vault – George Lerch

George Lerch was a popular juggler and slack rope performer in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. He was quite skilled both on stage and on the slack rope. He juggled with balls, rings, clubs, devil stick, tennis racket and balls, balls and tube, and ball bouncing. One unique trick that George performed was to stand on a board balanced on …

Joe Ortnes – The Stationary Juggler

Recently, some jugglers have taken to practicing juggling on a small, stationary platform such as a chair to demonstrate control of their juggling patterns. This “isolation” juggling has even been integrated into some WJF competitions. But long before the WJF was founded or anyone used the term “isolation juggling,” Joe Ortnes was a master at the skill. Joe Ortnes was …