Interview with Eivind Dragsjø

 

Eivind Dragsjø is a juggler who currently holds the world record of 9 clubs, 11 catches. Last year he placed 6th in the Favorite Jugglers poll.

He was the youngest person to run the flash of 8 clubs. Here you can see the video.

Something that catches my attention is his young age. He is 18 years old, and is already a great juggler. I had the opportunity to talk to him several times and he is a great guy.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Eivind Dragsjø, I was born on 12 April 1998. I live in Trondheim, Norway. I enjoy being active and have been doing different sports all my life like football, cross-country, skiing, biathlon, climbing and juggling. For the moment, in my last year of school, and next year I’m going to spend a year in the military in Northern Norway.

How did you start juggling?

I started around September, 2007 when I was 9 years old and I in fourth grade. The sixth graders had a show of everyone at school; it consisted of a lot of different things like dancing and singing. And one of the acts was an act of juggling. I remember him doing tricks like 3 ball cascade, 2 balls and 1 club waterfall, 1 ball and 2 clubs cascade and finally a 3 clubs waterfall. He also made 2 balls in one hand which was very cool.

When I went home that day, I found all the oranges and apples I could and tried to juggle. A bit of 2 balls shower and 2 in one hand. I couldn’t do 3. I couldn’t even understand how it was done. I continued practicing a bit and eventually after a couple of days I got close to 10 catches with 2 in one hand. I tried some 3 ball shower as well and got some catches, but I found it really hard.

The same month that I got interested in juggling, we had a student living in our house for 2 weeks. And guess what, she knew how to juggle. She tried teaching me the 3 ball cascade, which I eventually did, but that took a long time. I was standing for hours just to get the 3 ball flash, including the catches. Just the 3 first throws of the flash took me hours to understand, so I won’t say that my progress in the beginning was good. It was actually really bad. But I enjoyed what I did and continued practicing.

7 months later, in April 2008, I was celebrating my 10th birthday. I finally got some juggling equipment: 3 juggling balls and 3 juggling clubs. After a 7 month period I hadn’t learned a lot of tricks. But now that I had my own juggling equipment, so the amount of practice escalated. I practiced a lot, every day and I started improving quite fast. The day before I turned 12 years old, I flashed 6 clubs. This was my first major goal in juggling that I achieved: to be the same age as David Haslam when flashing 6 clubs (11 years old).

So, you can say that I started juggling in 2007, since that’s when I was taught how to do the cascade. But 2008 is when I got some juggling equipment and really started practicing hard.

How did it you feel about breaking the world record of 9 clubs?

The feeling of getting the flash was insane, as you probably can see in the video. I was expecting to get a flash since I had been trying it for quite some time. But in reality, the plan was to go for a couple more throws than 9, so that I could drop some and still get it approved. One of the reasons I did this was because the lack of space in my hands. The second reason was that I found the thought of having a world record really interesting. When I attempted 9 clubs, I did everything from 9-14 throws depending on how nice the patterns was. And suddenly the 4th December 2016, I had an attempt where I did 11 throws I caught all of them. The fact that I caught all 9 was really surprising, because as mentioned, it wasn’t a part of the plan in the first place. That’s a big part of why I looked so surprised in the video.

Tell us how the process was leading up to making this world record.

I began sharing the thought of a possible grip for 5 clubs in one hand with Lewis Kennedy and Luca Pferdmenges in May in 2015 at the Dutch Juggling Festival. So, this was when I got the thought into my head. I only tried it for a couple attempts once every few weeks or so. It was like this all the way till some weeks before EJC 2016. At this point the patterns started to get better and I could do up to 10 attempts without getting any problems with my wrists. Wrist problems are actually the main factor with 9 clubs. From July 2016- October, I practiced 9 clubs more and more every day until I could practice 9 for 30 minutes a day without getting any wrist problems. To go for maximum 5 attempts a day, which I did before the EJC, to 30 minutes a day was a huge difference, and with practice you become better. So, after I increased my 9 clubs session to 30 minutes a day, the patterns got really nice quite fast. Faster than my 8 clubs pattern did. Then it was just a matter of time before I got the flash, because the pattern was looking good, but the catches turned out to be really difficult.

Tell us about your training. How many hours a day do you train?

My practice sessions are usually around 3 hours long. I usually juggle in a hall 4- 5 days week + some juggling in my house (with a low numbers of objects). I also find it important to do some strength and endurance training, so I do that a couple of days a week as well.

In terms of how the practice goes I start with 3 clubs doing some backcrosses, balances, pirouettes, and some research. And really just fun and relaxing tricks to get the feel for the clubs and become connected with my body.

I do very little 4 clubs and often skip it.

With 5 clubs, I do a mix of patterns I can run like backcrosses, 753, 645, half shower, and some tricks like 2 stage 720, 3 stage 1080, 5up 360 in triples and singles and some 5 clubs cascade to 4 clubs fountain + 1 club balance.

6 clubs is my favorite. I do pretty much the same combination with training runs and tricks as I do with 5. Run with 6 clubs fountain, 75, sync [33] (in [single, single] and [double, triple]), 756, 5 clubs + 1 club balance, half shower and 9555. Then I do/try some tricks like 4 up 360, 6 up 360, b97531, and 1 high 3 low pirouette.

With 7 clubs it’s really just running the patterns for as long as I can, and occasionally I attempts tricks like 966, 5 up 360 and 8x,6.

With 8 clubs, I first do some 4 in one hand, then 2-3 flashes of 8 and then I try to go for a couple more throws.

With 9 clubs, I attempt the flash and somethings more throws. And if I’m feeling really good that day. I maybe attempt a 10 clubs flash.

I always do 3- 7 clubs, and its rare that I skip 8, 9 clubs. With balls and rings I won’t go over what I do in detail, but it’s after my club session is done. I start my rings session with 5 rings and end with 10 rings. Some days I try 11 and 12. With balls I do 5-9 and a little bit of the 3 balls between drops. My main focus with balls is 7. I only do 10 or more balls when I’m outside in the summer and the weather is nice.

Tell us some of your future plans.

Some future plans in terms of numbers juggling would be an 8 club qualify, a 12 ring flash, and 12 ball flash. If we look away from numbers juggling, I would like to make an act that I feel proud of performing in front of jugglers and non jugglers. I would also like to travel more with my juggling and continue pulling of new and hard technical tricks with all props.

 

Tell us about your participation in the film Corrections.

During the summer of 2016, there was a lot of juggling and even more filming. Pretty much every day some of us who were in Corrections filmed some juggling. I got to experience the difference between a 4 minutes video and a 1 hour film. In Corrections, I have 2 sections. A 6 clubs section and a random section. The “random” section was filmed while Lewis Kennedy stayed in Trondheim, Norway and was planned from the beginning to be in the film. But the 6 clubs section was something I filmed later that year, that I planned to upload on my own YouTube channel. But after some talking with Lewis and Haavard, we came to the conclusion that it would be better to have an extra section in Corrections than having a 2 minute video on YouTube. I had a blast filming both sections, but it was especially cool to film in the hall with all the lights off except for 2 spotlights lighting up me and the patterns. This made the clip really sharp and clear looking.

I’m going to mention some tricks that took a long time to get into. It’s worth mentioning the 5 clubs 1 high, 4 low 2 stage 720; the 5 club 3 stage 1080 in the pattern 77d9700227722; and the 6 club 4 up 720.

I saw in a publication that you received a call from Sergei Ignatov. Tell us a little about that call.

Yes. In October 2015, I went down to Italy for a week- long masterclass with Sergei Ignatov. I learned a lot of technique which led me to getting better rhythm, getting a more stable standing position, improving my endurance, and also my numbers. The whole workshop was a great experience. The workshop is why he had my contact information in the first place. Over a year later when I got the 9 club flash, Kristian Wanvik sent the video to Sergei’s wife via Facebook, who then showed it to Sergei. I had barely taken my first steps out of school and turned off my flight mode when I heard that someone was calling. I checked the number and it said that it was from Moscow. I thought about hanging up, but then thought to myself, “whatever”, and picked it up anyway.

“Do you know who this is?” was the first thing the person on the other end of the line said, and I immediately recognized his voice and said “Is it Sergei?” which it was. He congratulated me and said “first when I saw the video I thought it was 7 clubs and not a good pattern, but then I saw that it 9 and I thought was really good. Later he said that he believed that I eventually could do 11 clubs,“ but that would take quite some time, at least 1 year.” I laughed and said that we had to see about that. Really cool that he believes it is possible to do 11 clubs.

Eivind and Sergey Ignatov

I wish you much success. Thank you very much for this interview. Can you give some final advice to our readers?

Keep your mind focused during every attempt of your practice. It’s better to have 10 minutes with full focus than 30 minutes with little focus. Don’t feel that you have to practice every singles trick during you practice sessions. Instead have around 5 things you practice that you focus extra much on.

 

 

 

Esteban Vélez es un malabarista autodidacta. Nació en Bogotá, Colombia. Tiene 20 años. Escribe sobre curiosidades en el malabarismo, entrevistas y varias cosas más

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