Last Saturday I had the opportunity to see the latest offering at Varieté et cetera in Bochum, Germany. The current show features world-class acrobats, contortionists and a guy with a cube, but for my money, two performers stood out among the rest. One of them, happily, is the bounce juggler Abbdi.
At first glance Abbdi seems to share a background with the typical IJA member: At the age of eight, he joined his local Ethiopian youth circus. There, he learned the usual circus arts but his passion lay in juggling. His performance at Varieté et cetera was everything his website is not – polished, professional and error-free.
After the show Abbdi was kind enough to take me backstage to show me the small asteroid that is his granite bounce platform. At 1 x 1.5 square meters and 154 pounds, it requires two grown men to set it on the stage.
Like his marathoning countrymen, Abbdi seems incapable of doing anything at less than lightning-fast speed. His act begins with some token 3-ball juggling and then he quickly gets down to business: seamless transitions from one bounce pattern to another, culminating in a very nice, impressive 3-ball cascade performed behind his back and in the blind while squatting and smiling at the audience.
From there he moves on to a variety of five-ball-lift moves. He incorporates some neat patterns by employing his feet to tap the balls up and down off the platform. Then he transitions into a 5-ball force with nice variations, performed with the polished surety of someone who has put in a hell of a lot of practice.
He concluded his act with very solid 8-ball lift, which was followed by a pinball-like sequence of 8-ball multiplex moves. (Let’s just say I didn’t exactly siteswap it in real time.)
Most importantly, Abbdi’s performance generated an energy and enthusiasm in the audience that brought the entire show to a new level. In my opinion, this was due to his polished presentation, high-energy performance, and nearly flawless execution.