2014 Stage Championships Preview

In a few weeks, the 2014 IJA Stage Championships will take place at our annual festival. Here’s a preview of what to expect.



Perfect Catch is the dynamic juggling team of Michael Karas and Jen Slaw. In 2011, Michael and Jen were excited to create a theatrical juggling show that would appeal to the theatergoers of New York City. An adorable 50-seat theater, The Canal Park Playhouse, agreed to produce their whimsical idea and the result was a huge success that it ran for two seasons. Perfect Catch: A Throw-mantic Comedy was named a Critic’s Pick by Backstage magazine and received a rave review from The New York Times, which cited Jen and Michael as “expert jugglers.” Jen and Michael continue to tour their show, promoting theatrical juggling as well as “huggling,” the combination of hugging and juggling. In fact, they set a world record in 2013 on live television for the longest huggling session without a drop: 33 minutes and 43 seconds. Michael and Jen are extremely excited to bring their unique style of juggling to the IJA stage. Enjoy the show and check us out online! perfectcatchshow.com, jenniferslaw.com, michaelkaras.net.

JUNIORS COMPETITORS (in alphabetical order)


Delaney Bayles is from Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a high school student who has been juggling for almost three years. Her recent accomplishments include a 2014 Groundhog Phil and the 2013 Juniors Title at the World Juggling Federation. When she’s not juggling, you can find Delaney snowboarding on the slopes of the Wasatch Mountains. Delaney is coached by Richard Kennison.JackDenger



Jack Denger Born and raised in Indiana, Jack started juggling in 2005 at the age of seven. His mother bought him his first set of juggling balls for Christmas, after his family saw Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba in Orlando. What began as a hobby eventually turned into a passion. Jack won first place at WJF4 in Hartford, CT at the age of ten in the beginner’s competition. He went on to win five XJuggling competitions and two numbers championships at various IJA events, the silver medal in the IJA Juniors Championships in both 2011 and 2012, and the IJA People’s Choice Award in 2012. Jack is excited to compete again in the IJA Juniors Competition this summer in his home state.


Patrick Fraser is a juggler from Stratford Ontario, Canada. He is a two-time bronze medalist in the IJA Juniors Championships. When Patrick is not juggling, he spends his time learning theoretical physics.JohnWitte





John Witte is 16 years old and was born in the mystic land of Canada where Zambonies roam free, and “eh” is more commonly used than any other word in the English language. Part of John’s creative process involves eating poutine and stuff. When John is not recklessly throwing objects in the air, he is … well, that’s all he ever does. John has been juggling for six-ish years, and this will be his fourth IJA but his first time competing.


Yusuke Yokoyama is 17 years old. He has been juggling for four and a half years. This is his second time competing in the IJA Juniors Championships. Last year, he won a silver medal.









Kevin Axtell An active IJA member since 2003, Kevin is now performing juggling and fire dancing full time with the West Coast performance troupe Mountain Motion. A sensational spinner and talented tosser, Axtell walks the line between the modern worlds of juggling and flow arts. He dreams of someday living in a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.






INDIVIDUAL COMPETITORS (in alphabetical order)


Kota Hayashi In October 2013, Kota won the “Santamao” or “three-ball king” competition in Japan. In March, 2014, he won Japan’s “Jagunagi cup” juggling competition. YusakuMochizuki







Yusaku Mochizuki While majoring in imaging science at Kyushu University, Yusaku also learned juggling, tap dance, and pantomime and wrote his thesis on his experiences street performing across Europe. He is currently a student at the Graduate School of Tokyo University of the Arts, majoring in inter-media art. Since 2001, Yusaku has been fusing works of video art and juggling, in videos such as Zero Ichi Gei and Windmill. He won the bronze medal in the 2009 IJA Championships. Beyond the boundaries of a performer, he continues to stay active as a researcher and a producer.


Kellin Quinn If three clubs were a chocolate bar, Kellin would be an Oompa-Loompa. Born in St. Louis and raised on the Internet, Kellin has been a finagler of the juggling game since for a while. Combining the fun, party, and funk of Katy Perry with the mind-melting visuals of Chowder, Kellin creates a performance that leaves the audience thinking “…ok?” KentaroTsuchiya




Kentaro Tsuchiya started juggling at around 10 years old. At 15 he won runner up at the Japan Juggling Festival, and in 2004 he won runner up in the ball division at Nagoya City. The art of foot juggling is one of his specialties.

Thom Wall ThomWallIf we had a prize for great hair, we’d give it to Thom. Unfortunately, that category doesn’t exist yet, so he’ll have to settle for juggling in the Individual Stage Championships. Based in St Louis, Missouri, Thom enjoys old-school juggling, new-school circus, and drinking lots of black coffee.



TEAMS COMPETITORS (in alphabetical order)

duck and cover 2

Duck and Cover Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Steve Birmingham and Leif Pettersen perform under the name Duck and Cover (more of a warning to bystanders than a name). For over 25 years, they have specialized in making the impossible routine and the routine impossible. Their style can be described as a combination of club passing and kung fu on a trampoline. Videos of their work can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/StephenBirminghamInsJug1


The Institute of Jugglology Ellen Winters and Galen Harp of The Institute of Jugglology juggle to get out what’s inside. For them, juggling is a state of arrested decay, a pattern woven through time and space that is constantly falling apart only to be rebuilt in the same moment. These patterns/cycles/habits hold everything together from the universe to the amount of cream you had in your coffee this morning.




The Nine Hips are a subset of the Madison Area Jugglers from Madison, Wisconsin. When it comes to juggling, they’ll pass. Their members are Scott Krause, Nick Aikens, Graham Paasch. Steven Clipson, and Melonhead.


Best of luck to the competitors, and it looks like the rest of us are in for two great shows. See you in Indiana!

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