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 …

Unique Juggling Acts and Routines: Part 2

As I look through the many thousands of photos in the archives of the Museum of Juggling History and of the IJA, I occasionally come across juggling acts or routines that are particularly unique. Unique acts are more rare than you might think, as good acts and routines are quickly copied by other performers. We see this now with jugglers …

Unique Juggling Acts and Routines: Part 1

As I look through the many thousands of photos in the archives of the Museum of Juggling History and of the IJA, I occasionally come across juggling acts or routines that are particularly unique. Unique acts are more rare than you might think, as good acts and routines are quickly copied by other performers. We see this now with jugglers …

Book Review: If You Are A Juggler by Alexander Kiss

If you enjoy juggling history books, then the last several years have made you very happy. The latest entry into the field is an English translation of Alexander Kiss’s book, If You Are A Juggler. This book is equal parts history and instruction. Let’s look at some background on the author of the book first. Alexander Kiss is one of …

Carl Baggesen – The Clumsiest Juggler of All Time

Carl Baggesen is not a name known by many modern jugglers, but he was a star in the days of vaudeville. Baggesen was born in in 1858 in Odense, Denmark and initially began performing as a contortionist, using the stage name of Klischnigg. In the early 1890s, he came to the United States to perform in vaudeville and soon developed …