When one hears the term “bounce juggling,” the initial image that comes to mind is someone bouncing balls on the floor or a platform in front of them. However, a few jugglers have explored the possibilities of bounce juggling with the two other most common juggling props; rings and clubs. These props tend to be much more challenging to juggling in this way, but they may also open up technical and visual possibilities that can’t be achieved with balls.
Bounce juggling with rings is not as uncommon as many readers may think. It has been done for quite a number of years by a few professional jugglers who used custom made rings or bouncing surfaces to make ring or hoop bouncing possible. One of the earliest of these jugglers was Bob Bramson, the legendary German hoop roller and juggler. You can click here to see Bob bounce four large wooden hoops in performance. Bob started his performing career in the mid 1940s.
Another innovator in ring bouncing was George Sollveno, from Switzerland. In 1979, he began performing ring bouncing using standard rings, but bouncing them on a rubberized mat. Click here to see him perform up to a five ring bounce shower using this method.
In the early 1990s, Sollveno developed a plastic ring with a rubber edge on it, making the mat unnecessary. He even sold these rings, which he called “George Sollveno Jumpy Rings” to other jugglers, advertising their sale in Kaskade Magazine.
A third well known juggler who features ring / hoop bouncing is Vladimir Tsarkov from Russia. He debuted his act in 1984, performing as the Red Harliquin and juggling rings that are made of inner and outer hoops taped together. These rings bounce quite well, as you can see in the following video.
A more recent famous juggler to include ring bouncing in his act is Jochen Schell from Germany. Jochen makes his own bounce rings, which he began performing with around 1995. Click here to see the ring bouncing portion of Jochen’s act.
Ring bouncing has become more commonplace recently due to the availability of retail rings that bounce well. Renegade Juggling, based out of California, USA, has sold hollow “fat” rings for at least two decades. These rings, which are either one inch or a half inch in thickness, allow for bouncing tricks not easily done with traditional thin, flat rings. The Peapot video Cooking Fat featured variations on ring bouncing using fat rings. Below, you can see a video of David Cain and Scott Cain using the one inch fat rings for bounce passing from the 2001 IJA Teams Championship followed by a video of David Cain qualifying a five ring lift bounce recently.
Blake Speers has made an entire youtube video exploring ring bouncing possibilities, which is shown below.
Certainly, most jugglers don’t have clubs made for bouncing, so they use standard clubs to do their bounce tricks. Here’s Luke Burrage showing some solo club bouncing with three clubs.
Carey Pickford Jr. (CoolJuggler) has managed to qualify a force bounce of three clubs, which can be seen below.
There are still many possibilities to be explored with ring and club bounce juggling. Maybe some day we’ll see a five club force bounce or some other trick that we now would consider absurd.