IJA Board Elections

IJA Board of Directors Candidates

Meet the IJA Board of Directors Candidates! The names of nominated IJA Board candidates are shown below, in the order nominated. Click on a name to go to the nominee’s candidacy statement, or scroll down the page to see all the statements.

Vote for up to three candidates in 2021.

Nominated Board Candidates and Their Candidacy Statements

The names and candidacy statements of nominated IJA Board candidates are shown below, in the order nominated. After reading the statements, please see the Voting Directions.

John Doe

I want to help the IJA….

I have been juggling since 1998, for the first decade as a student at the kid’s circus in Rotterdam (The Netherlands), attending as many juggling festivals as I possibly could. Since 2008 I am a professional juggler. My juggling has taken me to all seven continents. I have met many jugglers from different countries on those travels and performed in a wide range of shows. Through these travels and experiences, I have accumulated a unique skill set and professional network. As a board member, I would like to help the IJA get more members and revenue in the upcoming term.

Some of the different areas I could contribute are the organizational and marketing skills I acquired as the assistant theater and marketing manager of a 600-seat theater in Ohio.

– Through working with Karl-Heinz Ziethen, I published 14 books on the history of juggling, learning a lot about our art and sports background. I have received a better understanding of theatrical and technical juggling through the coaching I have received from Daniel Holzman, Viktor Kee, Freddy Kenton, Michael Davis, and Albert Lucas (all IJA Honorary Award winners).

– I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, which helped me find NDjuggling.com, bring back Tommy Curtin’s bottle club, design my shaker cups, and produce juggling equipment.

– I think teaching a future generation of jugglers is essential. I speak three languages. My juggling YouTube tutorials do very well. Also, I have been a juggling teacher at three professional circus schools. I would love to bring that experience to help the Youth Program and help produce educational video content.

I feel I am at the perfect crossroad in the juggling world to represent and understand various corners of the juggling landscape: hobby and
professional, theatrical and technical juggling. At the IJA, I have served as the European Representative prior, and I would love to get the honor and chance to be a board member next.

My name is Benjamin Domask-Ruh. I’ve been a member of the IJA for years! I’ve learned a few tricks in those years. My first trick, at age five, sent me to the hospital. (Transforming a penny in your mouth into a piece of clay in your ear is not clever!) I studied magic history and technique as a teenager. My dad, who juggled for 24 hours as a fundraiser in1984, suggested a magician should know how to juggle, so he taught me to juggle three balls. In University, I discovered my passion for teaching and was assistant to many professors. I had unique lessons because I utilized knowledge honed from years of learning magic. I started doing extra curricular activities to stand out on Graduate School applications. I remembered my father’s gift of juggling and founded a juggling club on campus. Our club was invited to perform around campus and around town! I discovered my passion for performing.

For the past nine years I have been self-employed as a performer and teacher combining my passion for teaching with my passion for performing. I travel all over the world, real and digital, learning and sharing the knowledge and joy of Circus.

My work has been called upon by Modern Vaudeville Press, a leader in academic circus publications; CircusTalk, an online network of industry professionals; and COMPAS, a teaching artist roster based in Minnesota; Circus Harmony; Trenton Circus Squad; and Campemento de Estudios Avanzados in Mexico as a guest instructor (and am now a certified Mexican Clown!)

‘Rendering Assistance to Fellow Jugglers’ is a natural extension of my abilities. Using negotiation and networking, I navigate the global entertainment and arts performance market. I utilize best business practices to thrive as a working artist. I build from my Psychology Degree to maximize efficacy in teaching. I am ready to bring my skillset to the IJA to continue making a hub for juggling resources while staying true to our mission. With your vote, the IJA will gain a leader who is a working professional dedicated to spreading the joy of juggling.

Hello, my name is Kevin Mercer. I have been juggling and performing, with my brother Kent Mercer (who is also running for the board). Together we are known as the Jester Rejects.

We have accumulated, over 30 years experience at carnivals,fairs, and circuses, throughout the country and internationally.

I am running for the board of the IJA to repay an organization that has made me the juggler I am today. I believe my experience in performance and juggling will propel the IJA forward into this next century.

This organization was founded by Art Jennings with the idea to help entertainers move their careers in positive directions. If Art Jennings could find the time do it, I figure I can too.
My website is: jugglingjesters.com

Hello, my name is Kent Mercer I am one of the Jester Rejects! I am running for the board of directors. I began my juggling career in the late 80s at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival my first experience with juggling was at that fair. Brian Wendling a former IJA champion taught me how to pass juggling clubs and I was hooked!

In the last 30 years I have been performing professionally as a juggler/clown all over the country and internationally! I perform with my brother Kevin Mercer ( Who is also running for the board) and we have performed in many different venues such as circuses, festivals, amusement parks, Renaissance fairs, and state fairs.

I believe that juggling is a good form of exercise and coordination while also displaying creativity. It is my belief that that combo helps develop young minds and older ones alike! I find the IJA to be an excellent organization to promote unity and family as I have seen many families in the past at these festivals it brings them together in a common bond! I also believe that common bond carries beyond blood relatives and creates family through the common bond of juggling. It has always been a personal belief of mine that you should expose yourself to new experiences and things you’ve never seen before or even thought of trying and juggling was certainly that for me! The juggling festivals I attended after learning to juggle really helped me in experiencing new and innovative things! It is from those experiences that I broaden my horizons! My website is: jugglingjesters.com

As a member of the IJA board for the last two years, I’ve contributed to board meeting discussions and I’ve worked on a few different projects. Last year, when we had to cancel the IJA in-person festival, I worked with fellow board members to throw the first ever IJA online festival. It was important to me that, despite public health restrictions, we all still gather together as a community.

I further embraced the opportunity of an online festival to expand our gathering to a wider, more global audience than those privileged and capable enough to attend the in-person event. Our online event was highly attended, and I was particularly excited about the many panels regarding juggling culture and the globally focused shows we were able to put on.

Beyond this public-facing project, I have also been working to migrate our documents into Google Suite for Nonprofits, which will allow us better ownership, maintenance, and stewardship of these records and documents into the future.

I seek to continue serving on the IJA Board of Directors, to continue to envision and pursue projects to expand our membership, bring our content to a global audience, and support and celebrate our community, and to drive our culture forward in inclusive and innovative ways.

Hi, I’m Aslynne Howes (Aka Princess) from Burlington, Ontario, Canada. I’ve been a juggler since 2010. As of May 2020, I’ve been a member of the Board of Directors for the IJA and the Chair as of May 2021. During my time on the Board, I helped with the IJA Online Festival in 2020 as well as other projects like the monthly IJA Hangouts.

I’ve been learning a lot about the organization as a whole and about the workings of the individual programs we offer. I hope to continue offering my support and ideas towards helping the members of our organization and community. One aspect of this that I would like to focus on is increasing the inclusivity and diversity of our memberships. For our organization to continue to grow, it needs to be a safe and inclusive place for everyone, and I would love to continue to be involved in the process for helping this become a reality for more people.

It has been thoroughly inspiring to work with such a great group of volunteers, members, officers, and board members over the past year and I hope to be able to continue serving our community as a board member in the future.