Music and Juggling

Both juggling and music can be exhausting to perform and becoming successful at either one relies heavily on one’s ability to develop muscle memory as well as focused, repetitive training. Having spent an immense amount of time practicing juggling and studying music, I have become interested in analyzing their similarities, differences, and how they can function together. There are some …

Songs About Juggling – Part 1

Juggling and music have many things in common. They each deal with rhythm and duration, can both be described mathematically, and both can be used to entertain both the practitioner and an audience. Most juggling acts are accompanied by music. There is even a long tradition of jugglers playing music while performing juggling tricks. I wrote an article on that …

Newly Discovered Film of the First IJA Conventions

1948 IJA Convention The archives of the Museum of Juggling History contain many hundreds of films, VHS tapes, and DVDs. Many of these have yet to be viewed or digitized due to time and financial constraints. Of all the films that have been viewed, one of the most remarkable is a film that shows at least the first, and probably …

Ryder Schwartz – Gone But Not Forgotten

Warren “Ryder” Schwartz was born Sept. 6, 1966. Growing up in Austin, Texas, he practiced gymnastics starting at age 3 and taught himself to juggle several years later after seeing Austin juggler Turk Pipkin perform.  Ryder took great joy in entertaining anyone who would watch. His performing career began at a Renaissance festival. At the age of 14, he was …

The Invention and Reinvention of the Plastic Spinning Plate: Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I detailed the creation of the plastic spinning plate by John Hyatt and his company, The Whirley Corporation, in 1958 and it’s great success. In this conclusion to the article, we’ll examine the many copycats that popped up to try to mimic the Whirley Whirler’s success, some unsuccessful variations on the design, it’s lasting …

The Invention and Reinvention of the Plastic Spinning Plate: Part 1

In the juggling world, some props change quite a bit over time while others remain the same. If you compare a modern plastic ring to one of Rudy Horn’s plastic rings from 1945 (shown below), the only real difference is the thickness of the ring. Rudy Horn’s plastic ring from 1945 (left) next to a modern ring However, if you …

The History of Poi Swinging Within the Juggling Community

The art of spinning poi originated with the Maori people of New Zealand. It is not known when poi dancing was created by the Maori, but it pre-dates their first contact with Europeans in the early 1800s and likely goes back to as far as 1500 A.D.. Poi is still practiced by the Maori, but for this article, we will …

Mr. Boomerang

As I research juggling history, I occasionally come across acts that are fairly unique. One such act that I’ve been aware of for quite some time was done by Australian performer Bevan Raynor, who is better known as Mr. Boomerang. Bevan originally worked as an acrobat and standard juggler in the 1960s, but eventually put together an act of sword …

The Great Whistling Diabolo Test

There are certain types of juggling and juggling props that have a bad reputation among large segments of the juggling community. Technical toss jugglers like to make fun of poi. People start to cringe when someone pulls out a bull whip or shaker cups at a festival due to the annoying noise. Another prop that gets a lot of disdain …