Hat Spinning – History, Instruction, and Performers

 In the final years of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, hat spinning was a fairly standard and common form of juggling. Today this art form is performed by perhaps as few as two or three jugglers in the entire world. For those who have never seen it, hat spinning can perhaps be best described …

Toss Juggling With The Feet

Most toss jugglers don’t know much about antipodism, the art of foot juggling. While they both share the term “juggling,” there isn’t much over overlap in skill sets. Some of the best toss jugglers don’t use their feet at all and some of the best foot jugglers don’t know how to cascade three balls. Obviously, this isn’t universal. Many toss …

Japanese Juggling With A Ball And Two Sticks

The title of this article is probably a bit misleading. While the form of juggling discussed certainly did originate in Japan and is still practiced there, it was picked up well over a hundred years ago by Western performers and was extremely popular at the early part of the twentieth century. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A December …

Breenos – The Forgotten Props Of The Breen Family Jugglers

One of the most influential American juggling families of the first half of the twentieth century were the Breens. Hailing from Lawrence, Massachusetts, Tom Breen made his debut in 1886 at the Weber and Field’s Theater in New York City. His wife stayed at home to raise their children and train them in dance and music, but she died young. …

Be Funnier With Scotty Meltzer: Hat Juggling

Variety performers have to wear many hats: writer, editor, director, performer, prop maker, agent, publicist, social media manager, even costumer. In any other form of theater, each of these jobs would be done by different people with different skills, different training, and different temperaments, yet most of us to do all these things and more ourselves. We don’t have to, …

Statue Juggling Tricks

In the first half of the twentieth century, a type of trick known as “statue tricks” was quite popular. Statue tricks consist of multiple balances on various body parts at the same time. There is no tossing involved, although in rare cases spinning may occur. Nevertheless, all of the objects being balanced or manipulated are in constant contact with the …

Rare Juggling Books (Part 2)

As I mentioned in part 1 of this short, 2 part series, the three major categories of juggling books are instructional books, historical / biographical books, and routine books (comedy, messages, patter, performance tips). I previously discussed six rare instructional books, including some that are now online. Now I’d like to discuss some hard to find historical, biographical, and routine …

“Throw Joy” Review

Wes Peden describes his latest juggling film “Throw Joy” as “53 minutes of sledgehammer hitting ice-cream cake.” Although his new offering has a much more straightforward title than many of his previous releases, that description is oddly accurate. Wes Peden fans will be delighted to know that “Throw Joy” features Peden’s signature creative, technical, innovative, inspirational, and periodically bizarre styling …

Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: Comedy Karaoke

Using volunteers is one of the easiest ways to get laughs. Adding a volunteer to a bit instantly makes it seem more spontaneous, raises the stakes, allows solo performers to do dialogue instead of just monologue, and creates opportunity for conflict—all great ingredients for comedy! But beware: Audience participation is such a powerful tool that many variety acts overuse it. In …