The Language of Juggling

As noted by celebrated juggling essayist Jonathan Hermann, there is a link between juggling and jazz, both of which use various techniques to communicate to the audience. A key part of jazz musiciany, as it is technically called, is developing a language of licks and phrases that speak to those enraptured ear holes sitting round the round tables, drinking gin …

Have An Edge

One time I was performing for an audience that was half British and half German. I call this “picking your poison”. To many performing neophytes, the very notion that one must decide which segment of the audience you’re going to go after is anathema. “You must please the entire audience” they protest. No, you don’t. In fact, you can’t. More to …

Notes and queries and a case full of clubs: Style Notes

One word which is often bandied about in discussions and descriptions of jugglers and juggling is “style”. Some have it, some don’t. Someone juggles in a particular style, or has their own distinctive and defining style. But what does it really mean to have style, and how can we develop it in our own juggling? Let us start with our …

Juggling Related Injuries And Deaths

If you’ve been juggling for any reasonable length of time, you’ve probably had an injury or two as a result. Club juggling can result in bruises, black eyes, and bloody lips. Rings are notorious for cracked fingernails, bloody fingers, and cut webbing between the thumb and first finger. Diabolo string can give rope burn if you’re not careful. However, there …

Juggling and Jazz

The Juggler sees patterns like Miles Davis saw melodies. Both are merely the bones that outline expectation. People watch a pattern and see where it’s going. People hear a melody and assume it will repeat itself. And in those expectations, boredom emerges. Which is why The Juggler, as did Miles, understands that to keep the audience engaged, to keep the …

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Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: How to Steal a Joke

In last month’s column, Thou Shalt Not Steal, I wrote about an ethical way to steal jokes I called “switching to the bone.” The steps were: Step 1) Write down the joke you want to steal. Step 2) Write down the essence of what makes that joke funny. This could be the structure, the conflict, the type of ambiguity, the …

The Juggler Denies

Schadenfreude is not just the overwhelming desire for someone to make out with misfortune; it’s also what every member of the audience wishes would befall The Juggler. They want him to drop the ball, the ring, the club, the torch. They want his routine interrupted by the gods, by the weather, by a random muscle spasm or non-lethal aneurysm. They …

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Medals

Millions watch the Olympics, their eyes Krazy-glued to the television screen. They stare at the athletes’ bodies, sculpted from rock and honed by years of training. They cheer them on, choosing strangers to overcome other strangers based on their nationalities, their youthful looks. They adorn the winners with shiny, rust-proof baubles that will one day fetch a fair price on …

Notes and queries and a case full of clubs: Concepts

As has hopefully become clear over the course of my writings here, it is vitally important to me to tie conceptual ideas (theory) to actual physical work (practice). This link from theory to practice is easy to demonstrate in a workshop or classroom situation, but somewhat harder to visualise when writing about the process. I have already discussed factors of …