Dream Tricks Challenge # 4 – More Old School Juggling Tricks

The two first Dream Tricks Challenge articles challenged jugglers to attempt tricks that had never been done, at least on video. The results were quite amazing. The third DTC article provided readers with 12 old school or Gentleman juggler tricks or routines to attempt. This edition of DTC includes 12 more tricks that come from the era of Gentleman jugglers and those of the same general era or shortly afterward. Historical accounts tell us of numerous tricks done by jugglers of the late 1800s and early 1900s that the modern world has never seen. My hope is that some of these tricks will be resurrected by my readers. This should be a fun challenge, I think. You don’t have to be one of the world’s top technical jugglers to get a few of these, although they certainly aren’t easy, by any stretch of the imagination. As with previous Dream Trick Challenges, video yourself doing the trick and upload it to youtube as an unlisted video. Then send me the link. Prizes will be given to the best entries. Some of these tricks use knives. Please use dull knives when possible (Trick # 11), although that might be impossible in trick # 7. Nevertheless, please use common sense and safety precautions. David Cain, the IJA, and eJuggle take no responsibility for injuries resulting from attempts at these tricks. So, let’s take a look at this edition’s challenges.

1. Rupert Ingalese’s Four Pole Balance – This one is challenging, but I can think of several jugglers that might be capable of learning this. The photo below shows British gentleman juggler Rupert Ingalese (Paul Wingrave) doing a four pole balance. The illustration below it shows him doing a five pole balance seated. I’m looking for the four pole balance, but some might find it easier to do seated.




2. 5 Balls With Cup Sticks – This one should be reasonable, although starting the juggle may require the assistance of another juggler to begin the pattern. Small plungers can be used or you can make similar props. To learn more about cup sticks, click here. I’m looking for a qualify of 5 balls. If you want to try for seven balls, like the wood cut below shows, that would be incredible.


3. Salerno’s Lower Back Pole Balance And Hat Catch – One of Salerno’s tricks, shown below, was to balance an umbrella that was inserted into a cane handle on his lower back and then toss his hat up to land on the tip of the umbrella. For this challenge, simply balancing a pole or stick on the lower back / upper rear end and tossing a hat to it will suffice. One tip that might help is that the bottom of the pole will probably stay in place best if it is resting just above a belt. Also, the umbrella handle might need to be made longer than normal.



4. Selma Braatz’s 4 Ball and Cue Stick Trick – Selma Braatz balanced a billiard ball on a cue stick which she balanced on her forehead while juggling three balls. She would then drop the billiard ball off the cue stick and go into a four ball juggle while still maintaining the balance. The cue stick can be balanced on the chin, nose, or forehead and any type of ball can be used. Felix Adanos performed a similar trick, where he balanced a coffee pot on a pole on his forehead. The coffee pot held a ball on its spout. Adanos juggle three balls in a shower and then shook his head, dropping the fourth ball into the shower. This might be easier as the spout assured that the ball would fall in a specific direction. You can see Adanos’ version by clicking here.


5. Freddy Zay’s 6 Rings On A Unicycle With A Forehead Balance – For this challenge, I’m looking for someone who can balance a pole on their forehead and at least flash 6 rings while riding a unicycle. The unicycle doesn’t have to be tall.


6. Salerno’s Cue Stick Juggle And Balance Trick – Salerno juggled three billiard cue sticks while balancing one on his foot. While continuing the juggle, he kicked the foot cue stick up to a chin balance and then dropped it back to a foot balance. While you’re welcome to use cue sticks, the use of clubs is just fine for this challenge. If you can only do foot to chin or chin to foot, we’ll take whatever you can record, but it would be amazing to see someone do both parts.

7. Salerno’s Dumpling, Knife, And Fork Trick – Another Salerno trick was to juggle a dumpling, a knife, and a fork. While the dumpling was at the peak of the toss, he tossed the fork up so it stuck into the dumpling. When the dumpling (with the fork in it) finished falling, it was impaled on the tip of the knife. I’d recommend switching the dumpling out for an apple or some other fruit. I think this trick should be quite achievable.

8. The Four Person Saturn Trick – As the illustration below shows fairly clearly, two jugglers pass 6 rings while two other jugglers pass 6 balls with every passed ball goes through every passed ring. I would guess that doing a four count using large rings would be easiest.


9. 6 Club Passing With Head Bounce – For this trick, pass 6 clubs in a 2 count or 4 count and bounce a ball between the jugglers’ head 5 times without dropping.


10. Balanced Candle Stick Catch – For this trick, place a candlestick on a pole and balance it on your forehead, nose, or chin and toss a candle up to land correctly in the candlestick. If you need to you can make things a bit easier by using or making a candlestick that has a top that flares out a bit.


11. 3 Knives And 3 Balls – This one is fairly straight forward. Qualify a juggle of the trick pictured below; three knives in one hand and three balls in the other. Please use dull juggling knives!

12. 3 Ball Head Bounce – This is probably the toughest trick in the article, as there are only a few people in the world who can do a two ball head bounce. However, the Dream Tricks Challenges are about pushing the limits of what can be done. We do know of at least four old school jugglers who could bounce three balls on their head – Paolo Piletto, Konstantin Nikolskij, Massamiliano Truzzi, and Igor Rudenko. It is also rumored that Rastelli did the trick as well. The goal here is 6 bounces of the three balls, using only your head. Below are three photos showing some of the above jugglers doing the trick.

Piletto1Paolo Piletto


Truzzi3BallHeadBounceMassimiliano Truzzi


NikolskijKonstantin Nikolskij

I again have to admit that I’m very excited about this set of challenges, as I have a love of old school and Gentleman juggler tricks. I hope this article and the previous DTC article will help jugglers to start to explore some of the great tricks and routines of the past.


David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-six books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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