EJC 2014 – Open Stages

This is the second in a three part series. See part one: EJC 2014 – General Review. Part three will be about the Legends of the Stage and Gala shows.

Before I get into the review, I want to give a big shout out to the wonderful photographers who let me reproduce their work (over 150 photos) in this article. Thanks  to Luke Burrage, John Mc, Joke Schot, Inge Picqueur, Vincent Groenhuis, and Florian Letsch! See links to their full EJC albums at the end of this article.

Every night of EJC is a major show. For the first nights, the main shows are Open Stages where people volunteer to go on stage and show off their latest moves and styles. A vast majority of the acts are polished routines that have been performed at other festivals or venues. I met some people that avoid going to the shows, but for me they’re a real highlight.

The Open Stage shows in Millstreet were all organized by Pola Brändle from Germany and Anna Kemp from Italy. The did a truly fantastic job of bringing us high-quality acts night after night.

Saturday Night

The opening night show was emceed by Eljoh Sneep from Holland.


Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage

The first act to brave the stage was Joseph Viatte from Switzerland. He came out very serious and surprised us with some great manipulations with a banana (reminiscent of Bananashigi spoof from a few years ago – though Joseph said he wasn’t familiar with it when he came up with his routine). There are actually great effects that can be done incorporating moves from contact and Buugeng (S-Staff). Joseph built up to work with 2 bananas and culminated his act by eating the banana. It’s hard to explain but it was really clever and the audience loved it.

Joseph (1) Joseph (2)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Next up was Lisa Mcphee from Australia. She performed acro and contortion with a dream theme and did a lot of interactions with a chair.


Photos courtesy of Vincent Groenhuis, Luke Burrage

Jonathan from France came on next with hula hoops which he juggled and manipulated. He had a very likable character and his act ended with him juggling 5 hoops.

Jonathan (1) Jonathan (2) Jonathan (3)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

The fourth act was Nikki Sneep-Snidjers from Holland (yeah, she’s the wife of the emcee). She did a classic devilstick act that was enhanced by her flexibility and big smile. She had a great energy and did lots of tough tricks with 1 and 2 devilsticks.

 Nikki (3) Nikki (2) Nikki (1)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Miguel from Mexico City presented “The Horse Dance” with juggler’s interpretation. He came out in traditional Central American Indian garb and a clown nose. He started with a bit of 3 ball juggling and then did an absolute lot of dancing as if in some sort of trance.

Miguel2 Miguel

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Ariane Oechsner from Germany came on next with her ball act. She worked with balls and specializes in body placements and working her feet. Much of her act was sitting on the edge of the stage and working with her hands and feet. My favorite trick was her mills mess combining her hands and foot catches. Ariane ended with a lovely statue form with balls on her head, shoulders, crutch of hip, and sole of foot, while juggling 3 balls.

Ariane (1) Ariane Ariane (2)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

“Colonel” Ty Fitzsimons from Australia performed the only spoken routine of the night. He told us about his journey to EJC, punctuated with acrobatics and more than a few story-telling embellishments.

Ty (3) Ty (2) Ty (1)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

The evening’s finale was Asaf Mor from Israel, who performed 3 clubs with serious intensity. He built visual structures with clubs and his body. His act incorporated swinging and lots of sudden bursts of energy with catches in unsuspecting places. Watch the full routine on youtube.

Asaf Asaf (2) Asaf (1)

 Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

And here’s the final bow:

Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Sunday Night

Ty from last night’s stage was the emcee this time.

“La Pieds Jaloux” is a 4 person troupe from France. Christophe Travert, Jerome Travert, Rami Sainct, and Denise Maurice are hobbyists but obviously invested a lot of time practicing to put together a great act. They started with a couple doing acro-dance that kept getting bothered by the 2 guys passing in classic Las Vegas style. The interruptions and interference soon turned to interactions as all 4 passed in a myriad of acro-passing patterns. They did and a double-feed between two pairs of shoulder-stands. Unfortunately they missed a few attempts at their finale trick of 3 person high shoulder-stand with all three juggling.

 LaPieds (1) LaPieds (5) LaPieds (2)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Next up was Richard Hartnell from the US. The ladies behind me described him (and/or his juggling) as “completely gorgeous” and they couldn’t top giggling. Richard did some sweet contact juggling with 1, 2, and 3 balls, with some original combinations on the undersides of his arms.

Richard (2) Richard (1) Richard (3)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Danielle Good from the US was up next with confident and sexy poi swinging.

Danielle (1) 10561588_708147915926708_8962332890513862896_n Danielle (2)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage, Joke Schot, Luke Burrage

Next, a really original act was performed by Guido van Hout of Holland. He had plastic bags with rings on the lips that formed what everyone agreed looked like over-sized condoms. This enabled them to drop very slowly in parachute form and when they landed, they were also able to stand up inflated. Waving a fan underneath also filled them with air and caused the jellyfish-like props to float ethereally around the air.

1043928_708148235926676_7326028964406603087_n 1662416_708147939260039_935395516190747171_n Guido (1)

Photos Courtesy of Joke Schot (x2) and Luke Burrage

“Poki” (Matthew McCorkle) from the US was a comic gentleman with a wooden hoop. His clever character was very likable, like a modern day Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton.

Poki (3) 10384537_708148302593336_2544227485119366547_n  Poki (1)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage, Joke Schot, Luke Burrage

Van Kim‘s dramatic piece was performance movement that seemed to me like an exorcism. He did full-body contact juggling while removing his clothes.

VanKim (2) VanKim (3)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Mieke Lizotte is an Australian hula hooper. Her forte is gymnastic poses such as a handstand while hoping around her toes. She ended with multi-hoop manipulation and spinning.

Mieke (1) Mieke (2) Mieke (3)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

The finale act Sunday was James Burke from Canada. He did flashy club twirling highlighted with blind trap catches and improbable balances.

James (2) James (1) James (3)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

In a surprise return to the stage, “La Pieds Jaloux” came back to try one more time with their finale trick and they stuck it their first try. Amazing!

LaPieds (3) LaPieds (4)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

And here’s the final bow:

Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage


Monday Night

The emcee for the evening was Eva Schubach from Germany.

Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage

The opening act was Ofek Snir and Sagi Bracha (both 15 year-olds) from Israel. They performed “Sock It” which refers to the fact that they were each wearing one sock, which makes it easier for them to do faster pirouettes. And pirouettes they did! Ofek is a master of multiple pirouettes under as much as 7 balls, and Sagi pulled off a 5 club pirouette on the stage. They were totally hot stuff (actually, “stuff” isn’t what I wrote in my notes, but this is a family magazine).

Sock It 10582763_10153096416229741_407036644891934985_o Sock It (1)

Photos Courtesy of John Mc, Florian Letsch, John Mc

I was surprised that it took until the third night for a diabolo act to come on stage. Pierre from Belgium did acrobatic diabolo. My favorite move had him wrapping the string around his body and then snaking the diabolo down around the spiral.

Pierre (2)  Pierre (1) Pierre (3)

Photos Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Verena Ra-Rau from Germany performed next as Pokemon trainer, Misty. She did a sexy 3 ball and 3 club routine.

1507246_10152172285571851_4257694589735893980_o Verena (1)10575387_10153096416274741_4618310192532720601_o

Photos Courtesy of Inge Picqueur, Luke Burrage, Florian Letsch

Next up was Eddy from England doing balls. He started with headrolls and tons of smooth 3 ball work and lots of nice body rolls and a 3 ball chest-roll shower.

Eddy (1)Eddy Eddy (2)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, John Mc, Luke Burrage

Tiana Zoumer from the US has a quirky – but totally awesome – style with hula hoops. She had some super fast manipulations around various extremities, but what I liked most were her unique spinning around her forehead and also her nose! Watch the full act on youtube.

Tiana (1) Tiana Tiana (2)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, John Mc, Luke Burrage

The first Irish performer on the Open Stage was Aaron Kemp who worked with balls. He juggled with 3-5 balls, including a super low 5 ball shower, and then did a number of 6 ball patterns before ending with a flash of 7.

Aaron (1)Aaron Aaron (2)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, John Mc, Luke Burrage

Greyham Milligram, also from Ireland, was also the second diaboloist. His specialty was suicides and genocides with throws and catches caught in unexpected places. He had way too many infinite suicide variations. Watch all the action on youtube.

Greyham (3) Greyham (2) Greyham (1)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage

Casey Wood from Australia did some great juggling with her hands and feet. She also did a handstand with a ball on her foot (my notes say the bottom of her foot but the picture either shows a different trick or I jotted it down wrong).

Casey (1)  1090879_10153096416599741_5136912584118382306_o 10497953_10152172287016851_7196839167149483094_o

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, Florian Letsch, Inge Picqueur

Up next were Patrick Heilmann and Julian Roberts from Australia doing a waiter act complete with red clown noses and very expressive eyes. They put 2 volunteers through a date scene while one of the waiters put his arms through the male’s jacket sleeves from behind. The meal culminated in a romantic shared spaghetti strand.

Waiters (1) Waiters (3)  Waiters (4)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage

Last up was Iver Tronstad from Norway. He went through the paces with 3-5 balls, 7 balls, 3 clubs, and 5 clubs, all performed with an attitude. He incorporated his baseball cap a couple times such as juggling 3 clubs and his hat and also balancing a club on the brim of the baseball cap. His 5 clubs was performed with mixed spins and then backcrosses. Iver ended with 6 clubs and nearly qualified 7 clubs on stage.

Iver (3)  10562578_10153096416799741_1541771532508102282_o 10520511_10152172287496851_7198680607800154961_o

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, Florian Letsch, Inge Picqueur

And here’s the final curtain call.

Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Photo Courtesy of Luke Burrage

Tuesday Night

Tuesday night’s show wasn’t the usual Open Stage, but an Irish Night of just local performers. The show opened with an Irish samba parade circling the audience.

The emcee for the evening was Ken Fanning of the Tumble Circus.

Irish Emcee

Photos Courtesy of Inge Picqueur

Gail O’Brian opened the evening with LED hoops to the beatboxing rhythms of Rodrigo. We know Gayle’s skills from her recent Tricks of the Month video, but it was greatly enhanced on stage by her animated props. The still images don’t capture it, but the spots you see on the hoops were spinning around and sometimes it matched the movement of the manipulation but other times it was against the actual rotation, which gave the effect of a car sliding backwards with its tires spinning forwards. The perceived physics created awesome illusions.

Gayle (2) Gayle (1)

Photos Courtesy of John Mc

Soccer ball juggler, Edwin Longbottom, was next to take the stage. His crazed, screaming character executed some nice spinning ball curls including while cartwheeling. He also did a lot of body shots as he juggled 3 balls, and ended with some 4 ball siteswaps.

Edwin (1) Edwin (5) Edwin (4)

Photos Courtesy of John Mc

The routine that surprised me the most was Pol Hanrahan‘s ring juggling. I had low expectations when he took the stage (probably because of his age), but I quickly enjoyed his wonderful, original style. His forte are tricks where he juggles while his appendages are locked in the rings like handcuffs. Sometimes it’s his hands or his head or legs, but often a combination of extremities that are tangled up in the rings. It was creative and skillful and well-executed.

Pol (3) Pol (2) Pol (1)

Photos Courtesy of John Mc

Next up, Niall Tuohy presented mesmerizing poi swinging. My favorite part were his wonderful releases.

Nial Nial

Photos Courtesy of Vincent Groenhuis, Joke Schot 

During the next transition, Ken the emcee brought up “the only living Australian leprachaun” who turned out to be”Colonel” Ty. He started with some fancy dancing and flipping, and ended with a hand-to-hand handstand with Ken.

Emcee (2) Emcee (3) Emcee (1)

Photos Courtesy of John Mc


Colm O’Grady came out as “Jonny Logan, Eurovision winner” and did a hysterically funny trick bike act. He started by playing a song on bike horns, but the real fun was when he brought a female audience member on stage and wooed her with a striptease as he cycled around her. He kept the action going and maneuvered the bike from every possible (and impossible) position – facing sideways, backwards, pedaling with his hands, stepping on the wheels, and standing full upright on the seat and handlebars. It was a great combination of outrageous character, entertaining patter, and all the big tricks possible on a trick bike.

Jonny (1) Jonny (3) 10533909_10152173567721851_4031378795118505938_o

Photos Courtesy of John Mc (x2), Inge Picqueur

The finale performer was Darragh McLaughlin, who performed his piece, “The Whistle.” Whenever he tweeted, we had to either close our eyes or open them. Each time we opened our eyes, there was some sort of surprise. Sometimes it was a rewind of something we previously saw, sometimes he skipped ahead, but there was always something unexpected. It was really cool how he could make it interactive with 1200 people at once, but make each of us feel like we’re part of the effect (if you cheat, you lose; but based on the laughter upon each eye opening, most people played along). There was actually some cool juggling at the end, but the main thing was the humor of the time-warping effects. [Apparently all the photographers also kept their eyes shut, because I couldn’t find any photos of this act. Therefore, Darragh provided a stock photo for me, and I also made my own artist’s rendition of what was going on for about half of the act.]

_MG_5898 Aarhus, march 27 2014 Photo by TOKE HAGE Darragh2

Photo courtesy of Toke Hage; artist’s rendition by Scott Seltzer

Irish Night curtain call:

Irish Curtain

Photo Courtesy of Vincent Groenhuis


Wednesday Night

Cam Yee and Ariane Oechsner were the emcee duo for the night.

Photo courtesy of Luke Burrage

Tchatchu from Brazil opened the evening with some clowning antics with scissors, a club, and a ring attached to string inside of his trenchcoat. Amidst a lot of dust powder, he also did some 3 club manipulation and top spinning.

Tchatchu (2) Tchatchu (1)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage

Celestin was up next with dramatic and graceful tissue.

Celeste (6) Celeste (4) Celeste (3)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage

Kathrin “Pancakes” from Germany specializes in ring juggling. Her trademark seemed to be UFO throws which she threw from three as backcrosses and also a nice run with five.

Kathrin (2) KathrinLichi (1)

Photos courtesy of John Mc, Luke Burrage, John Mc

Lucas Gardezani Abduch from Brazil took a break from videoing to treat us to some diabolo. He had a lot of slick tricks with 2 diabolos, including a double hyperloop pirouette. I also liked his many suicide and genocide variations with 1 diabolo.

Lucas (3)  Lucas (2)Lucas (1)

Photos courtesy of John Mc, Luke Burrage, John Mc

Lichi Sánchez from Uruguay came out dressed as a synchronized swimmer. What I recall is contact juggling while wiggling his butt. Actually, minimal contact but maximal wiggle. Entertaining nonetheless.

Lichi (2) Lichi Lichi (3)

Photos courtesy of John Mc, Luke Burrage, John Mc

Next up, Olive Marie did a dreamy hula hoop act to the tune of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka.

Olive (1) Olive (2) Olive (3)

Photos courtesy of John Mc

Aidan from England worked with clubs. He started with 1 and did some nifty manipulation to a mouth catch. He followed that with balance catches with 1 and 2 clubs before he moved on to 3 which included lots of scissors catches and body rolls. With 4 clubs, Aidan did some nice chest balances and multiplexes and then he ended with 5 clubs.

Aidan (3) Aidan (1) Aidan (2)

Photos courtesy of John Mc

Copper Santiago from the US studies at the New England Circus Arts Center. Her trapeze act had striking poses which highlighted her flexibility.

Copper (1) Copper (2) Copper (3)

Photos courtesy of John Mc

Oliver Palmer is a gentleman juggler from France (his stage name is after Gaston Palmer). He started by juggling a hat, gloves, and a cane, and then throwing the hat up to catch the gloves in midair before landing on his head. Next, he flipped his cigar and hat from his cane up to his mouth and head in one swift move. He balanced his cane on his face and tossed the hat up, and then dropped the whole thing down to his cigar, and then to a foot balance, and then back up to the cigar. For the finale of his finale, Oliver spun 2 rings on his leg, 3 on each arm, and balanced his hat on the cane on his forehead. Watch his full routine on youtube.

Oliver (4) Oliver (3) Oliver (2)

Photos courtesy of John Mc


Thursday Night

The final Open Stage began with emcee Ell Bella from Australia coming out in high energy like a prizefighter.

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage

Photo courtesy of Luke Burrage

The first act of the night was Julian Sæther from Norway. Julian confided in me that he only juggles balls (Russians, not beanbags). He started with 3 and then moved up to 5 with overheads, shower, and mills mess. He did an insanely long run of 7 balls and then did 9 starting with a kickup.

Julian (3)Julian Julian (2)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, John Mc, Luke Burrage

From New Zealand were The Hoop Hooligans, starting with The Quizzical Mr. Jeff. He started with hoop manipulation including nice effects with isolating in one hand and spinning 2 others in the other. He tangled quite a few hoops around his body and somehow pulled it off in a big globe. His partner, Rewi, came out and they did synchronized moves and illusions with 8 hoops each. The pictures are stunning but the kaleidoscope movements were truly mesmerizing.

Hoops (1) Hoop Hoops (2)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, John Mc, Luke Burrage

Diaboloist Tim Schulze from Germany came up to debut his new act which was smooth and dreamy. He specialized in stick releases with 1 and 2 diabolo, and did lots of tricks with 3. His finale trick was a double-stick release genocide. Watch the full act on youtube.

Tim (2) Tim Tim (3)

Photos courtesy of John Mc, Luke Burrage, John Mc

Riky Riccardo Tanca from Italy started by doing ring figures with a ring pendulum metronome. He also did some interesting blind-folded manipulation.

Ricky (2) Riky Ricky (1)

Photos courtesy of John Mc, Luke Burrage, John Mc

Fred (Frederike) Gerstner from the UK started her act by balancing and swinging clubs. She had lots of spinning moves with 3 clubs and many 1/2 spin tricks (no, the wrong-end catches pictured aren’t mistakes). She then did 4 club siteswaps with spin control before finishing with a nice run of 5 clubs.

Fred (3) Fred Fred (1)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, John Mc, Luke Burrage

Israeli jugger Yotam Alon came on next with a bouncing routine. He had great under-the-leg combos with 3 and 5 and also pirouetted and showered with 5 balls. His 7 ball run was long and solid. Yotam proceeded up to 8 bouncers and then 9 starting with a kickup.

Yotam (3) Yotam Yotam (4)

Photos courtesy of John Mc, Luke Burrage, John Mc

Paddy from the UK was a hat juggler in pajamas. His gimmick was that if he missed a trick, he unzipped a bit (luckily he reward himself (us?) with zip-ups, too). He started with some sweet body rolls and manipulations with 2 and 3 hats. He had a nice multiplex throw to hand, head, and heel. He did 4 while showering them including to his head. And he ended with 5 with head-caught multiplexes and also in a cascade.

Paddy (2) Paddy (1) Paddy (1)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, John Mc, Luke Burrage

Edo Martinez from Spain performed Cyr wheel. He did fast spins and rolled around the stage.

Edo (1)  Edo (1)  Edo (2)

Photos courtesy of John Mc, Luke Burrage (x2)

The finale was Tom Derrick from the UK. He did some lovely umbrella balances and manipulations to “Singing in the Rain.” His big trick was balancing the umbrella and throwing a bottle of water up to the tip to create a stream down the umbrella.

Tom (2) Tom Tom (1)

Photos courtesy of Luke Burrage, John Mc, Luke Burrage

Final curtain call.


Photo courtesy of Luke Burrage

After the last act, the performers went out with hats to collect money for the Lublin EJC team which was still in debt.


Coming soon, Part three: EJC 2014 – Legends Show and Gala Show

I’m grateful to the photographers who allowed me to use their photos for this article (links are to their full EJC albums):

Luke Burrage – https://www.lukeburrage.com/blog/archives/2105

John Mc – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.738351426204287.1073741921.109550675751035&type=1

Joke Schot – https://www.facebook.com/joke.schot.7/media_set?set=a.708147465926753.1073741882.100001945173466&type=1

Inge Picqueur – https://www.facebook.com/inge.picqueur.3/media_set?set=a.10152172277761851&type=1

Vincent Groenhuis – https://www.facebook.com/groenhuis/media_set?set=a.671427202948930.1073741850.100002449707647&type=1 and also tons more here and here and here and here and here. Main article featured image was from Vincent.

Florian Letsch – https://www.facebook.com/florianletsch/media_set?set=a.10153096414549741.1073741826.670584740&type=1

Avatar photo

Scott Seltzer has been very active in the IJA and the juggling world for a very long time. He co-founded the IJDb, was a member of the JISCON, is on the team of IJC, and is involved in other acronyms with I's and J's in them. Scott is a semi-professional performer and lives in Israel with his two awesome daughters.

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