IJA eNewsletter, April 2018

Editors: Don Lewis and Martin Frost

 Was this issue forwarded to you?  Click here to join the IJA to get your own copy each month, and get full access to eJuggle too!


  • Chair’s message
  • Deadline approaches for IJA Board nominations
  • IJA Stage Championships entries due by May 15
  • IJA Fest workshop leader sign-ups
  • IJA Festival info – Springfield, MA
  • IJA 2019 Festival Director – Call for Letters of Interest by May 6
  • World Record attempt for 5-ball joggling will support the Syria Fund for refugees
  • Passing it on – how to pass
  • ‘Water on Mars’ in Philadelphia, June 1-3
  • Promote the Festival
  • Latest articles in eJuggle
  • Upcoming juggling festivals



Chair’s message, by Nathan Wakefield

Can you believe that our 71st annual juggling festival is less than three months away? It seems like just a short while ago we were congregating in Cedar Rapids, IA, for our big 70th anniversary event, and now our east coast festival in Springfield, MA, is just around the corner!

Though we’ve had the festival details online and registration open for quite some time now, Festival Director Noel Yee and his team continue to add new events and release exciting information.

Our stage shows have been rounded out with a few recent additions, including Wes Peden, who was voted the top juggler of 2017 in the annual top jugglers of the year poll. Peden will be performing in several shows as well as teaching workshops at the festival. For full special guest profiles and show information, visit our festival shows page.

It wouldn’t be an IJA festival without numerous educational opportunities. Our preliminary workshop schedule has been released so you can get a sneak peak as to what to expect at the festival. However, this is very much an early draft of the workshop schedule. We will be adding many more workshops to the schedule as the event draws nearer. We’re thrilled to have so many of our special guests providing instructional opportunities to our attendees, but we are by no means restricting our instruction to only working professionals. Do you have a style of manipulation that you specialize in or an idea for a workshop that you would like to teach? We’d love to have you join our roster of instructors! Submit your application to lead a workshop.

With all the shows and activities at our festival, there are many moving parts to be implemented and maintained. We are very fortunate to have a very dedicated team to help make our festival happen each year. Not only that, but we have many hard working volunteers that run the IJA’s operations year round and steer the direction of the organization. Do you want to join our ranks or know someone that would be a good fit for the Board? We are currently taking nominations to be on the IJA Board of Directors.

Grateful to work with so many dedicated volunteers,

Nathan Wakefield
IJA Chairman



Deadline approaches for IJA Board nominations, by Martin Frost

It’s time to think about running for the IJA Board of Directors, or about nominating someone you think would be good for the IJA.  The Board is a key part of the IJA as it sets the directions we’ll be heading.

Four seats on the Board are up for election this year.  Read what Board members do and how to make nominations.

The nomination deadline is coming up soon: May 15, 2018.



IJA Stage Championships entries due by May 15, by Martin Frost

The deadline for entering the 2018 IJA Stage Championships is May 15, 2018.

To encourage jugglers to enter, this year for each competitor who qualifies for the finals of the Stage Championships, the IJA will pay half the cost of that finalist’s Event Package, with the exception that for Teams entries the half-price Event Package will be available only to four people on each team. (Such finalists who register for the festival with an Event Package before becoming finalists will be refunded half of their Event Package price.)

Entrants need to submit an online application form, entry fee and video by May 15.  For more information, start with the Applying to Compete section of the rules.



IJA Fest workshop leader sign-ups, by Martin Frost

Got something interesting to teach at the fest? Sign-ups for leading workshops at the festival are now open. You choose you audience, whether beginners, intermediate, advanced.  Workshops Coordinator Dave Pawson will try to schedule your workshop at a time convenient for you.

You can view the preliminary workshop schedule now — just note that more workshops will be added and changes are likely over the next couple of months.



IJA Festival info – Springfield, MA, by Martin Frost

Special Guests at the 2018 IJA Festival

Here are the special guests for this year’s fest, with those newly confirmed in bold:

  • Francis Gadbois
  • Cate Flaherty
  • Wes Peden
  • Florence Huet
  • Remi Lasvenes
  • Benjamin Domask
  • Christian Kloc
  • Erin Stephens
  • Fly By Night
  • Guillaume Karpowicz
  • Kathryn Carr
  • Kyle Johnson
  • Michael Karas
  • Pich
  • Salih Mahammed

For all the latest Festival information, please see the IJA Festival website.


Event Package Pricing Per Person

Dates (Eastern Time)TypeAdultYouthNotes
 Mar 6 – Jun 15Regular $260 $200Jun 15 is the last day to pre-register for the fest
 July 17 – July 21On-Site $280 $220These are the prices of Event Packages purchased at the fest
 Feb 5 – Jun 15Youth Group $100 $100Minimum 10 youths; max 2 adult chaperone packages per 10 youths
 Feb 5 – Jun 15VDP Vendor $100 Only 2 VDP Vendor Event Packages per VDP vendor

Youths are ages 11-17. Adults are ages 18 and up.

Fest pre-registration is only available online and closes at 11:59pm ET on June 15.  After that you can register on-site at the festival.


Shuttles from Bradley Airport (BDL) in Connecticut

The two shuttles offered between Bradley Airport and Springfield are The Valley Transporter and Valet Park of America. These both require reservations to be made ahead of time. Other options are taxis at about $60 and Uber or Lyft at about $30.  Confirm availability before you travel.


Festival hotel info

We have two IJA hotels at the festival: the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel and the Tower Square Hotel Springfield.  Both are very close to the festival venues.  IJA rooms at the Sheraton are sold out (unless they get a cancellation), but as of late April there are still rooms available at the Tower Square Hotel all week.  If you haven’t made your hotel reservation, don’t wait any longer.

There is no web page for reserving Tower Square rooms at the IJA rate, but you can call 1-844-656-8641 and ask for the jugglers’ rate under group code GIJUGA. If you have trouble getting a reservation at the $99 IJA rate, please let us know.

NOTE: The Tower Square Hotel is no longer a Marriott hotel, but IJA room reservations made before their name change are still valid.


2019 IJA Festival Director – Call for Letters of Interest by May 6

The 2019 IJA festival will be held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, June 24-30, 2019 (yes, it’s in June next year).  The IJA would like to hear from individuals who are interested in taking on the role of Festival Director.

The Festival Director works with the venue and the IJA staff and volunteers to create a fabulous week of juggling.  Volunteers help with most aspects of running the festival. Previous festival directors are available to mentor you through the process.  Some aspects of the festival repeat consistently from year to year, such as the competitions and shows.  There is always room to try new things and put your personal stamp on the experience.

If you are interested in the position or just want to learn more about the job, please contact IJA Chair Nathan Wakefield.

Please respond by May 6th, 2018.



World Record attempt for 5-ball joggling will support the Syria Fund for refugees

Juggler Matt Feldman is joggling to raise donations for the Syria Fund, a group that helps Syrian refugees.

He’ll be doing this by attempting to set a new 100m 5-ball record in joggling.  The attempt is tentatively scheduled at the Stanford University Track on May 14, 2018, at 7pm.  Matt already holds several Guinness World Records for 5-ball joggling.

You can read more about his record attempt as well as support the cause at his Crowdrise funding page.



Passing it on – how to pass, by Don Lewis

I would guess that the vast majority of jugglers learn to pass via a right handed four-count or six-count pattern.  Six-count is an interesting place to start because you can use two same colored clubs to provide a visual cue to the pattern.  Once things stabilize at six-count, it is usually pretty simple to move on to four-count where it is easier to keep track of the rhythm.  Moving on to three-count (left and right passes) usually happens much later as jugglers get more confident.

There is actually no reason why you can’t introduce left and right hand passing from the beginning.  It takes a bit longer, usually, to get a new juggler up to speed passing with both hands.  For jugglers that are quick to adapt to new things, it can really accelerate their ability to get into a wider variety of passing patterns.  For those who really struggle with dominate/subordinate handedness, it might be a more frustrating way to start.

When you are faced with a juggler new to passing, you have to decide which way to start.  I almost always start with six-count, move rapidly to four-count, and spend a fair amount of time working on the three-around exercise.  If I can get a stable four-count going (say, 10 catches) then I at least try three-count, just to establish the rhythm.  It often works quite well if you introduce it before the body begins to think that passing only happens on the right hand side.

Last month I wrote about trying to force a fairly wide pattern so that there is room to pass.  As you move in to three-count, that tendency to narrow the pattern will almost certainly re-assert itself and cause trouble with the left hand passes.  Speed is the enemy here.  Keep the pattern lofty and wide.  Low throws just speed everything up and hasten disaster.

Remind your passing student to do three things:  Relax, Breathe, and Smile.  This is fun!

Here is an interesting link that shows one way to get beginners to pass with both hands.  https://passingpedagogy.com



‘Water on Mars’ in Philadelphia, June 1-3Water on Mars

If you get a chance to see the show Water on Mars, go see it.  It will be playing in Philadelphia June 1st – June 3rd, 2018.  Jugglers need to see this show.  Everyone should see it.  Water on Mars consists of three jugglers: Wes Peden (USA), Tony Pezzo (USA), and Patrik Elmnert (SWE).  Here’s how the show is described:

“A high-flying, not-your-average-feast for the eyes, Water on Mars combines jaw-dropping athleticism, eye-catching acrobatics and has been praised by The Circus Diaries as ‘a pure display of extraordinary skill.’ This U.S. premiere event comes direct from Stockholm and turns the Kimmel Center stage into a circus of dizzying tricks and gravity-defying stunts bursting with comedy, chocolate, 400 roles of tape and out-of-this-world airborne geometry!

“Warning: This show delivers an unforgettable multi-sensory experience that will not be forgotten. The physical rigors are real. The backflips are bold. The fun is unrelenting.”

Here’s a chance to send all your friends in the area to see an amazing juggling show in a real theatre.




Promote the Festival, by Don Lewis

You know that the IJA has a summer juggling festival, don’t you?  Are you going to attend?  Still thinking about it?

July is not that far off.  It is time to convince yourself and your friends that this is the year that you are going to attend.  It did take several years before I was finally convinced to go to a festival by friends who had been to a few.  I had all the usual excuses: I’m not good enough, I won’t know anyone, it’s too far, it’s too expensive, I don’t have time, ad-nauseum. 

If you’ve convinced yourself that you are not good enough because you aren’t the best juggler in town, I have news for you: there are thousands more just like you.  A week at the IJA will rapidly change your attitude.  Absolute beginners have a ball at the festival.  Older jugglers who just enjoy the skills they have are delighted by the festival.  We have so many free workshops of all levels in various disciplines that you can see something new several times a day.  You might be surprised by a new skill you’ve never thought of trying.

One thing you may find surprising is that no-one laughs at people struggling to learn a new skill.  Other sports I’ve been in often have the “experts” mocking the newbies.  I’ve never seen that at a juggling festival.  It is far more likely that the “expert” you saw on stage last night will offer you a helpful hint in the gym, just in passing.  Once you pick your jaw up off the floor, you’ll find they were right.  Cool!

You don’t want to compete, so why should you even think about going?  Really?  Most people don’t compete.  Sure, there are some really good jugglers that live to compete.  That’s why we have the stage competitions, the prop competitions and XJuggling.  Then there are the rest of us, who watch, either in a theatre or a bleacher.  There are a lot of us who watch, because it is really neat to see some people doing things that the rest of us have no intention of ever trying ourselves. Sometimes, you’ll see something on stage that looks achingly possible as the competitors work their way up to astonishing things.  There’s no reason you can’t try it yourself the next day in the gym.  You likely won’t be the only one!

Yes, it does cost something to attend the festival for the week.  Sorry, we have costs and convention centers usually are not free.  We go to places around North America where cities are willing to give us a good deal on hotels, convention centers, and theatres.  The days of free university gyms are long behind us.  In the summer, dorm rooms can be as expensive as hotels and a lot less comfortable.  An IJA hotel room can be shared among four people to split costs, which is a good incentive for bringing a few friends with you.  Have you ever checked out the price of a week at basketball camp, tennis camp, an organized beach, or a professional convention?  The IJA festival costs a small fraction of any of those things and delivers a week of shows and workshops, plus daily 24 hour juggling if you can stay up that long. You can be an early bird or a night owl and still find juggling.  There just are not any other conventions quite like a juggling convention.

Do you struggle to meet people?  Consider yourself a bit of a loner?  Are you the eternal stranger in a crowded room?  Yeah, well juggling may not totally fix that, but you are definitely not going to be the only one like that at the festival.  Passing patterns can provide a bit of structure for interactions.  So do workshops.  So do a lot of short festival volunteer gigs.  There is a comfortable place for everyone at a festival because we all juggle.

Come to the festival and discover what the rest of us have found out:  It is hard to attend just one.



eJuggle logo

Latest articles in eJuggle



Upcoming juggling festivals

Below is a list of some upcoming juggling festivals.  For a list of even more fests, check our worldwide juggling event listings.

To get a festival listed here for free, just drop a note to us at ijanews@juggle.org.  Hey, jugglers want to know about juggling fests.  Help them out and get more jugglers to your fest at the same time.

10th Santa Cruz Juggling Festival
    4 May – 6 May 2018
    West Fieldhouse, UCSC, Santz Cruz, CA 95064 USA

Nederlands Jongleer Festival 2018 (Dutch Juggling Convention)
    10 May – 13 May 2018
    Sportacademie Bokkeduinen, 3819BD Amersfoort Netherlands (Nederland)

42nd Annual Isla Vista Jugglers Festival
    11 May – 13 May 2018
    Isla Vista and UC Santa Barbara, CA USA

2018 Northwest Arkansas Juggling Festival
    11 May – 13 May 2018
    44 Kingshighway, Eureka Springs, AR 72632 USA

Asia International Diabolo Cup (includes IRC)
    24 May – 27 May 2018
    Taipei, Taiwan

Flatland Juggling Festival 2018
    8 Jun – 10 Jun 2018
    UNMC Center for Healthy Living, 39th & Jones, Omaha, NE 68198 USA

Encuentro Salvadoreño de Malabares y Circo (includes IRC)
    16 Jun – 17 Jun 2018
    San Salvador, El Salvador

Russian Juggling Convention 2018 (includes IRC)
    27 Jun – 1 Jul 2018
    Saint Petersburg, Russia

Festival Periplo Movimiento Internacional de Circo (includes IRC)
    9 Jul – 21 Jul 2018
    Guadalajara, Mexico

71st Annual IJA Juggling Festival
    16 Jul – 22 Jul 2018
    Springfield, Massachusetts USA

41st European Juggling Convention 2018, Azores
    28 Jul – 5 Aug 2018
    Sao Miguel, Azores Portugal

Graülich Fire Juggling Convention
    14 Sep – 16 Sep 2018
    Rodemack, France

2018 Kansas City Juggling Festival
    21 Sep – 23 Sep 2018
    Kansas City, MO USA

Manipulation 2018
    18 Oct – 21 Oct 2018
    Idyllwild, CA USA