IJA eNewsletter – February 2020


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   IJA eNewsletter   

February 2020

Editors: Don Lewis & Martin Frost


Have a happy Pi Day!  (2020.3.14)


  • A message from the IJA Chair
  • IJA Festival in El Paso, Texas, July 13-19, 2020 — March 9 deadline approaching
  • 2020 IJA Juggling Championships
  • 2020 Atlanta Groundhog Festival
  • 2019 IJA fest DVDs now available, part 1 available on eJuggle
  • Latest articles in eJuggle
  • Upcoming juggling festivals


Mike Moore 

A message from the IJA Chair  by Mike Moore

Forging the Uncertain Path: Finding Direction in Exotic Juggling

Whether you’re many miles from the nearest fellow juggler, or a world-class juggler in a niche area, you’re going to find yourself in unexplored areas of juggling.  Places with patterns (and problems) you’ve never seen before!  There are some methods that have allowed me to navigate those uncharted waters; hopefully they’ll help you, too.

If you’ve come up with a great new idea, the first step is deconstruction.  What makes the idea great?  A shape the balls make in the air?  Some kind of body contortion?  A charming rhythm?  Determining the essence of the idea allows you to improve it or concentrate it (get rid of the setup throws). 

Maybe the essence can mutate[1].  A particularly efficient way to find these mutations is to try to relate the new pattern to something you already know about.  For example, with box: what if you thought about the columns as if they were two in one hand?  You could have them as columns, but you could also do fountain.  What if you thought of box as a distorted version of 423.  If you do that, then all those amazing videos of 423 variations are now things to consider trying with box!  One relationship discovery can lead to dozens of pattern discoveries.  Others’ discoveries are now relevant, and you’re no longer so alone on your journey.

If you’ve ever made a surprising (juggling) relationship discovery, I’d love to hear about it.  Send me an email at moore@juggle.org.

[1] Some variations will be obvious: changing a neutral throw to a body throw, adding another ball, etc.   This is still useful!  Practicing obvious variations will inevitably improve your technical skill surrounding the essence of your idea. 

Happy juggling!

Mike Moore

IJA Chair


IJA Festival, El Paso, Texas, July 13-19, 2020 — March 9 deadline approaching  by Martin Frost

Registration for the festival is open, with current Advanced prices good through March 9.

Preliminary information and registration is available at: https://juggle.org/festival.  The site includes pricing, links to the registration page, and hotel information, though IJA hotel reservations will not open until April 1, 2020.  Info on special guests will be coming soon.

From the fest’s pricing page, click one of the blue Register buttons to go to fest registration.  If you’re not already logged in, that will take you to the IJA login page, and from there you’ll be taken to the registration page for purchasing your Event Package(s).

For those of you planning to compete on the fest stage in Teams, Individuals or Juniors, see the article below for details including the entry deadline.  Note that we now call this competition the IJA Juggling Championships (formerly the Stage Championships).

NOTE: Adult Event Packages at the current Advanced prices are limited in quantity and in any case won’t be sold after March 9, so don’t delay in registering if you want the best rate.  (Sales of Youth Event Packages are not limited in quantity, but Youth Advanced packages also won’t be sold after March 9.)

Event Package Pricing Per Person

Dates (Eastern Time)





 Through Mar 9




 A limited quantity of Adult Advanced Event Packages will be sold

 Mar 10 – Jun 13




 Jun 13 is the last day for purchasing an Event Package for the fest

 Through Jun 13

 Youth Group



 Minimum 10 youths; max 2 adult chaperone packages per 10 youths

 Through Jun 13

 VDP Vendor



 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. A la carte registration will be available on-site at the fest. Event Packages will not be sold at the fest.


2020 IJA Juggling Championships 

We are delighted to announce that applications for the 2020 IJA Juggling Championships are now open!

The annual IJA Juggling Championships, a prestigious international competition recognizing top-level entertainment, will be held during the annual IJA festival this summer at the beautiful Plaza Theater in El Paso, Texas.

Jugglers compete in three divisions:

  • Juniors (solo jugglers under 18)
  • Individuals (solo jugglers of any age)
  • Teams (acts featuring two or more jugglers)

In addition to offering medals and prize money to the winners, the IJA is pleased to offer finalists a free full registration package to attend the entire festival (up to four members per team).

The deadline to enter is May 1, 2020.

You can find all the details and submit your application to compete on the Championships pages, or feel free to contact us with any questions.

We look forward to a wonderful competition in El Paso!

Viveca Gardiner

NeilFred Picciotto

IJA Juggling Championships Directors



2020 Atlanta Groundhog Festival  by Charles Shapiro

Winners of the coveted PHIL award this year were Andrew Kaefer, Scott Raison and LilyRuth Mamary, and Nash Abrahams. Congratulations! A special PHIL trophy was awarded this year to Richard Kennison for coaching 21 PHIL winners over the years from 1995-2020.

Two hundred and ten jugglers attended the 42nd annual Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival, held for the 13th straight year at the Yaarab Shrine Center in downtown Atlanta. Friday night was lively and crowded, with a rather larger number of Flow people than in the past. Among the usual groups of club passers and solo tossers were several folks working with Poi in various configurations, a staff twirler or two, and more than one young girl working with hoops.

Saturday started early and went hard fueled by plentiful maté, some pre-packaged snacks, and delicious oriental-themed food from our beloved food vendors Sri and Ayu. The T-shirts this year were Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy themed and sold well, with only 20 or so left from a run of about 170. Raffle items included several books, a juggling calendar, some interesting keychain jewelry, as well as the usual assortment of bean-bags and other props.

Twenty-one workshops took place throughout the weekend, starting at 7 pm on Friday and going on until late Sunday afternoon. Richard Kennison’s 5-ball novice workshop got great reviews, and others were well attended.

The Johns Creek High School Diabolo Club helped Ray and Pat Stern this year in the Kids Corner, which remained a center of chaotic energy Friday night and almost all of Saturday and Sunday. Young jugglers also had the opportunity to browse the AJA scrapbooks and history board to see pictures of their elders, many of whom were at the festival.

The juggling games (featuring shiny trophies with real stone bases) were run by long time Games Director Spencer Schwab. An average of 23 competitors signed up for the 7 games which took place on the stage; the combat rounds (refereed by Lao Alovus) were also reasonably crowded. Highlights included Atlanta’s Paul Yates winning the Club Crown competition in a photo-finish sprint, and a tense and exciting stand-off in the 5-ball endurance. Club balance legend Jimmy Robertson did not compete this year due to an injury. Cabaret performer Justin Wood distinguished himself with a crowd-pleasing default in one round of the Ball Combat competition, allowing Caleb Black the win for the round.

The Groundhog Day Competition opened with the Seed and Feed Marching Abominable Band playing a medley of pop hits. Some of the older jugglers couldn’t recognize all the tunes. Competition highlights included an impressive Yo-Yo act by Chris Chung (Detroit, MI), a very street-influenced show by Atlanta’s own Lucy Eden, and a flawless 4-club routine by Chuck Clark (Allen Park, MI). Andrew Kaefer took the “Gravity Slayer” award with a solid ball routine which included a 3-up 5-ball pirouette, some nice 6-ball work, and a brief 7-ball cascade while standing on a chair. Scott Raison and LilyRuth Mamary executed a clean partner-unicycle and club passing routine to take “Most Enlightning”. Nash Abrahams did his father proud with a unicycle routine which included some 3-club, jump rope, and a finale of three knives on a 7-foot unicycle to take the “Most Illuminating” trophy.

Audience for the afternoon competition was down a little bit from last year, possibly because of the two inches of snow which fell on north Atlanta Saturday morning.

The 9 pm Cabaret, ably emceed by Cate Great Flaherty, featured music and acrobatics as well as juggling. Scott Raison did a beautiful hoop routine, quite different from his winning co-performance in the competition. Other impressive acts included Justin Wood and Joyce Kung, with a Slinky act enlivened by Joyce’s comedic skills, Jim Maltman’s high-energy clowning, and Sem Abraham’s amazing 65-pound telescoping unicycle. In conversation after the show Sem said that riding this machine collapsed close to the floor was actually more difficult than riding it fully extended, as the weight of all that metal is far out from the wheel on both sides.

Brandon Ross received this year’s Mouse award for his wonderful T-shirt designs, face painting, and other helps to the Atlanta Jugglers Association. The audience at the Cabaret was one of the larger ones in festival history.

Sunday was more juggling, punctuated by sessions of huggin’ and cryin’ as out-of-state folks departed for their long trips home. Rick Purtee informally taught some strong sessions of interesting advanced passing patterns, including the dread Martin’s Madness/Mildness feed. Once again a number of Flow jugglers shared the space. A small group of yo-yo players also gathered to exchange tricks and tips. AJA founder Rodger French made a surprise visit Sunday afternoon.

Coverage of the festival included an extensive on-line photo essay in the Atlanta Journal-constitution. A few pictures also made the hard-copy version of the paper. Andrew Austin captured much of the competition and cabaret on video; that should appear on the web soon.

Twenty people gathered at Manuels Tavern for the post-Groundhog day dinner, as Panahar Restaurant was dark for remodeling. Beers were consumed, and stories were told until around 8:30 pm, when everyone at last stumbled out to rest up from the excitement of the weekend.

2019 IJA fest DVDs now available, part 1 available on eJuggle 

The official video of the 72nd Annual IJA Festival is now available via a two-disc DVD set! Relive all the excitement that our 2019 festival in Fort Wayne, IN, had to offer with this two-disc set, including full stage competition routines and highlights of the activities that took place during the week. The set can be purchased in the IJA store. The cost is $30 for IJA members and $40 for non-members.

The full fest video will also be available as online streaming content free for IJA members on eJuggle in the coming weeks (part 1 is available on eJuggle now).



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.

Organizing a juggling festival?  Be sure to add it to the juggling festival list at The Juggling Edge.  Just sign up there for a free account and then add your fest to the list so that jugglers everywhere can find out about your fest.

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.

Winter Jongleer Weekend 2020
13 Mar – 15 Mar 2020
Gravin van Schonbornlaan 4, 6433AZ Hoensbroek Netherlands

Tucson Juggling Festival 2020
3 Apr – 5 Apr 2020
Catalina State Park, Tucson, Arizona 85739 USA

The Israeli Juggling Convention 2020
10 Apr – 14 Apr 2020
Gan HaShlosha, Israel

Adelaide Juggling Convention
16 Apr – 19 Apr 2020
32-34 Rosa St, Goodwood, Adelaide, SA 5034 Australia

Oldenburg Juggling Convention
30 Apr – 3 May 2020
Hochschulsport Oldenburg, Ammerländer Heerstraße 114-118, 26129 Oldenburg Germany

Bungay Balls Up 2020
15 May – 25 May 2020
Hulver Farm, St Michael South Elmham, Bungay, Suffolk, NR35 1NF UK

Nederlands Jongleer Festival 2020 (Dutch Juggling Convention)
21 May – 24 May 2020
Zwembadweg 3, 4462AB Goes Netherlands

Sound of Juggling
11 Jun – 14 Jun 2020
Schmiedingerstraße 1 5102 Anthering Austria

Flatland Juggling Festival 2020
12 Jun – 14 Jun 2020
Omaha, NE  USA

EJC preparty
6 Jul – 10 Jul 2020
Saint Petersburg, Russia

43rd European Juggling Convention (EJC)
11 Jul – 19 Jul 2020
Hangö Högstadium, Koulukatu 13-15, 10900 Hanko, Finland

73rd Annual IJA Juggling Festival
13 Jul – 19 Jul 2020
El Paso Convention Center, El Paso, TX USA

The British Juggling Convention 2020 – Perth
28 Jul – 2 Aug 2020
The Bell Sports Centre, Caledonia House, Hay St, Perth PH1 5HS UK

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