IJA eNewsletter – January 2021

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   IJA eNewsletter   

January 2021

Editors: Don Lewis & Martin Frost

Best Wishes for a Great New Year !


  • Juggling’s underappreciated sense: Hearing
  • IJA Virtual Hangout Jam, February 6
  • Still open: IJA honorary awards nominations
  • Don’t let others discourage you
  • Latest articles in eJuggle (find a few that interest you and check them out!)
  • Upcoming juggling festivals



Juggling’s underappreciated sense: Hearing  by Mike Moore, IJA Chair

Mike Moore

Hearing is terribly underutilized in juggling.

The examples of useful sound being created in performances are far too few.  Yet, what would Michael Moschen’s triangle be without it?  Phrasing the juggling musically, occasionally accenting the sound of the bounces with foot taps and body slaps, the act was obviously made with sound creation at the forefront.

There are many more, yet still too few, examples of this.  Bounce juggling on drums (sometimes with percussion mallets!), the rare boomwhacker act, and occasional music-first acts with Russians or egg shakers.  But now, let’s focus on how sound can help you.

Sound can be used as a learning tool.  When juggling a pattern, try counting in a way that is offset from the natural period of the juggling[1].  For example, a three-ball cascade involves a throw once from your right hand, then from your left, then repeats.  Its natural period is two.  If you count every other throw, it’s easy to hide little differences in the rhythm of your juggling.  If you count in groups of three (brace your brain!) any asymmetries become clear as day and can be smoothed out.

You can also use sound for learning more complex patterns.  Just like most people can visualize prop paths, most people can also “visualize” rhythms.  This can be useful for any pattern with holds (2s) to resist the temptation to throw that prop.  It’s also fantastic for helping to learn complicated low numbers juggling.  This pattern is a 633, but the shape encourages uneven dwell times and rhythms.  Keeping that rhythm in my head while trying to replicate it was a huge step in running the pattern.

Here’s a fun exercise: try putting on a rhythm-driven song (not too fast!) and make a catch on every note[2].  Starting out, the simple rhythms of many pop songs work well.  We Can Work It Out by The Beatles is a good place to start[3].  Perhaps stay away from Rush for now.

Good luck!

Mike Moore

IJA Chair

[1] – Similar, but sometimes different from the period of the siteswap

[2] – Or something else musical and feasible

[3] – Focus on the drums, not the tambourine



IJA Virtual Hangout Jam, February 6  by Chris Garcia

The IJA is hosting another Virtual Hangout Jam, and you’re invited, whether you’re an IJA member or not!  So grab your props, clear out some space in your living room, and hang out with your fellow jugglers virtually!  Meetings are via Zoom and are accessible via mobile or computer.

We’d love feedback from the community on when is the best time for you.  Let us know by filling out this survey form.

Find latest Hangout info

You can find the latest up-to-date info for the Virtual Hangout Jam on the Facebook Event Page.

Hangout rules

As this meeting is accessible to both youth and adults, please use appropriate language, clothing, behavior, etc.  This is a safe space.  Anyone espousing hate or bigotry will be removed.  Please turn off your microphone when not speaking, to avoid excess ambient noise.

How to join

Download and install Zoom on your phone or computer.  Use the Zoom link below to register.  This can be done at any time before you join.  After you’ve registered, you’ll be given a link to join the meeting.  Click it and an admin should admit you into the hangout from the waiting room.

Next Hangout

Saturday, Feb 6, 2021, at 11am PST / 7pm UK Time

Register for Zoom meeting




Still open: IJA honorary awards nominations

Nominations are still open for the annual IJA honorary awards. Please think of someone you would like to nominate for an honorary IJA award to be presented during the summer IJA Festival.  Past award recipients have often said how meaningful the awards have been to them, so is there someone you believe should be honored?

Our website lists all the previous IJA award honorees: www.juggle.org/history/honorary-awards/

Nominations are open for the following IJA awards:


        In recognition of excellence in the art of juggling through professional performance.


        In recognition of a lifetime of influential work and extraordinary achievement in juggling performance.


        In recognition of years of coaching and mentoring jugglers to help create and improve their acts.


        In recognition of a consistent commitment to provide outstanding support and promotion for the field of juggling.


        In recognition of outstanding efforts to teach juggling to non-jugglers and expand the knowledge of those who already juggle.


        In recognition for providing exceptional promotion to the public of the art of juggling.

Please submit nominations to awards@juggle.org by February 20th.



Don’t let others discourage you  by Don Lewis

There are endless articles appearing about how the ongoing COVID restrictions are getting everyone down.  In Quebec as I write this at the end of January, we are still in lockdown with only essential services open, along with a strict 8:00pm curfew.  It seems to be working, so it appears that it will continue for a couple more months.

Humans are mostly social animals.  We’re used to individual feedback and tend to pay more attention to actual as opposed to virtual feedback.  I’ve noticed that people who show up at my IJA workshops learn faster than they do on their own.  The instructions are the same, but there is just something about being face to face that feels more real than the virtual environment.

But we have to work with what we’ve got, so virtual is what we need to take advantage of.  A good thing is that virtual workshops can expose you to a bunch of different teaching styles, allowing you to take the best parts from all and distill that down into exactly what works for you.

One thing that you have to watch out for is comments that you find discouraging.  A problem with social media is a form of disconnection.  Some totally normal seeming people can make the most outrageous comments when they are behind a keyboard, that they would never say face to face.  Often when an egregious statement is pointed out to them they are genuinely surprised and respond with something like “well, I didn’t mean it that way…”.  Sometimes virtual communication requires a thick skin and a resilient ego.

And then, some people just are not diplomatic at all.  I went to a workshop on club steals and takeouts at a festival years ago.  Some people, including me, didn’t have a partner so I was paired with a lady who was a bit below me in skill, but still perfectly competent at juggling.  We were almost getting it by the midpoint of the workshop when the (female) instructor came over and and told my partner “you won’t learn this trick, you aren’t good enough” and walked away.  I was stunned.  My partner started to walk out of the room dejectedly.  I encouraged her to stay and she got the trick, quite well, a few minutes later.  But it seemed to me that that unkind comment stayed with her for the rest of the week.

A similar situation might arrive in a virtual session, but there might not be an opportunity to put the person back on a positive track.  Be careful what criticism you offer and what criticism you accept — and consider the source.  Juggling is fun, challenging, and satisfying with occasional moments of intense frustration.  Stay positive.  And if you are helping others virtually, make sure you find them a path to eventual success.

Now, it is true that sometimes you get people at a workshop that just aren’t ready, and you have to be able to deal with that in a way that is both kind and positive.  I usually get those people to work on a component of the trick I’m trying to teach and show how that will eventually build into the trick.  Surprisingly, this encourages the more advanced jugglers in the class to pay attention to the basics that they may have gotten a bit sloppy with.  They often discover that tightening up the building blocks of a trick makes the advanced trick itself seem to just fall into place.  The surprised smiles when that happens are a delight to see.  And that in turn encourages the ones who aren’t quite ready, but will be.



Latest articles in eJuggle



Upcoming juggling festivals

Note: Virtually all juggling festivals planned for the coming months have been canceled or rescheduled because of the worldwide pandemic, though some will be held online.

To find a juggling fest near you or online, check the fest list at The Juggling Edge.  Eventually festivals will return.

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