Eric Zidla was an Austrian juggler of exceptional technical ability and exuberant stage presence. He was born September 21st, 1926. During World War II, he escaped from the Nazi takeover of Austria and fled to Switzerland with nothing. He found some tennis balls, made sticks from broom handles, and cut rings out of cardboard. With these initial props, he began his career.
Eric performed from the mid 1940s until at least as late as 1981. He was assisted by his wife Yrsa, who was a Danish trapeze performer as well. He worked at the Moulin Rouge in Paris early in his career and worked many of the world’s top venues in the years to follow. He passed away on November 11th, 1984 following a long battle with cancer.
Eric was a very gifted juggler. He performed up to ten rings, which made him probably the third or fourth juggler to do so. (Francis Brunn was the first, and then Eric Van Aro. It is unknown if Zidla or Ernest Montego were next with ten rings.)
He also performed the Brunn Finish, eight rings while balancing a ball on a head pedestal and spinning a ring on his ankle, and many other high-level classical juggling tricks. The following photos and video, most of which have never been online before, showcase his remarkable skill.
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