2017 IJA Stage Championships Finalists


Congratulations to the finalists of the 2017 IJA Stage Championships!

These competitions will be held during the IJA Festival at the Paramount Theater in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

  • Juniors Championships: Wednesday, July 12
  • Individuals and Teams Championships: Thursday, July 13

Both shows start at 7:30pm.


Delaney Bayles is from Salt Lake City, Utah and has been juggling for the past five years. She recently won the World Juggling Federation’s Advanced Overall Championship. She is a student at Colorado College and is coached by Richard Kennison. This summer she will be on tour with Cirque-us, a contemporary circus company based out of New England. When not juggling she can be found in the mountains snowboarding.

Kentaro Tsuchiya specializes in the art of foot juggling. His act may surprise you.

Yi-Chieh Liao started  to play diabolo when she was 12 years old at MHD Diabolo Art Taiwan, a diabolo school in Taiwan. This is her second time at IJA. In 2006, she applied to compete in the Juniors Championship, which is why she finally chose the National Taiwan College of  Performing Art. She has performed mostly in Asia and Europe with her troupe. Yi-Chieh is very happy to be back here again to meet people and enjoy the juggling festival. She hopes you will like her diabolo act.

Shinya Yamane is a professional juggler from Japan. (His stage name is YAYA.) He has been juggling for nine years and is an expert at cigar-boxes. He has unique ideas and creates the music that he use in his juggling show. It’s his own act. Also, he is a professional artist. He has performed his show all over the world since 2011.

Having organized 17 international IJA competitions Erin Stephens decided it was time to experience what it’s like to participate as an individual. She is excited to be “Kickin’ It” at the IJA Festival. Special thanks to Yuriy Pozdnyakov and Steven Ragatz for their coaching and guidance in the creation of this routine.

Eric Jackson is a hobbyist juggler and performer, largely performing for small events, his local festival, and various renegade acts around the Midwest. It’s been a dream of his to eventually muster the courage to form an act worthy of the IJA Individuals competition, and it looks like that time has finally come.

Zak McAllister is a 19-year-old juggler from Temple, Texas. His recent work with balls has been influenced by jugglers such as Kyle Johnson and Haavard Hvidsten. Zak has performed at numerous festivals and plans to attend the circus school Circadium in the Fall under the teaching of Greg Kennedy.

Hayato Watanabe from Tokyo, Japan, has competed in many events. He placed third in the 2016 Japan Juggling Festival, first in the 2015 Tokyo International Diabolo Contest, and first in the 2014 All Japan Diabolo Contest.


Duo Octo: What has eight arms, two heads, and more balls than most? This newly formed duo has a combined 45 years juggling experience. They hail from two different lands–the former industrial mecca of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and the mountainous plains of Boulder, Colorado, USA. Duo Octo, juggling’s newest creature, is born!

Double McJuggle is a hoop juggling duo comprised of Cassie McKenney and McKenzey Simper of Portland, Oregon. These girls have been working with hoops for a combined 13 years and combine manipulation, juggling, and balance into their practice and hope to inspire their students to do the same. Double McJuggle teaches and performs across the country and have brought their unique and creative styles to stages in Mexico and Canada.

CAPT-New Style Crew:
This show is performed by the five members of the CAPT team, Thean Leong Hng, Pei-Chen Jung, Wei-Hsuan Chang, Meng-Ti Hsieh, and Yu-Ping Chiang. Each has their own diabolo special style, but this performance is not to show their own style, but to give up their old self-style and re-create to belong to their diabolo style. This show has a lot of new skills and unique props and diabolo skills because they want to express the arrival of a new style: “new” meaning a breakthrough and beyond; “style” is a mixture of life experience forming. The show name is “For D World Style.” They won gold medals at the 2016 and 2015 Formosa International Diabolo Competition and silver at the 2014 Eleventh China Wuhan Acrobatic Art Festival and have performed at EJC and Huashan station Art Carnival Show.

The Jugheads: JUGHEADS Youth Juggling Co., LLC, is based in Edina, Minnesota, and led by Director and Producer Paul and Wendy Arneberg. The Jugheads have been mainstays of the IJA Stage Championships since 2000. In addition to appearances by smaller groups of Jugheads, including medalists in Juniors, Individuals, and Teams, their main juggling group earned IJA Teams medals in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2011, and 2015. This year’s twelve-member team is led by 2011 IJA Teams Bronze Medalist, Coach Tom Gaasedelen and 2015 IJA Teams Silver Medalists, Co-Captains Cole Dunbar and Steven Karschnia. Their 2017 routine of intricate and large group club passing is entitled “The Heist.”

CAPT-Yu Cheng & Chin Yao
is a duo diabolo act performed by Yu Cheng Lu and Chin Yao Yang. Gradually showing different tricks and gymnastic skills with one to six diabolo, they tell a humorous story with interesting content throughout the whole performance. The show’s name is “Humorous Duo.“ They have won many awards, including the 2016 Formosa International Diabolo Competition (gold), the 2015 Tokyo International Diabolo Contest (gold), and the 2014 Eleventh China Wuhan Acrobatic Art Festival (silver). They have performed at the IJC, the EJC, Red Bull PAO Diabolo Battle, and the Festival Internacional del Circ Ciutat de Figueres.

Smirk: Reid Belstock and Warren Hammond have been performing together as Smirk since 2008. They were awarded the Silver Medal in both the 2009 and 2011 IJA Team Championships. Known for their larger than life humor and unique juggling style, they tour regularly in Performing Arts Centers across the United States and are regular guest performers at regional juggling festivals.


Christopher Haaser is 16 years old. He began juggling in 2009. He has amazed audiences with his juggling skills in Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, and Quebec. At the age of 10, Christopher juggled seven balls and performed for Spooky Woods, a TV commercial filmed in North Carolina. He was an eight-time podium finisher at the 2014 IJA joggling competition. He currently juggles balls, rings, clubs, fire torches, knives, and much more. Other interests include chess, kendama, dominoes, kinetic contraptions, trampoline, skiing, and kayaking.

Houston Odum has been juggling ever since he was nine. He attended the IJA festival once in Winston-Salem. The speed clubs act he has been working on has been in development for over a year. He brings the highest level of energy and showmanship to each performance.

Bennett Santora was created by a group of mad scientists who were intent on taking over the world by installing jugglers in key leadership positions. He was designed to be witty, intelligent, charming, and to have super-natural juggling ability. He is being groomed to take over the world military-industrial complex and convert all weapons production to production of juggling props. At present he is an entertainer and eighth grader. He lives in New York City.

Daniel Van Hoomissen Gadies and Lentlemen! In the north corner, weighing in with copious amounts of swag, we have Daniel Van Hoomissen! Daniel spends most of his time Ballin at Circus Juventas, a youth circus in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he learned how to be Humble. He used to hate The Spotlight, but now he loves it so much that some people call him Man of the Year or a real Young Sinatra III. He gets up at 5AM to spit 44 Bars on his Backseat Freestyle, but sometimes he can be Buried Alive in failures. For example, Daniel embodies the phrase, “Sometimes a juggler drops on purpose to make the trick look harder than it actually is” -Duck and Cover. On a final note, “Kanye’s best prodigy. He ain’t sign me, but he still proud of me.” -Chance the Rapper.

Ethan Brain is a juggling artist and instructor currently based out of North Carolina. He has been juggling for ten years and his work focuses on bringing elements from theater into the juggling world. Ethan has taught classes of young jugglers and worked in both private and festival settings. In addition to juggling, Ethan is an accomplished cellist and visual artist. You can contact Ethan through his website: http://ethanjbrain.wixsite.com/ethanbrain