Happy New Year. This time of year, many people make resolutions – things they “promise” to do during the next twelve months. Non-jugglers make resolutions such as losing weight, getting in better shape, saving more money, or any number of other goals which usually take work. Jugglers likely have resolutions like qualify eight balls, finally learn that difficult siteswap pattern, or attend at least four juggling festivals. I’m not much of one for resolutions, which may explain why I’m still fat and why I can only flash eight balls as opposed to qualifying it. Instead of resolutions, I like to jot down my New Year’s Hopes. Many of these are things outside of my control, or at least require the involvement of others. Others are just things I hope happen in the world. And still others, I have full (or at least a large part of) control over.
So, I thought I would ponder on what my New Year’s Hopes related to juggling are for this year, and then share with you.
70th IJA Festival Success
This July, the International Jugglers’ Association will celebrate its 70th annual convention / festival. I was there for the 40th and 50th ones, and they were special. Dan Holzman is busy planning the week’s activities and lining up performers and special guests. The venues are supposed to be wonderful ones this year, and I understand that there will be more shows than usual. The city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa is eager to have us as their guests, and there are many new, unique, and fun activities in the works. My hope is that we will have a very strong turnout of jugglers, see some jugglers who haven’t attended in many years (or ever) show up, and have it be a magnificent week for everyone. I know that the Juggling History Room will be the biggest ever. I believe that the free brunch, which rocked last year at El Paso, is scheduled to be there, and there are likely to be more flow-centered activities as well.
“Discovering” New Jugglers and New Knowledge of Jugglers
Every year, new jugglers come onto the scene. The creativity, inventiveness, and talents of these jugglers is inspiring. In many cases, they push the boundaries of what juggling is, and what it could be. Others push the boundaries in terms of skill and technique. Others just inspire with specific tricks, routines, or acts that they present. In other cases, we might come to learn about a juggler who has been performing for a while, but is new to us. I hope that everyone will encourage and support those new jugglers in their endeavors, and will likewise seek out learning about established jugglers. By expanding our knowledge (and support) of these jugglers, we might very well expand our own abilities or approaches to the art / skill. If you want a great starting point for finding some of those already established performers which might be new to you, check out the jugglers mentioned in this previous article of mine by clicking here. Why not introduce yourself to a few on the list that are new to you.
Here is a video of one of the jugglers I found out about last year:
New World Records
For the first decade or so of my juggling career, the world records (at least those with video evidence) for individual balls, rings, and clubs remained constant – nine balls, nine rings, and seven clubs. Eventually, accomplishments of qualifying runs of ten balls, ten rings, and eight clubs took place. Then, Alex Barron broke the ten object barrier with several eleven ball qualifying runs.
Several others, including Dan Wood, Peter Bone, and Luke Davies, are getting closer to joining Alex as official eleven ball jugglers.
But other records are getting closer and closer to falling too. Willy Colombaioni is close to an eleven ring qualify, having gotten 17 catches, which ties him with Anthony Gatto.
Willy is also the furthest of all jugglers with twelve rings, with 16 catches.
Also, the aforementioned Alex Barron recently posted a video of twelve balls for 17 catches. I don’t put anything past Alex, so I’m eager to see what happens this year for this record and others.
Museum of Juggling History
This one is an admittedly selfish one. In October, (my brother) David Cain almost doubled the size of his historical juggling prop collection displayed in his Museum of Juggling History when he purchased the collection of the late Paul Bachman. Props were added for jugglers previously not represented such as Trixie, Lou Folds, Selma Braatz, Stan Kavanaugh, Ugo Garrido, Martin Lamberti, The Elgins, Larry Weeks, Michael Davis, and Frank LeDent, among many others. They join props from the likes of Francis and Lottie Brunn, Bobby May, Anthony Gatto, Rudy Cardanes, Kara, Salerno, Alexander Kiss, Sergei Ignatov, Evgeni Biljauer, Rudy Horn, Massimiliano Truzzi, Bob Bramson, Italo Medini, The Reverhos Brothers, Albert Lucas, Gil Dova, and hundreds of others already in the museum.
So, my hope for 2017 is that several others will be added to the fold in David’s wonderful museum. There are known props belonging to Enrico Rastelli, Paul Cinquevalli, Jenny Jaeger, Albert Petrovski, the Chiesa Brothers, Zarmo, Paolo Piletto, The Juggling Jems, Ollie Young, Rosani, Ferry Mader, Bill Gnadt, George DeMott, Freddy Zey, King Repp, John Breen, Morris Cronin, and Kris Kremo that belong to other collectors or family members, and David would love to get at least one of each to represent and honor them in the museum. To our knowledge, there are no props known to be out there belonging to other historical greats such as William Everhart, Serge Flash, Awata, Max Sovereign, Kathi Gultini, Angelo Picenelli, Paul Conchas, or Paolo Bedini, among many others, but maybe there are – and maybe you know where they are. Though David’s come a long way of amassing this amazing collection, and he shares it with others through his website, personal tours (scheduled by appointment), and displays at juggling festivals (he’ll be running the Juggling History Room at the IJA Fest in Cedar Rapids this summer), he has a long way to go to making it complete, and my hope is that he’ll add new jugglers to it this year.
Peace Among Jugglers
Unfortunately, like our lives in general, we allow differences in things such as politics, religion, nationality, or an array of other things to cause rifts between jugglers. I’ve seen people argue and break juggling friendships because of these things. In other cases, a misunderstanding, perceived slight, similar performance material, or competition for work has broken friendships. Organizationally, I know of people who have been mad at the IJA for two decades or more, and about things that either no longer exist or which are due to a person who hasn’t had an official position for a long time. My hope is that relationships will be mended, mercy extended, forgiveness offered and asked for, and for us all to allow our shared love for juggling to bring us together as a community. And for those with legitimate beefs, or the people who continue to hold onto a grudge, my hope is that those disagreements can stay private, instead of seeing one party bashing the other publicly in order to sway judgment of the other in a negative way.