Mixed Prop Variations on 5[21][22]

One of my favorite toss juggling patterns is 5[21][22], which can also be thought of as 7[22]2[21][22]. If those numbers are confusing you, then you don’t know complex siteswap notation. Don’t fear, though, as I certainly didn’t know the siteswap for this pattern when I started to discover these tricks. Instead, I called this pattern the Piggyback Cascade, as one prop more or less piggybacks on top of other props. It is basically a three object cascade with a fourth prop that is handed back and forth as to not interfere with the cascade. Take a look at the following video to understand the basic pattern.

Keep in mind that the transferred prop will be placed on top of or next to one of the cascaded props each time. This pattern is fairly easy from a technical point of view, but it can take a little time to wrap your mind around the concept. Take some time to learn this pattern, as it can be used for a variety of mixed props variations, as you’re about to see.

Three Clubs or Plungers and a Ball

The first example of a variation on this pattern of which I was aware was done by Jay Gilligan, who used three holy clubs and a ball, passing the ball back and forth from the holes in the clubs. This could also be done with three Renegade cuphead clubs. I later did this with three plungers and a ball, as you can see below.

Three Clubs and a Ring

Jay Gilligan also reports that at some point in time he filmed himself juggling three clubs and passing a ring back and forth.

Three Sticks and a Spinning Plate

Below you can see me juggling three sticks and transferring a spinning plate back and forth.

I first saw this trick done by Pieter-Jan Hoornaert. You can see him perform a pirouette while doing it by clicking here.

Three Hand Sticks and a Devil Stick

Tony Pezzo learned the very difficult trick of cascading three devil stick hand sticks and batting a devil stick back and forth under the cascade. You can click here to see him do so.

Tony Pezzo

The above variations are the ones that I was aware of when I began to experiment recently with other variations of this pattern. Let’s take a look at what I found.

Three Balls and a Spinning Ball

This one was pretty difficult, as the ball loses spin quickly, is hard to transfer, and gets in the way of the tosses.

Three Balls and Pizza Dough

This one is quite easy in comparison to most of the others. I can imagine juggling three small stuffed animals and covering them up with a small blanket that gets passed back and forth.

Three Balls and a Ring

In this variation, each throw of a ball goes through a ring that is passed back and forth between the hands.

Some props require more time and / or stability to be handed back and forth in this pattern. To create this additional time and space, you can either toss the cascaded objects higher or bounce them. Below are 8 variations that use a three ball lift bounce as the cascade portion of the pattern. Let’s start with the basic transfer of a stage ball so you can see what the pattern looks like.

Three Bounce Balls and a Stage Ball

Once you’ve learned the above pattern, you can try some of the following ones.

Three Bounce Balls and a Ring (Version 1)

The following version features the ball tosses passing through the ring, similar to the earlier non-bounce version.

Three Bounce Balls and a Ring (Version 2)

In this variation, the ring is turned as the ball tosses pass through them.

Three Bounce Balls and a Ring Spun on the Fingers

In this variation, a ring is passed back and forth and is kept spinning on the index and middle fingers of each hand.

Three Bounce Balls and a Stick and Spinning Plate

Three Bounce Balls with a Tossed Spinning Plate and Transferred Stick

This variation is much, much harder than the one shown above. Mentally, there’s a lot going on.

Three Bounce Balls and a Tossed Beanbag and Transferred Shaker Cup

This one is reasonably easy. I tried to do the trick with two shaker cups, but that didn’t work. Trading out the tossed shaker cup for a beanbag made the trick not just possible, but fairly easy and fun.

Three Bounce Balls and a Lasso

For this one, I had to use a lasso with a swivel handle. Even with this cheat, the trick was not easy to do.

There were other variations I tried that didn’t work, such as using a paddle ball (paddle with an elastic cord and ball attached) and a ping pong paddle and ball combo. I’m sure there are many other possible tricks to be done with this pattern. In fact, just before the publication of this article, Michael Karas made the following video showing his version of the pattern using three plates and a ball.

Shortly after this article was originally published, 2020 IJA Juniors Champion David Pavlove Cunsolo created the following variation of the pattern.

If you can create one of your own, send it to me and I can add it to this article. Have fun playing around with this versatile pattern.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-six books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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