Sean McKinney Memorial Video

sean2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Sean McKinney’s death. We wanted to create a special memorial for Sean at the 2014 IJA Festival in Purdue, Indiana. Conversations about what to do included discussions with Sean’s mother, Jody McKinney, and Erin Stephens (Chairman of the IJA Board at the time). Lots of powerful memories of Sean were shared during the planning and many possibilities were considered. As Sean was so diligent about filming his work, we had an entire archive of published material to choose from, and at one point the idea came up to host a video night where we could have a movie marathon. 

However, I wanted to find a way to reflect how Sean’s juggling and style is still influencing jugglers who are on the cutting edge today. Juggling in Japan has been exploding for many years now, and lots of Japanese jugglers connect with Sean’s work, perform some of his best tricks, and have expanded his original techniques. Sean visited the JJF (Japanese Juggling Festival) in 2000 and his personal contact with the jugglers there spawned an entire generation of innovators. With the help of Darren Wakefield and Yuri Yamamura, I was able to put a general call out to the jugglers of Japan, asking anyone who wished to submit video footage inspired by Sean. 

The submissions were not only moving and passionate, but also encompassed the entire scope of Sean’s reach- some jugglers included incredible athletic jams to entire songs that Sean used in his performances. Others wrote personal stories of meeting or seeing Sean and how it changed their lives. Many submissions were filmed at dawn, with a very spiritual and reverent atmosphere, recreating Sean’s signature tricks during sunrise. The resulting edit from this collection of content seems to go beyond a celebration for the juggling that Sean did personally. The video almost gives us a glimpse of how Sean would have continued to juggle, how he would have grown and developed the unique style that he pioneered. 

For this I am grateful to all the jugglers who continue to remember and be inspired by Sean. His spirit is carried by many who knew him all over the world, and by those who have identified with his anthology. Japan is the perfect example of the incredible power of a juggling community, not just geographically or culturally, but also connecting the past with the future! I need to thank: Jody and Erin for their support at the start of this project, Peggy Reuss for creating and maintaining the Sean McKinney Freestyle Competition and for curating Sean’s 2 solo DVD’s, Darren and Yuri’s amazing and generous bilingual skills, and all of the jugglers who sent in footage for this memorial!

Yuta Ushiogi
Daisuke Hagiwara
Shiro Kamanaru
Atsushi Takauchi

The video is below this Japanese translation:











Jay Gilligan

Imagine being alive when color photography was first presented, email was available to everyone, or when siteswap was first discovered!? Juggling today is the modern dance of 100 years ago. Juggling is exploding and history is being written this very moment. WELCOME TO THE NEW BREED

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