Brazil is a huge country, with nearly 200 million people and more than 8.4 million square kilometers. Unfortunately, we don’t have as many jugglers as the United States or Europe. While juggling is starting to grow here, we don’t have any schools that focus only on juggling (at least not that I know of). But we do have a lot of jugglers willing to study juggling and its related art forms, including dance and music.
We have a lot of toss jugglers, with balls and clubs being most popular here. We also have some good contact jugglers, but very few diaboloists and almost no one juggling rings, devil sticks or cigar boxes. We have some good technical jugglers and great experimental jugglers who come up with interesting, new ways to interact with props. Emerson “Tchatcho” has awesome ideas, including tricks with clubs attached to elastic bands. At our last convention (the fourth Convention of the State of São Paulo – CPMC IV) , Igor Godinho did a cool performance with half an acrylic pipe and a filled stage ball, while Lucas Castelo Branco mixed his green hoodie – worn backwards or over his face – into some amazing ball juggling.
This year, we’re hosting our 14th national convention, the Brazilian Juggling and Circus Convention (CBMC, in Portuguese), which drew about 600 people last year. This past April, we held the fourth Convention of the State of São Paulo (CPMC), a regional event with about 350 people from more than 10 countries! Our conventions, meetings and events always have people from Latin America, especially Chile, Argentina and Peru. But we also attract jugglers from Ecuador, Uruguay, Bolivia and beyond!
Video of last year’s convention in Rio das ostras – Rio de janeiro. (13th CBMC):
Most states in northeastern and southern Brazil have weekly juggling meetings. Circo no Beco, a group of circus artists that meets every Monday, has been operating in São Paulo for the past nine years. People meet to practice and exchange ideas, and we often have a performance of juggling, clowning, or cabaret – all provided for free, though they do pass a hat at the end. We always have some great jugglers willing to talk, teach and learn as they practice.
Video of a special edition of “Circo no Beco,” an open stage followed by a cabaret. It was an awesome night!
As for busking, a lot of people perform alone or in pairs at traffic lights or in parks, where they pass a hat after the show. We don’t have many walk-by performers, though. Busking is supposed to be legal here because of the 5th article of our constitution, which states that everyone has the right to express themselves artistically. Despite that, there have been some episodes of cops prohibiting artists from performing. Now, at least in São Paulo, everything is okay. There are still some cities that prohibit performances at traffic lights, but this isn’t supposed to be allowed (you may have heard about our various political issues).
I don’t know what is it like in other places, but some people don’t appreciate juggling as an art here. I often hear that I should get a job instead of “playing around” – throwing objects in the air or putting them on my head. Many non-jugglers here associate juggling with vagrancy, but hopefully we will change their minds. I really believe that one day, everyone in Brazil will see that juggling is serious work requiring persistence and a lot of practice. On the other hand, a lot of people already recognize our work and commend us!
In general, people in Brazil are very warm and friendly, and the juggling research here is worth looking at. You should consider visiting one day! Perhaps in November for the 14th CBMC, which will take place in “São João del Rey – Minas Gerais.” I hope to see you there!
If you are curious about any part of the juggling scene here in Brazil, just ask! And I would love to know what it is like in the place where you live!