Reviews/The Visual Encyclopedia of Contact Juggling by Matt Olsen
The Visual Encyclopedia of Contact Juggling 1, Contact Basics
Review by User:Brine_child
The first in Matt Olsen’s series of four DVDs is aimed at the complete beginner to contact juggling. It takes the viewer from advice about which ball to buy, up to the beginnings of more advanced body rolling such as cages and chestrolls, touching on isolations on the way.
It does have to be said that this DVD as a standalone isn’t breaking too much new ground. The first lesson is pure James Ernest; we learn the butterfly followed by the back-to-back transfer and so on, sticking very much to material from Michael Moschen’s routines. Not that this is in itself a bad thing, I myself, along with many other people learned using this method, however the fact that Rich Shumaker, James Ernest and many others have already documented this approach makes me wonder why we need to see it again.
Olsen is an excellent teacher though, from the beginning he is funny and inclusive and perhaps most importantly he teaches good contact juggling form. The emphasis is very much on clarity; from the uncluttered and vaguely Twin Peaks influenced red drape background, to the use of alternative camera angles, you can usually see the mechanics of a move after only a couple of views.
In fact the only major disappointment from this release is the lack of any of Olsen’s sleight-of-hand/contact routine, which seems like something of an oversight in a release from Bob Kohler Magic. Also while the hand-to-hand/basic body rolling is presented well there is still a lack of polish on the isolations, I really feel that someone should get a comprehensive video guide to isolations sorted out because I still don’t feel as though everyone really understands how significant they are to the world of ball contact.
Granted this release is only a quarter of the final work, however there is a feeling that this DVD could be a little fuller. At the end of the day you will be getting about 23 things to work on which should last you between 6 months to a year depending on practice habits and that’s it. There are no routines to provide inspiration or extra features to go back to, so after a year Of CJ I can’t see anyone returning to the video - I am labelling it a definite beginners only title.
So it’s clearly presented, although treading ground that has already been covered on numerous occasions. It’s worth buying if you are completely new to contact and don’t have the patience to wade through The_moves_section and knowledge database on dotorg.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of this quadrilogy has to offer.