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 springbreak shenanigans
Author: Daniel Kerr 
Date:   03-25-02 01:03

Hello all,

I've just recently returned from my springbreak in Key West. I intended to write up a little article on my experiences contact juggling on the street but I have too many academic restraints. Instead, I want to raise a few points of discussion on busking.

I know that a few people who visit this site contact juggle on the street frequently. For some people it is a considerable source of their income. So hopefully these questions will be of interest to them (and others).

First of all, since I first started contact juggling for a street audience I have noticed a recurring theme. Nearly everyone wants to hold the ball. You know the drill, you finish your little routine, people ask if it's made of glass, you reply that it's acrylic (for the thousandth time that evening) and then all of a sudden everyone is asking if they can hold the ball. Now most of the time I don't have a problem with this. After all, the majority of people are very respectful of your property and hold on to the ball as if dropping it would be a matter of death. Also, I like people to see for themselves that there was no trickery involved and that the manipulation was all on my behalf. However, it's that significant minority of people that worry me. You know...the usual suspects. The drunks, the excited little ten-year olds, the people who stare at me with a half-crazed look in their eyes which invariably sends a signal to my brain along the lines of-'don't give him the ball, he wants to smash it on the concrete floor!'

Equally worrying, and harder to cope with, are the more unsuspecting types who will kindly ask you with the most innocent look in their eyes, if they could please hold the ball for a second, and then, with your precious acrylic, try to give you a rendition of your routine for your very own benefit. I'm not joking, I've given my acrylic to people who seemed like very responsible adults, who have then tried to pull off a chest roll with the type of enthusiasm that can only end in injury to myself, the audience, or worse still, my precious 4"er! In such situations I invariably manage to sieze the ball before any damage is done. But I'm still waiting for something terrible to happen. My friend Sandy, who taught me to CJ, doesn't let ANYONE touch his props when he performs. However, I'd feel pretty crap if every five minutes I had to say 'no you can't hold my ball, you might break it or hurt yourself'. People usually don't take kindly to such an uncompromising attitude. So then, any advice?

Also, whilst contact juggling on Mallory Square I noticed that, compared to the more traditional street jugglers, my crowds were small. This is because I don't talk and I have no music. It's just me, dressed up as a medieval jester, going nuts with a crystal. It would be nice to draw bigger crowds and earn more cash etc. But I want to do something different on the street. Most street jugglers are not very skilled jugglers, but they are very skilled psychologists and learned in the art of persuasion. This is what gets the crowd in, not their juggling skills. However, I hope to one day have a show which is instead built around the purpose of revealing to the audience the sheer beauty and mystery of contact juggling. A short introduction to CJ, followed by a highly technical routine (maybe with music), followed by a CJ workshop (with stageballs provided by me). That way, the show would be built around inspiration, mystery, revealation and the sharing of knowledge. Who knows, maybe I could inspire hundreds of people to pick up CJ and contribute to the growth of this art/craft? It would be original, new to the street (as far as I know) and I would gain more out of it.

Feedback would be appreciated from anyone and everyone in this community,


Daniel Kerr
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 Topics Author  Date
 springbreak shenanigans  new
Daniel Kerr 03-25-02 01:03 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
ICU812 03-25-02 02:05 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
Daniel Kerr 03-25-02 02:29 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
ICU812 03-25-02 03:04 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
Daniel Kerr 03-25-02 03:18 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
remy 03-25-02 09:51 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
Shyft 03-25-02 03:07 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
Daniel Kerr 03-25-02 03:21 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
ian pugh 03-25-02 03:53 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
Daniel Kerr 03-25-02 04:22 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
remy 03-25-02 10:03 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
remy 03-25-02 09:43 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
mdamelio 03-25-02 16:30 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
michael glenn 03-25-02 17:00 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
Daniel Kerr 03-25-02 20:09 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
ICU812 03-25-02 22:15 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
silver 03-26-02 02:53 
 Re: springbreak shenanigans  new
KTesh 03-26-02 06:36 

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