Thom Wall is here to tell you what it is and HOW to do it!
JUGGLING – WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO DO IT! by Thom Wall
“I realized that there was no resource that taught contemporary juggling techniques,” Wall says.
“The books that were already available focused on “this old style of juggling performance or juggling training, where you just throw the throw, it does this and then it just works,” he says. “Whereas juggling pedagogy in the past 30 years has completely changed.”
If anyone knows about the circus it is Karen E. Gersch. She has performed, created and directed circus and painted, drawn and illustrated it. Her work is beautiful and captures the whimsical nature of the circus soul. Here are a few choice examples of Karen’s work with her descriptive text.
The ‘Nickel’ in this oil painting, “Nickel Storms the Ring” was my teacher and mentor, Nina Krasavina, a star acrobat, aerialist ad the first woman clown ever to grace the ring of the Moscow Circus. After defecting to NYC in the mid-’70s with her husband, Gregory Fedin, they traveled with 3-ring circuses throughout the US and Canada. Nina and Grefory opened their own school, the Circus Arts Center, in an abandoned department store in Hoboken, which they ran for years, training many acts that had longtime professional careers.
“Gordoon”: acrylic on canvas portrait of Jeff Gordon, whose inventive and acrobatic routines made him a beloved and longtime featured performer with the Big Apple Circus, as well as Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros., Walt Disney World, and various NYC theatre productions.
“Kenny Raskin/New York Goofs”. Kenny is a physical comedian whose diverse and charming character work enlightens every stage, be it on Broadway, off-off-Broadway or Cirque du Soleil. He is someone I never tire of sketching; captured here during a New York Goofs engagement.
“Little Tich” and his Big Boots Dance was a headlining act of the English music halls in the early 1900s. Tich (Harry Relph) was only 4’6” tall, but left large footprints with his eccentric and energetic dance routines, combining balancing skills with acrobatics. The slender wooden boots he performed in were 28 inches long! Relph is considered the forerunner of all screen comedy.
Darja is a Latvian-born acrobat whose professional partners happen to be small dogs and a potpourri of cats. The setting for her act is a living room, complete with two dressers, a nightstand, and an oval carpet. The drawers glide open and cats climb gracefully out, then jump in an arc to her shoulders, where they run and balance along with her extended limbs, as she turns walkovers, handstands, cartwheels, and splits. A dog poses perfectly on her top hat while she executes back rolls and contortional poses.
Darja performs primarily in Russia and Europe, in circuses, cabarets, and theaters. Her animals travel with her – in carriers to the stage, but live uncaged in her hotel room, where they all share her bed. I know, because I had the room next door to her in Leipzig, Germany, and was serenaded by her Siamese and Egyptian cats, who sang gustily all night!
“Richard Hayes”, also a British Music Hall performer, was a noted juggler and silent, deadpan comedian, often billed as “The Laziest Juggler in the World”. His oversized head, languid manner, and slow-motion moves distinguished his ball juggling routines.
This is a very early pastel sketch of Hilary Chaplain (1990’s) from the CircuSundays Series I used to run. Hilary is one of the most prolifically funny and hardest working physical comediennes, whose recent work has delved deeply into emotional and historical elements. In particular, her current production “The Last Rat of Theresienstadt” which takes place in the “Ghetto town”/concentration camp of Theresienstadt during the Holocaust. Following a successful run in Europe, where she garnered top awards, the show will be presented at The Wild Project on November 13th and 14th.
“Senor and Friend”. Senor Wences began his career as an unsuccessful bullfighter before becoming a gifted ventriloquist. The Spanish performer was one of the highest-paid and most popular Vaudevillian acts in the world and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Wences died at the age of 103 in Manhattan.
“Slava’s Snow Show”. I first saw Slava Polunin in Cirque du Soleil’s production of Alegria, back in the 80’s, and was delighted by his simplistic and organic clowning (finally oversized clown proboscis and makeup used well by the clowns who wore them!) His signature romantic imagery, the surreal environments and emotional physical work he creates were resurrected in his first “Snow Show” that appeared on Broadway. This drawing was one of many rendered from his second run in NYC at Union Square.
Born in Prague, Tomas Kubinek and his parents fled the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia and settled in Ontario, Canada, when he was only 3. He fell in love with circus and clowns, began performing as a child and has never stopped, regularly traversing the globe with his imaginative and eccentric solo shows.
“Waldo & Woodhead” (Paul Burke and Mark Keppel) were a couple of wild and zany guys, whose character-driven physical comedy and strong partner juggling made them a well known performing sensation around the globe. This painting, exhibited at several IJA Conventions, was sold three years ago.
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Mark Gindick is a professional actor, clown, physical comedian, director, teacher and writer/creator of his own theatrical shows. Wing-Man, his original theatrical piece without one spoken word, won BEST ONE-MAN SHOW in United Solo Theatre Festival, the largest solo festival of it’s kind in the world. Mark has appeared in major feature films, including the Nora Ephron comedy Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep; on televison, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and was featured in The PBS mini series CIRCUS; starred Off-Broadway and at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival in the New York Times acclaimed hit The Comedy Trio Happy Hour; clowned on circuses such as Cirque Du Soleil, Ringling Brothers and the Big Apple Circus as well as teaching clowning at SUNY Purchase College and other New York City venues. Mark wrote and starred in How To Be A Man at the Palace of Variety on 42nd Street (NYC) and Mark’s unique blend of vaudeville, dance, and physical comedy earned him three Golden Nose Awards.
Adam Kuchler is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Adam followed in his uncle’s footsteps and became a clown. Since 1995, he has worked in 43 of the United States and 14 countries around the globe, in circuses, variety theaters, parks, cruise ships, and once in a bullfighting ring. He appeared on Late Night with David Letterman multiple times, and in 2012, was honored to be awarded a special prize for clowning at the International Circus Festival in Figueres, Spain. In his spare time, Adam enjoys playing ukulele and eating popcorn.
An international clown duo, combining their talents and sense of humor, depart on an absurd adventure. Whether they are singing, spitting on each other or painting fine art, it all seems to make sense until they make a left turn or a U-turn or park illegally. Just imagine slapstick and circus skills with the good looks of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.
Performed, written and directed by Tim Tyler and Joe DePaul.
Right away you begin to laugh at these two wonderful performers.
The routines are timed perfectly and get some serious laughs.
A uke and wonderfully funny voice with voice sound effects.
It is hard to describe the antics these two perform in the show. Go see it!
Christmas time. Wake Up!
King Kong is loose in the theater. Watch out!
It is a very funny show! If they happen to be performing near you go see them!
He has designed over 100 interactive performance experiences for entertainment, simulation and research.
Interviewed at the Celebration Barn in S. Paris, Maine. Jeff was conducting a workshop titled 'Interactive Performance'. In this interview he discusses the discipline and applications of it in theatre.
“A goofy character tries to find a way not to drown in his narcoleptic behavior. No matter what, his dreams and nightmares will always take the stage. An extraterrestrial invasion, a city that grows too fast, a chicken cruising bar, and a dumb vampire adventure are some of the different situations that will pop out of the mind of François-Guillaume LeBlanc. Back from the creation of OVO, he comes to New York to present his special comedy stylings. With more than 30 characters, Snooze is built with mimes, postures, and voice sound effects. A cartoonish experience throughout a unique performance.”
Amazing characterizations of animals and their human qualities.
Francois-Guillaume LeBlanc takes a well deserved curtain call.
Ambrose Martos has performed standup, clown, improv, sketch and dance around New York City and the world. He was a finalist in the BBC Open Mic competition at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival and once had his roller skating disco act described as “brave comedy” by ABC’s Diane Sawyer. Ambrose is a regular host and performer at New York City’s best vaudeville reviews and has performed on the largest cruise ship in the world for Royal Caribbean. Ambrose plays the lead role in the indie film Lutoski Fish Sticks. He is a 1997 graduate of Clown College, a member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit and part of the comedy trio Happy Hour.