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How long are your routines?

Discussion in 'Juggling' started by LarryTheClown, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    I brought juggling balls and juggling clubs at a crowded outdoor event (where we had to compete for time with folks dressed up as pirates and cowboys). Basically I was walking around, and when I found an empty often grassy spot I'd be doing a quick juggling routine to attract attention.

    How long does a typical routine last for a walkaround? I think I was only doing some simple routines 15 to 30 seconds at a time, but I feel I should go a little longer to attract a bigger crowd.
     
  2. Fitzwilly

    Fitzwilly COAI Secretary

    That is the difference between a walk around and a short performance.
     
  3. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Depends what you are trying to do. Often, if juggling outdoors at an event, people will begin to gather 'round, expecting a larger performance. At this point, the expectations can quickly turn to one of a "street" act or "circle" (circus) act (since people, quite literally, gather in a circle.) At that point, it indeed helps if you can extend the act to a larger sort of thing, lest they be disappointed. If, however, you'd prefer to "get in and get out", then, yes, I would suggest doing a quick flash of some tricks, bow, and move quickly and directly along before people have a chance to circle up. If you stick around at all, you'd better have something more to do, once you have attracted their attention.
     
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  4. Dylan

    Dylan Active Member

    My juggling show is approx. 25 mins with 5 minutes either way depending on crowd and how 'on' I am. Anymore and people get tired of juggling any less and they won't stick around/remember what you did.
     
  5. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    Other than Captain Bananas, (who I could watch all day, day after day), I've never watched a juggler for more than three or four minutes without getting thoroughly bored. What do you have, other than keeping a few balls off the ground, that might constitute as a show? If you might imagine enhancing your entertainment value, is done by adding an extra ball to your juggling routine, let me emphatically dispel you of the notion. IT ISN'T. The complexity and extra levels of dexterity needed to juggle four, five or six objects are completely wasted on anyone other than other jugglers.

    Apart from being a stock in trade of all clowns (the reason why I refuse to ever contemplate juggling), can you describe one thing about juggling that is inherently funny? If you can, I'd love to hear about it. If you can't, why do you want to juggle in the first place?
     
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  6. V

    V Well-Known Member


    Pretty much this...^

    I know several world class jugglers and yet, can't watch more than a few minutes of their performance if all they're doing is juggling. Most of the know this is true of a majority of the general audience and even if a show is 30 minutes, there probably isn't much more than 7-10 minutes of juggling and the rest of the show is filled with more entertainment value.

    Also on numbers, what Barry said is dead on. Once you get to 5 props or so (maybe even sooner) nobody except other jugglers care. Some of the guys I know throw up crazy numbers and while it's impressive for the first 5 seconds; it doesn't really offer much excitement beyond that.
     
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  7. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    It's very difficult to explain how Captain Bananas' juggling show is so entertaining and why it creates such laughter. He would have issues with and dispute the very idea that his juggling could accurately be described as a "show". Certainly, the very rigid and formal way you all like to present your skills, would be a complete anathema to him and utterly destroy the weird mayhem that he creates.

    He has a chaotic, spontaneous, improvised, gentle, drink and drug addled character, with a natural and intuitive way of feeling what his audience needs. He provides them a sprinkling of his magical sparkle, only when it is needed. Since juggling is such an inherently dull activity to watch and perform, the idea of thinking of ways to lengthen a juggling show would be a complete perversion to him. He aims to add a fleeting, flash of creative nonsense, before his agile mind spins off creating sillyness somewhere else.

    I've never seen him juggle more than four objects and he never does any of the more flashy, flourishy moves favoured by advanced jugglers. While these people are so busy and intent on demonstrating their formidable skills, Bananas will drop things, loose things, disrupt all in his vicinity. Showy jugglers have all the fancy shmancy, blingy kit that lights up, glows in the dark, is perfectly weighted and costs a packet from a specialist juggling store. Bananas is much more likely to use chewed up dogs toys that he found in a hedgerow, fruit and a wide, disparate, eclectic mix, of whatever happens to be to hand.

    Jugglers pride themselves on not dropping things. Bananas is the complete opposite and will "accidentally" drop things at the most inconvenient moment, or in the most disruptive way. If you're eating near him, one of those chewed up dogs toys is quite likely to land fair and square in the middle of your dinner. When selecting items to juggle with, he will always think to carefully consider what he'll be dropping and where.

    Bananas performance and clown style is very similar to that of Avner the Eccentric's. And Avner is where I would direct you to go and look for inspiration, to make your juggling show a little more interesting. Instead just juggling, consider introducing elements of balancing into your show.
     
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  8. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    I do find that people like Jay Gilligan are reimagining juggling in creative ways which can hold interest through their combination of skillful manipulation and engaging concepts to entertain.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed more full length (45 - 60 minutes) juggling shows such as the Shoebox tour or, more recently, Company McQuiggs.
     
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  9. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Thanks for reminding me of Jay Gilligan, Tim. I've actually been following my drops with some funny dancing, and it's been a hit. I also limited my juggling to a 30-second routine for hospitals when visiting patients. I actually got some applause, which was nice.
     
  10. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    Of course seeing jugglers with the finely honed skills of Jay Gilligan, Company McQuibbs, Cirque du Soleil or the Chinese State Circus, are always going to be spell binding, entertainment experiences. But you have to remember these performers are geeks and nerds of the acrobatic world. They've been training, practicing and learning since they were children and there only friends were other jugglers. You might learn something of value or gain some inspiration from watching them but I question your skills and I doubt you have the necessary will, dedication and space in your life to ever developing them.

    Introducing an element of balance into your juggling routine, will add an interesting, less run of the mill facet, that will both lengthen your routine and provide an entertaining spectacle. Better still, it will require far less effort and time to develop the skills. Imagine balancing a broom, umbrella, chair, step ladders etc on your chin. It looks a lot harder than it really is and requires less coordination than juggling. It offers great scope and opportunity to create clown moments. There are plenty of ways you can cheat either secretly and covert or openly and overt.

    Whether you chose to simultaneously juggle or not, is up to you. It all depends on your ambition and imagination. I think such an act would be far more rewarding and interesting than adding an extra ball or swapping balls for clubs etc. and it would be much more clowny.
     
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  11. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but you could say that about any aspect of clowning, really. Like, I can go to a balloon jam and be amazed by the 30+ year veterans who can put together a five balloon motorcycle in under a minute. Probably I'll never reach their level of expertise, but it's great to have a goal to measure yourself against.

    Not to mention that I'm typically with a group of clowns, and at least 50% of them can do a 3-ball cascade. It's kinda nice to wow the crowd a little when I pull out something that's a little more complex.
     
  12. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    And that is kind of my point. You're looking at other clowns and seeing what they can do and want to emulate and compete with them. Now that's great from the perspective of learning and developing skills, agreed. But look at it from the audience's perspective. You are just one of many seemingly indistinguishable clowns, who all do exactly the same thing. Where is the wow factor for your audience? Once they've seen one clown, they need not never bother looking at another.

    This is concept that I have tried repeatedly to explain to people on this forum and it is always met, one way or another, with resistance. Your sole focus as a clown should be learning to entertain your audience, rather than trying to emulate other clowns.

    I've just given you some sound advice garnered from a life time's worth of experience showing off and over thirty years worth of performing in one discipline or another. I gave an opinion on what I see as the flaws and draw backs of juggling. I then suggested something that is relatively easy to accomplish, has a wow factor, provides plenty of scope for clowny funnies, fits easily into a juggling routine and makes you stand out from all the other clowns in your town.
     
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  13. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Right, which is why I think learning a few complex tricks can accentuate the act.

    For example, a group of four of us were at the hospital where one clown did his comedy juggling act. Basically it was the old, 1-ball, 2-ball, but can I do three balls? juggling type trick. (Which sort of ends with a "Can you juggle three balls? No no... physically impossible....") I'm sort right behind him mirroring his moves, and when he's done, he gets out of the way and I throw in a Mills Mess, Boston Shuffle, and some factory juggling. It went over pretty well... though I did keep it under 30 seconds like suggested here.

    Basically, learning something more complex, I've found, does set you apart. But mainly I started with it just to stave off my own boredom... three-ball cascade bores even me after 15 seconds, so I try to switch it up just to get my arms moving.
     
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  14. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    I recently saw a juggler make a three ball.cascade funny. He was the M.C. of a variety show. An act change called for a fill. He came out, with almost bored deadpan on his face. Did a cascade, no tricks, until the act change was complete. Then left. Next act change....same thing. Running joke parodying this basic skill. It entertained the audience. Context. It's all about how and when something is used.
     
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  15. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    Larry, at the moment, you're a juggler in a clown costume. You're putting effort into being a juggler, thinking it might make you a better clown and I think that's a mistake. I'm trying to get you to consider directing that same effort into being a clown. So far Larry, in every single thread where we've ever discussed things, you're either resisted that notion or gone silent on me. I'm trying to encourage and inspire you to get artistic and creative, experiment, discover your clown, think like a clown and follow a clown's logic, rather than copying what you see all the others do. From every post you've written here, I've never gotten a sense that you have a clown or that you ever consider the comedy aspect of being a clown. I would love for you to think more carefully about what is funny and what makes things funny and then incorporating that into your routines, rather than expending effort trying to accomplish some kind of mastery over a juggling ball

    If the concept of you not juggling is too scary a step into the unknown for you to dare to contemplate. Have a think about what you're juggling.

    You bought a set of juggling clubs, WHY? What do clubs have to do with clowning? How are you going to use a bunch of clubs in a routine, that's either funny or unusually peculiar to clowns? You could have bought three or four children's umbrellas, that when furled will handle exactly the same way as a set of clubs and be cheaper. But it doesn't end there because umbrellas offer so much more. When opened, they have a unique and distinct shape that's utterly their own. Nothing in the entire universe looks quite like an umbrella and it's not by chance that they create a quintessential part of many clown's costumes. When unfurled, they have a really graceful and elegant way of moving through the air, gliding and parachuting. They can be danced with and there are many magic tricks that utilize umbrellas.

    When you start to think like a clown, you'll find magic in the most ordinary and mundane of items and you will want to eschew the well trodden paths of the mindless drones.
     
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  16. Pookie

    Pookie Well-Known Member

    Barry, I just might steal some of these ideas. And you know, I only steal from the best...
     
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  17. Pookie

    Pookie Well-Known Member

    Hey, Larry, I visited http://www.libraryofjuggling.com/Home.html and saw that they have a fantastic list of tricks and juggling patterns.

    You could start out trying to juggle properly, and start doing some of the non-cascade patterns, making it look like you are trying to juggle and messing up. After going through several patterns which will hopefully catch the audiences attention, you give up and throw all the balls in the air, and walk off.
     
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  18. Red bald

    Red bald New Member

    From someone who is just starting out and has no routines yet and is learning the basics, this is great advice. I can undersand how some people would not receive this well because they have a pattern and thought process in muscle memory basically and that will be hard to change. So in essence just be yourself and instead of trying to be someone else.

    It reminds me of my time in the military. I will teach the people of the base to shoot rifles and pistols and most of the time it was the Military police that would not qualify. Because they have a pattern, style and way of shooting already, which most of the time is not the best way to fire a weapon. The medics and cooks that rarely see or even fire a weapon will listen to everything that I and the other instructors were teaching them and most if not all would pass.

    And I agree that it is ok to learn and copy someone at the beginning in order to figure out how to do the trick or act, but once you got it down you need to make it your own somehow.
     
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  19. Yanko

    Yanko New Member

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  20. Loopy

    Loopy Well-Known Member

    I've just got a few tricks with clubs, balls, spinning plate and a tambourine. I went straight from juggling 3 balls to juggling clubs im trying to get to the point to where I can make it to one minute continuous without dropping but only been able to club juggle for a few weeks now but it was alot harder then learning to juggle with hacky sacks Coach Bob from youtube had a great baby step program for learning club juggling.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CZlZ41aYWc
     

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