Juggling - by Midair MacCormaic

Juggling is the dextrous manipulation of objects. This refers to the
standard "keep three balls in the air with only two hands" but also
includes balancing objects on your body and passing multiple objects
between two or more willing people.

However, the Art of Juggling in the Society for Creative Anachronisms
is more. In my opinion, to be a juggler in the SCA means that you try
to perform for others, and that your performance has as much medieval
flavor as possible. Indeed, I would recommend those jugglers who want
to perform also learn the art of Jestering, where one tries to
entertain others with humor as well as with your juggling skills.

But how does one keep their performance medieval? First, try to use
medieval looking props. Juggle cloth bean bags instead of tennis
balls. Use wooden juggling pins instead of plastic ones. Wear a
jester outfit or a motley type of garb instead of street clothes.

Be humorous. I never consider my juggling performance a success
unless I'm entertaining people. Over the years I have developed some
of my own rules for performing.

1. Do not perform where you are not wanted. This means asking
someone (the event steward, head server, whatever) if you can perform
or entertain.

2. Don't insist that everyone be quiet when they watch you. There
are many other things to do at SCA events. You have to be good enough
to catch their attention with your words and skills alone. People
attending events are not required to watch others perform, so do not
be sad if they go elsewhere.

3. Be *very* careful about your humor. In the middle ages, a court
jester was encouraged to make fun of enemies of the Lord or Lady they
were serving. In the SCA we have no enemies, and we should strive to
be courteous. You can make jokes, but make it a general jest, or one
directed at yourself.

4. Always leaving the audience wanting more. This ties in with rule
#1. If the crowd gets tired of your work, they won't want you back.
I find a short performance is much more well received than a long one.

How does one learn to juggle? Three ways. Check out the Juggler's
Web Page at http://www.hal.com/services/juggle/ - they have just about
everything a juggler needs to know to learn their craft. They even
have animated pictures! Second, go out and buy "Juggling for the
Complete Klutz." That was my first juggling book, and in my opinion
it is the best book to have for teaching yourself how to juggle.
After fifteen minutes of reading, I could juggle three balls. The
third way is to ask someone to teach you.

I try to do a little juggling before Cynnabar's Monday meetings. If
you see me there or at events, come by and talk to me. I'd be happy to
exchanges juggling tricks with you!



Last Updated: 28 June 98
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