rec.juggling Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Aug 1, 2001, 3:00:13 AM8/1/01
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Archive-name: juggling-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1999/02/01
Version: $Id: FAQ.txt,v 1.33 1999/02/01 07:35:56 barry Exp $

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1. What is the Juggling Information Service?
2. Is there a news to mail gateway for rec.juggling?
3. What is Mills Mess? How can I do Mills Mess?
4. What is contact juggling?
5. Are there any organizations for jugglers?
6. What do all those funny numbers mean?
7. Are there any books that deal with juggling?
8. How can I learn to juggle five balls?
9. Is there a juggling club that meets near me?
10. Where can I buy juggling props?
11. Where can I learn about the history of juggling?
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This is the file recjuggl.faq. It is meant to answer those questions
that are frequently asked on rec.juggling. These questions and
answers are not exhaustive, by any means.

Additions, deletions, corrections, praise, or flames regarding this
document may be directed to j...@juggling.org. The latest version of
this file is available at:

http://www.juggling.org/FAQ.txt
ftp.juggling.org:/pub/jis/FAQ.txt
mail f...@juggling.org

====================================================================

1. What is the Juggling Information Service?

The Juggling Information Service, or JIS, is a service available on
the World Wide Web at:

http://www.juggling.org/

The JIS has sections for the following:

What's New
Juggling Help
Jugglers' Home Pages
News and Old News
Picture Gallery
Movie Theater
Juggler's Mall
Festivals
Club Meetings
Magazine Rack
Juggler's World
Juggling in the Media
Juggling Software
Juggling Organizations
Search JIS
About the JIS

It is possible to access the JIS services by WWW, FTP, e-mail, or
Telnet. For more information on these services and how to use
them, send an e-mail message to in...@juggling.org.

2. Is there a news to mail gateway for rec.juggling?

Not at the moment. The former gateway at PNFI has been shut down.
A replacement is being worked on, but will probably not be available
until about September 1.

3. What is Mills Mess? How can I do Mills Mess?

Mills Mess is, as George Gillson puts it, a "mind boggling pattern
of circling balls, crossing and uncrossing hands, and unexpected
catches." It is a very appealing pattern to learn and perform.
You can perform it with three, four, and, for those who are not of
this world, five balls.

On the JIS, move to the 'Juggling Help' section, and you will find
several pertinent titles.

http://www.juggling.org/help/tricks/mills-mess/

There are also titles on two and three ball tricks, bounce
juggling, showering, and tricks with showers, among others. You
will also find help for clubs, passing, rings, torches, numbers,
siteswaps, essays, and other circus arts.

http://www.juggling.org/help/

4. What is contact juggling?

"Contact" Juggling is the art manipulating balls so that they roll
across, around, and over your body. In other words, the balls
always remain in contact with your body. Although the term
"contact juggling" is relatively new, rolling a ball across, around
and over one's body is not. Paul Cinquevalli, for instance, a
juggler at the turn of the century, performed a routine where he
wore a green felt jacket that had billiard "pockets" sewn onto it.
He would manipulate billiard balls over his body and land them in
the pockets.

Today, Michael Moschen is the preeminent "contact" juggler. He has
a routine where he manipulates up to four crystal balls in each
hand and gradually lets each ball go until he is manipulating only
one ball. Mr. Moschen is also known for his work in the movie
Labyrinth where he acted as the hands of David Bowie doing his
crystal ball routine (he did the routine blind and with the aid of
a monitor. Mr. Moschen was featured on the PBS Series "Great
Performances" in the early 1990's. This video is entitled "In
Motion with Michael Moschen" and is available from Serious Juggling
and Brian Dube (see vendor information below). More recently, Mr.
Moschen developed a piece for Cirque de Soleil. Mr. Steve Ragatz,
rec.juggler, performs in this piece.

James Ernest wrote "Contact Juggling," and thereby coined the term.
(Moschen prefers "Dynamic Manipulation.") Ernest's book remains the
definitive analysis and explanation of contact juggling, and is also
available from Serious Juggling and Brian Dube. The book is quite
controversial among traditionalists, who maintain that only
Mr. Moschen has the right to perform or write about Dynamic
Manipulation. Mr. Moschen himself seems to have been the first
person to make this claim.

Some individuals also claim that the book takes one of Moschen's
routines and describes it movement for movement without giving
proper credit. Others claim that this is not true. It is
interesting to note that those who make the first claim are almost
never practitioners of contact juggling, and those who make the
second claim invariably are.

Mr. Moschen created quite a stir in 1992 when he objected to the
publication of a review of this book in Juggler's World after the
IJA had invited Moschen to be the honored guest at the '92 festival
in Montreal. Moschen at first refused to attend the festival.
After some reconsideration, he did attend and gave a workshop on
creativity.

5. Are there any organizations for jugglers?

Of course. The International Jugglers' Association (IJA) has nearly
3,000 members in several countries, although most are in the US.
It publishes Juggler's World (an excellent magazine), an annual membership
roster, and hosts a large annual festival, including many shows
and competitions, and more. The European Juggling Association was
created to host a large annual juggling convention in Europe. The
New Zealand Juggling Association publishes the Flying Kiwi magazine
and hosts an annual convention.

http://www.juggling.org/orgs/

6. What do all those funny numbers mean?

They are site swaps.

Site swaps are strings of numbers, each number refers to how high a
throw is in relation to others in the pattern. Even numbers are
thrown to the same hand, odd numbers are thrown across to the other
hand. The numbers then, tell the right hand what to do, then the
left, the the right, etc. For example:

3 The three object cascade

The pattern repeats over and over again. So rather than writing
"...33333..." we just write "3." Similarly:

4 The 4 object fountain pattern (alternating)
5 The 5 object cascade pattern
5 1 The 3 object non-synchronous shower (1 is a quick
pass from hand to hand)

At the JIS, move to the 'Juggling Help' section and select the title
Siteswap Notation for more information on site-swaps.

http://www.juggling.org/help/siteswap/
http://www.juggling.org/help/siteswap/faq.html

In addition to the site swap notation, there are a number of
programs that will display site swap patterns for the PC, X
Workstations (Unix), Ascii Terminals (Unix), and the Mac. Refer
to the directory Software section at the JIS.

http://www.juggling.org/programs/

7. Are there any books that deal with juggling?

Juggling For the Complete Klutz, By John Cassidy.

The quintessential beginners guide. This book comes with
three bean bags to get you started. It also covers basic
tricks such as the half shower, behind the back,
two-in-one-hand, four balls, and clubs. This book comes with
three bean bags and is very cleverly written. The beef
against this book, though, is that it addresses numbers
juggling (juggling five balls or more) in a rather
discouraging tone. Beyond four lies madness, it claims

The Complete Juggler, By Dave Finnegan.

Where it lacks in detail, it makes up in volume. _The Complete
Juggler_ is a veritable encyclopedia of tricks for balls,
clubs, boxes, devil sticks, diabolos, and spinning balls.
Beware of its lack of detail in explaining tricks, however.
The text that describes how to juggle 5 clubs says 'bend your
knees' and 'go for it.' Yeah, right.

Beyond the Cascade, By George Gillson.

The complete guide to three ball juggling patterns. Even if
you have trouble understanding instructions like 'toes go in
first,' you can probably follow the instructions in this book
and learn Mills Mess, 2-in-1-hand tennis, or Burke's Barrage
(bend your knees and go for it).

At the JIS, move to the 'Juggling in the Media' section.

http://www.juggling.org/media/
http://www.juggling.org/books/
http://www.juggling.org/publications/
http://www.juggling.org/jw/
http://www.juggling.org/papers/

8. How can I learn to juggle five balls?

Probably your best bet for learning five balls is to find a good 5
ball juggler and have her or him teach you. Also, study good five
ball jugglers when they ply their craft, notice how effortlessly
smooth the pattern is, how high the balls go, how the balls cross.

If you can't find a five ball juggler, you can practice several
tricks that will help you learn five balls. The first is the three
ball flash. Out of a three ball cascade, throw all of the balls
into the air, then catch them as them come down and resume your
cascade. It might be helpful to practice throwing one ball high,
back and forth, so that you can get used to the higher throws that
are necessary for juggling five balls. Another valuable trick is
the three ball chase, or snake. Start with three balls in either
hand, then throw them to the other hand in a one, two, three
pattern and then catch them in the opposite hand, one, two, three.
Make sure that your throws are consistent and follow each other in
nice high arcs (those of you who've been to St. Louis can
visualize the Gateway Arch). Then repeat the pattern, throwing the
balls one, two, three, back to your original hand. Once your arcs
are solid, you can keep the pattern going. Say you're starting with
your right hand, throw the balls one, two, three, to your left
hand. Your left hand will catch the first ball, then cascade it
back to your right hand, under ball two. You will, similarly,
cascade ball two under ball three, and then ball three will be
cascaded back.

http://www.juggling.org/help/numbers/5-balls/
http://www.juggling.org/help/numbers/5-balls/learning.html

9. Is there a juggling club that meets near me?

See the form designed to answer this very question:

http://www.juggling.org/meetings/close.html

The JIS Club Meetings section lists all known juggling meetings
worldwide:

http://www.juggling.org/meetings/
http://www.juggling.org/meetings/Maps/
http://www.juggling.org/meetings/Maps/United_States.html
http://www.juggling.org/meetings/Maps/uk.html
http://www.juggling.org/meetings/Maps/de.html
http://www.juggling.org/meetings/europe.html
http://www.juggling.org/meetings/world.html

10. Where can I buy juggling props?

At the JIS, move to the 'Juggler's Mall' section for information on
all juggling vendors worldwide:

http://www.juggling.org/mall/
http://www.juggling.org/mall/no_amer.html
http://www.juggling.org/mall/unit_ki.html
http://www.juggling.org/mall/germany.html
http://www.juggling.org/mall/europe.html
http://www.juggling.org/mall/world.html

This contains complete contact information for many vendors that
sell a wide variety of juggling props via mail order or e-mail.

11. Where can I learn about the history of juggling?

Use the search tool of the JIS and look for "history".
It will find references in over 400 files, including:

http://www.juggling.org/papers/
http://www.juggling.org/papers/evans/
http://www.juggling.org/papers/hazlitt/
http://www.juggling.org/papers/history-1/
http://www.juggling.org/papers/history-2/
http://www.juggling.org/papers/history-3/
http://www.juggling.org/papers/history-4/
http://www.juggling.org/books/alvarez/
http://www.juggling.org/books/artists/history.html
http://www.juggling.org/fame/
http://www.juggling.org/jw/87/2/

Kae Verens

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Aug 3, 2001, 2:51:13 AM8/3/01
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> 4. What is contact juggling?
> Today, Michael Moschen is the preeminent "contact" juggler. He has

What does "today" mean here? "Today", ten years ago?

There are many contact jugglers who have better moves than Moschen
showed in the PBS special. Granted, his was very well choreographed, but
does that make him better? Who is the better juggler - one who is
immensely technical but socially awkward, or one who can do only a few
patterns but make children laugh?

btw: I don't think he likes being called a "contact juggler".

I remember doing a rewrite of this section of the FAQ a few months ago -
what happened to it?

Kae
www.contactjuggling.org

Andrew Conway

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Aug 2, 2001, 8:39:25 PM8/2/01
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In article <3B6A49E1...@contactjuggling.org>,
kve...@contactjuggling.org says...

> > 4. What is contact juggling?
> > Today, Michael Moschen is the preeminent "contact" juggler. He has
>
> What does "today" mean here? "Today", ten years ago?
>
> [...]

I think you're actually asking, 'What does "preeminent" mean here?'

How about most creative? Most influential?

How many of those contemporary contact jugglers would have though to do a
contact juggling routine if Moschen had not created the genre?

--
Andrew

.sig sez buy Alan Plotkin's Juggling Videos!

Kae Verens

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Aug 4, 2001, 12:03:51 AM8/4/01
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Andrew Conway wrote:
> I think you're actually asking, 'What does "preeminent" mean here?'
>
> How about most creative? Most influential?
>
> How many of those contemporary contact jugglers would have though to do a
> contact juggling routine if Moschen had not created the genre?

That's right - I realised afterwards that I had misunderstood the use of
"preeminent".

I agree that a lot of people owe their hobby to his routine, but I still
believe that some of the more modern contact jugglers should get a
mention, too. Moschen does mostly "palm-spinning", except when he gets
down to one ball, so he misses out on a lot of moves which newer CJers
have come up with.

Yes, they may have been influenced by his initial moves, but still -
even the best toss jugglers are ripping off older patterns. Even Moschen
must have been influenced by the past.

Kae

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