The International Jugglers’ Association (IJA) is holding its 64th annual juggling festival in town this week, and between all of the workshops and performances they have scheduled, they came loaded for bear.
There’s also no doubt that the IJA knows how to make a first impression, as they chose to hold a benefit show on their fist night in town. The show, titled "Celebrate the Joy!" had an amazing lineup of some of the best jugglers in the world and it was able to raise $6,000 for the Boys & Girls Club or Rochester.
I was lucky enough to have attended the performance and I was blown away. Having never been to a juggling show, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect (you know, other than juggling). Obviously the performers are juggling, but they are also able to seamlessly integrate elements of interpretive dance, comedy, ventriloquism, and even stop-motion animation into their acts. The result was a highly entertaining show that put a smile on everyone’s face and even better, was able to raise money for an excellent cause.
Some of the funniest moments of the show were provided the performance group Playing By Air, who are able to perfectly blend juggling and comedy into their performance.
Playing By Air Promotional Video from Playing By Air on Vimeo.
Make sure to watch the segment beginning at 1:51!
The show also featured world champion juggler Doug Sayers, and by about the one minute mark of his performance you realize why he’s received so many accolades. The speed, height, and apparent ease with which he hurls balls, rings, and clubs into the air is mind blowing.
His performance was also kind enough to provide me with many of those moments where you realize that you could work your entire life at something and never be as good as the person you’re watching.
Video courtesy of http://www.whatsupjuggling.com/
As I mentioned, the schedule of events during the IJA festival as jam-packed. The exhibit hall has open juggling going on every day from 9AM – 4PM, there are workshops going on every day from 10 AM – 5PM, and there are competitions being held in the evening. Thursday night features a youth juggling showcase, as well as the Juniors championships, and that competitive spirit will carry over into Friday evening, when the individual and team championships will take place.
And if you’re up late Thursday through Saturday, you can check out the Club Renegade stage each night at 11pm. While I’m not sure exactly what that entails, the festival program promises, "The always unpredictable, usually inexplicable and quite frequently astounding acts that trod upon the Club Renegade stage add an element to the IJA festival that is easier to watch than describe."
They had me at "…usually inexplicable…"
For more information and scheduling information, visit: http://www.juggle.org/festival/
Coming up in my next post:
Our next adventure will be taking as all over this fine city, as we’ll be stopping by restaurants that have live music for you to listen to while you grab a bite or have a cocktail. As Elvis would say if he were still with us (or, in our presence if you’re not sold on the whole death theory) the two go together like peanut butter and banana, provided you also fry them. So wait patiently, and I’ll be serving up a helping of Mozzarella Styx soon!