The following was handed out at a juggling teach-in in at the
Explorit Science Center in the fall
of 2001. It has been slightly updated in the summer of 2002.
What Is Juggling?
The purist might say you are only juggling if more objects are being tossed
than there are hands to toss them. That is, if one person uses one
hand, tossing at least two objects qualifies as juggling and if two people
work with all four hands, they have to be tossing at least five objects.
(Most two-person "passing patterns" start with three objects per person.)
However, most jugglers also regard manipulating things like "cigar" boxes,
yoyo, "diabolo" (chinese yoyo), "poi" (balls tied to chains or strings, often
set on fire), object balancing, plate spinning, and so
forth as "juggling".
Science in Juggling
While many jugglers don't think about juggling scientifically, there are
quite a few scientists and mathematicians who juggle and have applied their
talents to this art. In some cases the result has been proof that a proposed
juggling pattern is not possible, and in others that previously unimagined
patterns are possible. Some of these areas of scientific study are:
Newtonian Physics (free-fall projectile motion, gyroscopic motion,
rotational inertia, elastic and inelastic collisions, friction)
Biomechanics (geometry of body segments to get good throws)
Mathematics ("site-swap" notation)
Automatic Control Theory (robots that juggle)
There are a number of famous people who juggled (and famous jugglers who
Anthony Gatto (10 balls, 12 rings, 8 clubs)
Michael Moschen (contact juggling in "The Labyrinth")
W.C. Fields (vaudeville comedy juggler before movies)
Claude Shannon (inventor of digital communication theory)
Dave Letterman (talk show host)
Tom Hanks (actor)
Steve Martin (actor and comedian)
Florence Joiner (a.k.a. "FloJo"; Olympic track champion)
Cindy Marvell (Juggler in "Lazer Vaudeville" troupe)
Getting Juggling Equipment
Juggling props are most commonly available in magic stores and
Juggling festivals are usually the best place to try out and buy props.
Some local festivals are mentioned below.
For some basic juggling "balls", look for the Klutz Press' "Juggling for the
Complete Klutz" book including three juggling "bags" at Alphabet Moon or
Border's Books for about $13. Be aware that hackey sacks are a little
challenging to learn with because they are more lightweight than
most juggling balls, and tennis balls are both too light and too likely
to bounce away to be good for learning.
You can also make very usable props fairly inexpensively, including "balloon
balls" and newspaper clubs. Refer to the "Bookmarks" section
of the Yahoo Groups website mentioned above for links to instructions.
The Damento (DAvis/sacraMENTO) Jugglers are people interested in juggling who
meet in Davis on Tuesday evenings 6-9, and in Sacramento on Friday evenings
6-9. Kids are welcome, though we request that parents or guardians
provide supervision for their children. In the summertime we meet in
Central Park in Davis, and in McKinley Park in Sacramento. In winter,
meeting locations vary with availability. We hope our Sacramento
winter location will be the Trinity Cathedral gym, at Capitol and 27th.
If you have suggestions for space in Davis, please let us know! Contact
Jeff either way.
Some notable local events are:
- October 11-14, 2002: Lodi Juggling Festival at Micke Grove, about one
hour drive from Davis. See http://www.bullwhip.org/lodi for more information.
- January 31 through February 2, 2003: Damento Juggling Festival
at Consumnes River College. See http://www.damento.org for more information.