Different Styles of Juggling Performance

If you have ever been asked to put together a performance, and you have some basic juggling skills but are wondering what to do, then this article is especially for you. If your show is to last more than 5mins (eg more than one routine) then I would suggest that you use a mixture of more than one of these styles.

Comedy Juggling: It’s great to be able to show the world your amazing technical juggling skills if you have some, but if you are performing in front of children, they are most likely to get enjoyment out of silly behaviour whilst juggling and even when you drop! The comedy could include audience participation, getting volunteers up on stage (as long as the end result is that they are made to look like a hero), and plenty of slapstick and mistakes (such as slipping on a juggling scarf you expertly remembered to walk round on several previous occasions). Comedy is also great to use in the build up to doing your big dangerous finales, and allows you to successfully make the end trick (which may only take 30secs to perform) last 5-10mins!

Musical Juggling: This is where you perform to a certain music track or perhaps even team up with some friends who can play some instruments and they can be your accompaniment! Be aware that if you plan on filming your shows and selling copies afterwards, you wouldn’t be able to include copyrighted music (unless you paid the Copyright holder or got their permission).

Magic and Juggling: If you can learn a bit of magic, then it is possible to use these skills to enhance your juggling routines. Some examples would be:

  • Making your juggling props appear and disappear using a Vanishing Purse
  • Using a magic square and turning it into a circle which you can use as a Juggling Ring

Las Vegas Style: Glitz and glamour and sheer technical ability! Fantastic outfits, stunning backdrops, awesome looking Circus Skills props and a fantastic well rehearsed show. This is not an easy style to use if you are a beginner with little performance experience, but I thought it was worth including in this list as a style you could aspire to!

Other Things To Experiment With:

Glow – it’s amazing how good even the simplest of juggling tricks look with glow equipment, especially if you can synchronise your moves to some music!

Fire – be very careful and only ever perform with fire outdoors once you have spoken to other fire performers who can advise you on the best safety procedures to ensure no-one gets hurt. Imagine doing a show indoors, but right at the end, asking the entire audience to put on their coats and follow you outside for the big finale! If you have public liability performers insurance then you will need to check that you are covered for dangerous items such as fire and knives.

Position on Stage – If you are always standing up for every routine, consider a routine that involves sitting or lying down or transporting yourself across the stage. Move around and make full use of the stage for one routine and then you can stand around in one place for the next one. Acrobatics is another way of moving around. If you can somersault, do a forward roll, cartwheel or pirouette, then add this to your juggling routines!

Wide Variety of Props: A 20min show containing nothing but 3 ball juggling might be very boring, especially if you don’t know that many tricks but imagine a routine involving 10 different props (you would now only need to perform 2mins with each prop, and even less if you add some comedy and some magic)! Even with just scarfs, balls, rings and clubs at your disposal, you could mix these together to do some scarf and ball juggling, or some ball and ring juggling (ball goes through the ring), as well as using these props in different ways (balancing a club or club rolling on the floor etc).

I hope that these ideas will help you when you are preparing for your first few shows. Keep a note of your routines and all of your thoughts and ideas so that when you are asked to perform somewhere else, you have some routines that are ready to use again or be adapted slightly!