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Chris Becker
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New York, NY
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I’m doing a manips act with tennis balls.
My questions are:

1, Does the audience expect me to juggle? (That’s what some magicians claim)

2, If I juggle, would three balls be enough (doing a few nice, difficult looking tricks) or would this be all the more disappointing?("Aaah, he starts juggling... ooh... he can’t really juggle!!!") --> i.e. do I have to learn the eight ball techniques?

Thanks for any help,

- - -
<BR>Cards don't cheat people. People cheat people.
John Zander
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Downey, CA
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Hi Christof,

Here is my two cents. I would say that your audience does not expect you to juggle just because you have three balls in your hands (insert joke here)

A manipulation act is a whole different thing and does not have to lead into a juggling act... unless you want it to.

That is not to say that you cannot juggle them. I have found audiences to be quite appreciative of a bit of juggling. I do it because it adds a bit of variety to my act. It also shows a whole other type of skill, which means practice.

Your other question... you do not need to juggle more than three balls for a good act, and the tricks do not have to be all that difficult. Juggling in itself can be very impressive, just "idling" which is the basic three ball cascade will get a reaction. That, plus if you start to juggle today, you are years away from, and may never get to nine balls as you mentioned. Five balls are very, very difficult.

If you have an interest in juggling do a search on the word and you will find all kinds of great information. For me tennis balls are too light, I prefer the Dupe stage balls.
But of course you have to use what works for your act.

I hope that helped. I would say learn to juggle the basics and then decide.



Thank you,

John Zander


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John Zander

Thank you,

John Zander


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Mark V
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I agree with John. There are a number of simple tricks with 3 balls that are very impressive to the general public. Throw in some jokes, or name the tricks in a humorous way to add to the entertainment.

I have found that if you can juggle 3 items, they want to see you do 4. If you can do 4, they want to see 5, and so on. That's where the 8 ball trick comes in handy.

Another idea is to take 9 tennis balls and glue them together in clusters of 3. Then juggle the 3 clusters. 9 balls the easy way!

I have one trick that I do only when challenged to do more. I think I'm the only person doing this. I juggle 3 items while reciting all the countries of the world (192 of them) in alphabetical order (yes, I have no life). I have someone keep count and always try to make a bet on this one.

Mark V
Jeb Sherrill
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Well, just having three tennis balls in your hand might make them want you to juggle, (just because that's what most people with three tennis balls do), but I don't think you have to.
I do see what they're saying though and it would look good. I really wouldn't worry about any more than three balls though.
I'm a pure three baller myself and three balling is an art of it's own. It's all about patterns, not numbers.
Besides, audiences don't know the difference anyway. They see three balls in the air and that's cool. A few variations of three are great, but most people assume that if you can juggle balls one way you can juggle them any way.

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I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
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Profile of malini
In most cases the audience would rather see a three ball juggler who entertains them, rather than a 5 or 7 ball juggler who just gets up and juggles, accepts the applause and sits down again.

Much can be made out of a three ball cascade
often I have seen jugglers go out and perform the craziest hardest move that they have been working on for 6 months, get a polite clap from the audience, they then throw one ball higher than the rest and the crowd erupts into applause.

If you do start to do a bit of juggling (by all means do - it's fun, easy and rewarding), keep in mind the audience is not there to see your latest juggling move, they are there to be entertained, and this can be achieved - with 1 ball or 23.

Good Juggling!!!!
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Profile of Pokie-Poke
23 BALLS WOW!!! Numbers are boring unless you are into sports juggling, If it fits your act, go for it, you can learn 3 ball in one afternoon and it is fun, but don't force it into your act, hopefully your magic will be enough, if not the juggling may not help.
The Adventure cont...
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Profile of Maynooth
Whether you want to work juggling into your act or not, if you're carrying three of anything it can be a great conversation starter if you start juggling. It never ceases to amaze me how many people can juggle and they always have a chat with you at the bus stop (or wherever).

You can learn to juggle (a bit) in an afternoon, after that it's practice. Be warned it is an addictive practice.

BTW tennis balls aren't the best thing to juggle as they have a lot of spring in them and tend to bounce from your hands.

It's fun,
Go for it

Maynooth Smile
The race is long and in the end it is only with one's self.
Eric Grossman
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St. Louis, MO
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I have found that LaCrosse balls are great for juggling. I am mainly a three baller, working on four and five. Five may never come, but quite a lot can be done with three. Check out "Charley Dancey's Encyclopedia of Ball Juggling". It is the Bobo of juggling.
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Profile of Missing_Link
I'll second that: Charley Dancey's book is comprehensive and fun to read.

I'm predominantly a juggler and I've read many books on juggling over the years. If anyone is interested, here are some of my faves. Note: I'm not associated with the authors in any way Smile

The Complete Juggler - Dave Finnigan (this covers juggling with scarves, balls, clubs, cigar box manip, hat manip, balancing plus tips on performance, teaching and earning money)

Juggling with Finesse - Kit Summers (lots of pictures of top-notch jugglers plus good instrctions. Better for inspiration than basic instruction)

Beyond the Cascade - George Gillson (advanced 3 ball tricks with unique, but easy to understand, illustrations)

Three Ball Digest - Dick Franco (more advanced 3 ball tricks, good photos and a section dedicated to the head roll - you know, when you catch a ball on your forehead, roll it to one temple and then to the other).

Contact Juggling - James Earnest (doing lots of cool things rolling a ball over your body ala Michael Moschen).

Hope this is useful to someone!

Paul Jester
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Are Tennis Balls essential cuz they are poorly weighted and too bouncy for juggling (but can be adapted by making a small incision and puting in some millet seed (what birds eat) and patching up the hole), if not, try going to your local juggling club. Search on
and insert your long & lat (or if you don't know it, click on "by country on the left)and trying out beanbags and stage balls (bean bags are slightly squidgy and made from different material).

As for how to juggle, many people are simply impressed by a 3 ball cascade, a few tricks and way hay, they think you're amazing! A few audience favourites would be yo-yo, oy-oy, lob one real high and catch it, behind the back throw, under the leg throw, arm bounces, (mostly quite simple, once you can juggle!) but you might benefit from learning the more "magical" looking tricks like Mills Mess (this could take some time to figure out, then learn, and then tidy up), or some multi-plexes (throwing two or more balls at the same time) but for this, you really need more than 3 balls to keep a pattern going (but you should be able to figure something out with 3.

If you vary the multiplex throws, and the balls being multiplexed... you can really mesmerise your audience this way!). Of course a 5 ball cascade is more impressive than a 3 ball cascade, and 5 ball tricks are more impressive than the same 3 ball tricks, but if you would like a life for the next 1-2 years, I suggest being happy with 3! (And to learn 8, for a magi, that's a bit excessive).

As to whether to juggle or not, well why not, it's good fun and will impress your audience, especially if you finish your juggle by making all three balls disappear!

Have Fun,
Jester_Juggler Smile
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Harris Deutsch
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Perhaps contact juggling might fit into your act better.

YOU are the judge on what will be a better fit. I take input and decide.
Lately I have had great feedback from someone with a great background in not only acting, but directing.

It was a humbling experience, but it did
make my Nearly Normal Magic Show much better.

Harris Smile
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
music, magic and marvelous toys
flourish dude
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I have a small set in my intro where I work with 4 3" super soft sponge balls all to music where after the productions I juggle them for about 4 revelations. I have tried to juggle normal or juggling balls but have not fine tuned it. I found that juggling the 3 3" super soft was super easy they float down. Try it.
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Profile of philipi56
Adding juggling clubs to your act would be a fine idea. Maybe before the show.
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