Viewing all threads involving erik aberg
The Smithsonian Insitution's Sidedoor podcast just came out with an episode all about the life and legacy of Paul Cinquevalli! Well worth a listen if for no reason other than to listen to the dulcet tones of Erik Aberg's voice.
Check it out!
Found a download link for this episode in their RSS feed Sidedoor: ep. 7 | the man who defied gravity (mp3 36.3mb)
Thanks for the heads up Thom, just added this to my startling large collection of things to listen to!
Finally managed to get around to listening to this today white I was getting in my pelargoniums and taking cuttings. It was quite a good listen, even if it did give the listener the impression that nothing Cinquevalli did was gimmicked when some of it certainly was.
Surprised at Erik implying that the tricks were not gimmicked as he has stated here that he believes that at least some of the tricks were gimmicked. Here's the thread where we discussed this previously and an article I linked to that mentions how he might have done the billiard balance trick.
This interview was over way sooner than I thought. I have not listened to it, so I do not know what parts they used, but we hardly even scratched the surface of Cinquevalli. They asked questions that were rather silly (for an example, what a member of the audience would wear), and kept interrupting me before I could come to any point. Hopefully, there will be a chance of discussing him properly in the future. In terms of Cinquevalli and gimmicked props, the point is that he claimed not to use them, and specifically pointed that out, as a difference to magic. What the actual reality was, can of course be discussed. The distinction between juggling and magic is clear after Cinquevalli, but not before.
Thanks. I totally understand how they could have quoted you out of context. It seems like Cinquevalli was working to make the distinction between juggling and magic, but then breaking his own rules. I totally understand that his main goal was one of entertainment and making a living though.
I disagreed immediately. I mean, why would such a smart fellow choose to film in portrait?
— The Void (@TheVoidTLMB) July 14, 2017
I agreed with the preamble, but it got problematic when the actual definition started. But is such a long definition useful?
I followed a little of the Facebook discussion about how this definition had been whittled down to mere pages (or was it reams?). I'll have a look at that if it appears but I don't consider a 15 minute video to be information, especially one which didn't seem to yield a point when I skimmed through it
Barnesy, here you go:
Juggling is a genre of activities related to the default form. The default form is the three ball cascade.
How far does the border have to be from the 3b cascade before it becomes 'not juggling'?
It's not about distance. It is an on or off switch. Is there a relevant relation or not? Is there another genre that has a stronger connection to the subject than 3 ball cascade, or other established forms of juggling?
One thing to always remember, is that we are dealing with communication and the meaning of a word here. For an example, if I walk into a pizza place with another juggler and the pizza chef is throwing the dough around, I could easily start talking to my juggling friend about the pizza tricks as juggling, and he would know immediately what I was saying. If the person I was talking to was a non-juggler, it might be harder, since it is not as certain that he would see a connection to other already established forms of juggling.
Perhaps dance is the default form? I think there's an 'outside' and 'inside' of what juggling is. The inside is - feeling a motion.. a dance. The feeling is the same as dancing, you're using an object/s (balls, poi, pizza etc) to feel the dance instead of your body. Skateboarding is using your body and an object to feel it. The playing of a musical instrument isn't related because of the lack of motion.. you're feeling rhythms & melodies.. but not motion. Does that make any sense? Not sure myself.
Juggling is a genre of activities related to the default form. The default form is the three ball cascade.
"Juggling a three ball cascade" is already juggling - can it then serve for defining juggling? (Howto define "juggling" in "juggling a three ball cascade"? .. to me, that's circular, tautologic, self-redundant reasoning)
Far TL; Can't be bothered to W - but:
Is a definition even useful?
Definitions usually only serve so you can point at things which don't fit the definition and exclude them. Something I haven't been interested in doing with "juggling" for a while
I like the idea of exploring the boundaries of a concept, as it lets you find areas that haven't been explored yet. However, defining what the word juggling means is a different exercise of defining what "juggling is", or can be. Completing the first step is probably useful before beginning the second step.
However, if I'm to watch a long video, it has to be more interesting than that in the first minute for me to continue on with it.
Luke, if you want to claim that the word juggling represents something different than "what juggling is" you will have to explain that difference. The word juggling is only a representative for a concept. I does not matter if you try to leave the area of language and the meaning of words, when you still use language and words. Using words in communication confines you to their meanings, unless you explain how they would differ.
We use the word juggling, and we mean something when we do. Therefore, I did not make a definition. Its already there, I have no say in the matter. I can only describe what the word means already.
Q: Is a definition even useful?
A: Yes, because when we understand deeper what it is that we are doing, we can reach further, and be more effective. We can communicate better. Removing confusion is both pleasant and aesthetical.
"Definitions usually only serve so you can point at things which don't fit the definition and exclude them."
For sure you can come up with more uses to understanding language and the meaning of words, than that one.
Not only exclude what is not juggling, but also for example seize the ``essence´´ of juggling, or e.g. define its outlines, yes, as what it's not, as opposed to where juggling stops to be juggling. Like, " Is it right, is it well communicated, to call a throw (that dough across the snack-bar) juggling or is it very artistic skilled throwing, but not really juggling? " .. What do I expect of myself when saying that I am a "juggler", being able to throw dough like him for me wouldn't be enough. I'd like to know what ``exactly´´ juggling is and what ``exactly´´ it requires. I don't feel like a juggler yet with enduring 5 balls for minutes, but not managing a 5b s'swap. I would drop even a 3b cascade when talking to someone at the same time. My 3b tricks go a few rounds to collapse (doing at the limit, tho). I'd say, for example, being able to do a lot of 3b tricks, stable(!!) and transitioning between them makes you a "juggler". Also challenging 2b tricks. But is throwing one ball up and clapping your hands or eating an apple with the other hand really what we understand by "juggling"?
Void, I was rushed and time was limited. The purpose of the video is to reveal the general thoughts. I am not great at explaining, and I am afraid those who wants to understand might have to get involved in the discussion. What is unclear? please tell me, and I will do my best to explain. Not only has the definition of juggling been an area of much disagreement, it also seems as the approach to it differs greatly, from person to person.
For those who find this video too long to be palatable, start here:
And here is a summary of the definition, which may or may not make sense unless you watch the whole thing.
"Juggling is a genre of activities which are related to the default form. The default form of juggling is the 3 ball cascade."
Topic of discussion: is the default form really the 3 ball cascade?
I am now tempted to watch the whole thing because that is not something I'd expect from Erik. There must be a lot more to it than that.
I always use the definition: "Doing what doesn't need to be done in the most difficult way possible."
I've tried to find the source of this definition a few times. Earliest reference I can find is from Jerry Carson in 2001, which is almost certainly where I picked it up from originally. However, Jerry's message suggests it comes from further back.
Wouldn't that definition include many other activities such as skateboarding, rock climbing and base jumping?
If someone is interested to read more about the definition of juggling, there is some discussion about it in this thread:
That link didn't work for me but https://objectepisodes.com/t/the-definition-of-juggling/18/2 does.
The Kingston Jugglers have, "Doing the unnecessary the hard way" on their t-shirts and they've been around a while. Greg Phillips would probably know when they started using it.
Slightly different wording from 1993: https://dev.juggle.org/history/archives/jugmags/45-3/45-3,p28.htm 2nd paragraph.
Longtime friends David Cain and Jay Gilligan won the Fargo Intermediate and Juniors Championships
David, are you younger than I think, or is that sentence missing a 'respectively'!
Why is it important to define juggling? Is it just so you can deny it includes poi?
You can decide for yourself if it is important or not. The word juggling already means something, otherwise we would not use it. "Convention" and "juggling convention" would mean the same thing, and they do not. If I tell you I am going to a juggling convention, you will get a different idea about what I am about to do, than if I said I am going to a convention. I, or anyone else did not make up what the word juggling means, but we can try to articulate its meaning by looking at how the word has been used.
My version (depending on the context - like "among jugglers", but not apt for Wikipedia) would be sth like:
" Juggling is the rhythmic displacement* of objects in a way that allows to do sth else during that displacement ongoing. This is achieved by aiming the object, thus controlling where it will land, with no need to track it. The skill of juggling lies in using that time for doing more displacements of the same kind or sth completely different in a rhythm. This in turn ("using that time") is achieved by synchronizing the body's movements with the pattern (or: "trajectories") juggled (and vice versa, by adapting, tuning, synchronizing the pattern to fit optimal body motion). "
The borders to other kinds of object manipulation transition smoothly. Object manipulations, that are not juggling, include e.g. cutting a slice of bread or sausage or drinking a cup of .. erhh .. revitalizing hot beverage, or moving your whole household to another town with two or more cars than you have helps (then called "logistics").
* displacement - also e.g. rolling
______________ ________________ _____________ _____________ _______________
Thoughts that brought me there:
Maybe it makes sense to include the juggler in a definition of juggling. I mean, the props don't juggle by themselves - it looks so mechanical, so high-tec, when a robot juggles, while, in turn when a human juggles like a robot, it's an artsy illusion, sth haunting, mesmerizing, a different feel, an uncommon onsight. So the (human, or be it then a robot) juggler is a necessary part of the whole setup of "juggling". Juggling is then the juggler moving right in rhythm with the props and the pattern, as a whole. It would distinguish "juggling" from "juggling pattern" or from "juggling (default) form" or alike, as a result of juggling, but not the whole of "someone juggling". Can juggling exist without being actually done by someone? Else "(the) juggling" and "doing juggling" would be two different things, which in reality, practically, they are not.
Or else - let then juggling be the result of what jugglers do, just like there's dance even when no one is actually dancing it -, a definition should then still include how and why this result is achieved. We'd then get: "Juggling is a juggler juggling the three ball cascade."
Or at least include some physical stuff: "one object in the air" .. what does that mean? - It's timing, time gained by throw height (or roll distance), time to do sth else before catching it again, it's rhythm, tact, (music?), and the juggler needs to account for all that by moving in ways allowing for it to happen: posture, technique, pattern an' all.
A whole lot has been said about this in the thread on Objectepisodes.com
Feel free to join.
Thanks, I mean, no thanks. Prefer to stay here. Why spread the online juggling community onto lots'a different places - it's a lot more clicking and logging in, but, main thing is, content gets partly reduntant, partly exclusive or not to find anymore, also later. Same discussions - like this one - will be unnecessarily parted onto different threads, and by nature have less participants. The whole thing gets ``decentralized´´.
But you are participating in this discussion in the decentralized location. The centralized location is on OE.
I understand the generality of your argument, but I think it can only be used against:
a) New, undeveloped forums that
b) Are redundant with current forums
a) is arguable with OE,
b) is different in that it is (descriptively) for serious discussion about juggling, with a few of the current best thinkers on juggling.
I replied to Scott Seltzer, who linked to youTube.
I think, I have good arguments:
That "default form" stuff and that "Juggling is juggling the 3b cascade" thing is self-referring, so not a definition.
My version proposed above does several things:
It includes contact juggling, poi swinging, patterns rolled on a billiard table (by using the "displacement" instead "tossing or rolling or moving or handling").
It includes the juggler, as what I argued for above to me is part of poised juggling. Juggling without a juggler doing it is maybe a "juggling pattern".
It includes the rhythm, so that a single throw or a gimmick or a standalone flourish or an ass catch on its own are not juggling.
Aspects, that the "best thinkers of the juggling scene" upto now haven't yet accounted for. So I must be completely wrong. Juggling is a highly complex form of movement (of a person actor) and with objects. Calling it an "activity related to a basic pattern", the latter an algorithm, that stickman can do, is way beyond what doing juggling actually is. Every activity in the universe is maybe "related to a default form", in the end, that's then like positing: "Juggling exists." is the definition of juggling.
Thanks for your thoughts.
"I replied to Scott Seltzer, who linked to youTube."
I was referring to your comment in response to erik's offer to join OE.
"That "default form" stuff and that "Juggling is juggling the 3b cascade" thing is self-referring, so not a definition."
I found this a bit of a frustrating straw man argument. Why use "juggling" twice in its own definition, then call it self-referring? Erik posted his tl;dr definition above, which reads: Juggling is a genre of activities related to the default form. The default form is the three ball cascade.
His definition does not use the word "juggling" at all, and is not at all self-referential. It is an example of an ostensive definition, which is a valid and common type of definition.
I'll discuss your definition in a separate comment, because I feel that these are separate ideas.
["offer to join OE"] Yes, I understood that. And I was referring to you stating, OE were the centralized place ( when speaking in such terms - it's become a long thread there, and it's become a long thread here, rather independently from one another, exept for Erik Aberg linking there, late this thread. So inviting me to join there ((and having to register an' stuff an' all)), I took as actually a redirection ).
["3b cascade ``unjuggled´´"] Then, I think, in juggling defined as an activity, maybe there is no ``default form´´ "3b cascade", without it needing actually juggled. You can make it an algorithm, you can make it an abstract concept, you can make it a standalone pattern independent of juggling (using quarks or cars or stickman, or people walking zig-zag in cascade pattern or mere points and vectors in a coordinate system), but when using it as an activity to define juggling, using it to precise the activity of juggling, then surely as the juggled cascade. So, in that "default form"-statement, I read the word and notion of "juggling" (the 3b cas) included, even if it's not explicitly written, and I think, that is also what Aberg meant - the activity of juggling a 3b cascade (it in fact reads to me as that word juggling were omitted or expected to be thought included). Else, some major abstraction level would have escaped me ..
["ostensive definition"] I'll have to look that up. So far, I can only say: The ``default form´´ of a horse are neither a "hoof", nor a "mammal" which would be a general category and a property defining it (the classical way), while I can't see how "A horse is a gender of living things related to the default form 'standard-horse' like that one over there [points to one]." can be an useful definition.
Going through the suggested definition bit by bit...
" Juggling is the rhythmic displacement*
I don't see juggling as necessarily rhythmic, at least not in the sense of any definition of rhythmic I could find (e.g. a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.). I could juggle briefly in a completely unrepeated style that would clearly still be juggling.
[...]of objects in a way that allows to do sth else during that displacement ongoing.[...]
I'm not convinced this is necessary, but it is an often-seen attribute of typical juggling.
[...]This is achieved by aiming the object, thus controlling where it will land, with no need to track it.[...]
What about freestyling, where sometimes the juggler doesn't really aim? What about the passing game "garbage", where you throw horrible throws to your partner, absolutely necessitating them to track the object?
[...]The skill of juggling lies in using that time for doing more displacements of the same kind or sth completely different in a rhythm.[...]
Same argument against rhythm. And without rhythm being included in the definition, the definition is by far overly inclusive.
[...]This in turn ("using that time") is achieved by synchronizing the body's movements with the pattern (or: "trajectories") juggled (and vice versa, by adapting, tuning, synchronizing the pattern to fit optimal body motion). "[...]
Juggling is very easy to do, and in fact always done, without "optimal body motion". This part of the definition also uses "synchronizing" loosely. Taken literally, it doesn't make much sense, and taken loosely, it doesn't state things precisely enough for a definition.
(general) I feel that your suggested definition describes a lot of juggling, but not all of it. I also feel like it uses far too many parameters, some of which seem to be intended more literally than others. Some of the parameters are categorically different than others:
rhythm being necessary is very different than demanding optimal body motion.
I'm glad, you had to dig deep and find unusual, rare counter-examples, in order to query, attempt to refute, to discuss the the proposed definition.
>I could juggle briefly in a completely unrepeated style that would clearly still be juggling.
Cool! But I think this might then be either "learning to juggle", or else pretty hard and then rather one of the many exotic, experimental forms of juggling, if really done with no rhythmic feeling, also without half or quarter tacts (e.g. shapeshifting which is still a rhythm). But, yeah, one could go through slightly or completely different heights in order to achieve that - would look pretty "Frankenstein", or "casual", though. [//And that's where our new discipline "casual juggling" (without any rhythm whatsoever) is born.//]
Maybe your word "repeatedly" could be of use for a definition (e.g. in order to distinguish from single throws, gimmicks, that could then be "elements of juggling").
>And without rhythm being included in the definition, the definition is by far overly inclusive.
Hm .. rhythm is indeed, if not crucial (as you put it), a major constituing aspect I see in the ado of juggling that I find needs to be included in a good definition. (But maybe it's not the best word). By "rhythm" I don't mean a tact, a beat, a cadence, but also e.g. galopped tacts, also speeding up or down shortly (in relation to a given beat), or also a funky, maybe broken rhythm (but I think, that was also your wide understanding of the word).
Maybe abstract it to sth like "recurring along spacetime" or so (which sounds queer and awkward).
I do still think that usually juggling goes with a rhythm (in that broadest sense).
[// I don't want ``my´´ definition to be "overly inclusive" °gnarghh°//]
>Juggling is very easy to do, and in fact always done, without "optimal body motion".
I don't see that. I see that alternately throwing a weight (also that of the arm itself!?) left--right--a.s.o. requires countermovement and keeping th balance - the whole body is involved to provide for the right positioning of hands and arms when throwing and catching (in the rhythm dictated by the pattern). Doing (or tuning) this awarely and as optimal as possible is crucial for juggling well, fluent, with no superflu tensions. A question of posture, anatomy, action patterns, the system: "juggler juggling".
[>"synchronizing"] When building a juggling robot, you will have to synchronize throws (height, direction, timing) and where the robot's hand or bowl or what it's got, shall catch. Same for our human hands - where the hands are needs be synched with where the props fall. And what goes for a single throw and catch will take place all the time when juggling a pattern, else you drop.
[>general] Yes, juggling has a lot of aspects that want to be included in a definition. And rating a definition's valuability or aptness or usefulness in deep will lead to having to in turn defining the words used in it.
One more thing .. a definition of an activity, of object manipulation, as broad as juggling, can by nature not be completely clear, not complete, not as binding as in e.g. natural sciences, but can still be ``better´´ than in e.g. social sciences or in humanities. It transitioning fluently at its borders doesn't mean it can't be defined as what it's usually. Any exotic derivations are then exactly that, not "juggling" in it's common sense, but "experimental" or "exotic forms", or "unclear to draw a line there". It needs be done pragmatically a bit, I guess.
I mean, it would be cool to have a widely agreed upon definition, instead of year by year when that topic rises up again, resigning on the many exception there are counteracting every attempt to define juggling while we all know what it is.
I disagree that my counterexamples were rare, particularly the not having "optimal body position". Consider a beginner, walking around in an uncontrolled fashion, has optimal body position. Certainly juggling, certainly not optimal body position!
Really though, I don't think "optimal body position" is important to your definition, and I feel it would be stronger without it.
I certainly understand the differences between levels of acceptable precision between natural sciences and social sciences (I did a BSc and MSc in natural sciences, and am doing a PhD in social science). I believe that a definition should encapsulate the uncertainty of the act. I think this is a great strength of Erik's definition. With his definition, it can account for context and culture, both of which can affect whether something is juggling. If Erik's definition is a Gaussian centred around a 3b cascade, I think yours is a similar curve, but with the tails cut off.
 - Arguable, probably?
Okay, I think, we've both thrown our arguments into the webspace now, and there's partly rather controversial opinions or viewpoints, some bit of agreement; but we both put foreward some aspects to maybe be accounted for in future attempts on defining "juggling". [ #definitions ]
There's a new book by Karl-Heinz Ziethen coming soon!
https://jugglinghistory.com/ for details
Are there people who paid a normal price for 4000Y? Like, what did it cost originally?
According to advert in Kaskade in 1985, they originally cost $98(US) per volume (plus postage)
That was steep! No wonder there are such few copies available..
I'm hoping the new one will be a bit more affordable, even though it's promised to have more content!
It won't be cheaper than or equal to $99, for sure. But I'm sure it will be worth whatever the cost.
I'm quite sure it will be more than $200. I understand that it will be very good and high quality, though.
Ah, well that might be a bit too much for me, I'll read at a friends place ;). But I sure hope it will be worth that money!
On a related note, I'll be having four more juggling history books coming out this year, at the much less expensive price of $15 each. First two are done and the next two are in the pipeline.
The original 4000 years of juggling was printed in 600 copies. We are looking into a few price options for the new book. Not sure what the final price will be yet.
Sorry if I gave incorrect info. I was just going on what I had heard in the past and didn't know that other printing options were being looked at. Really looking forward to getting the book.
I just acquired a copy completely unexpectedly! I was visiting my friend, 85 year old stunt and circus legend, Bob Yerkes (whose house I had been to many times) and I saw the 2 volume set on his bookshelf. He was never a juggler, but did trapeze, teeterboard, wire walking, acrobatics, and just about every other circus skill. He just gave it to me.
I love that you signed up for a Juggling Edge account just to gloat. Top marks!
I'm getting DNS errors on that domain, and all archive.org has is a placeholder.
Is there a better source of info (presumably facebook) or if not - Mike, could you do me a massive favour and let me know when it's available? :)
It is working for me, does https://jugglinghistory.com work any better
Do you want me to sign up to their release notification service with your e-mail address?
it does say on the site
For other questions, please contact Niels Duinker through: www.ComedyJuggler.com
Oh, Neil mentioned on 25 Jan there have been problems with the website
(just in case you can't read facebook)
Hello group, yesterday I posted about the new juggling book about the history by Karl-Heinz Ziethen. some people mentioned the website www.jugglinghistory.com didn't load properly
To received updated about the publication date... this is the link directly to the sign up form:
I've spent my evening rummaging in books and archives, trawling through videos and pulling together a blog post about my current juggling obsession - The Golf Club Trick.
I know there are one or two juggling historians amongst us (Mike Armstrong, David Cain I'm mostly looking at you!) who may be able to flesh out some details and fill in some gaps.
If anyone has any information about the history of this trick (especially some details of when Joe Marsh or Freddie Ferrer added it to their acts which would help date it's origins) I'd really appreciate it.
Also if anyone has any pictures of Joe Marsh which would help identify whether the picture attributed to "Joe Marks" is actually Joe Marsh - or if it's not - does anyone have any information about Joe Marks?
Well there's a video of Joe Marsh (not doing the golf club trick) with some very clear close ups here:
Which you must know about, since you posted it. :-)
So I'll post it here for the interest of anyone else who hasn't seen it.
...and now I've read the article: Nice one! I like articles that gather up all the known info on one particular subject.
I may have some info and pics to help you out. I'll see what I can gather tomorrow.
Yes, that picture from Jugglers Galore is Joe Marsh. I'm have the same picture with the label "Joe Marsh" in front of me right now. I would recognize him anyway. He invented the trick in 1930. I may have other pictures in my collection of old timers doing it. I do a version with tennis rackets that can be seen in the following video.
I’m still trying to find a date for Freddie Ferrer, but if we assume he was 20 in 1930, that would make him in his 60s in the video of him performing the feat on TV – which isn't as implausible as I had originally thought.
Having re-watched several of the videos very carefully, and bearing in mind what I know of Joe Marsh’s props (thanks Topper!), I think Frankie Ferrer's approach to the trick *may* be gimmicked differently.
It’s hard to describe without openly theorising about the gimmicks on the internet (something I’m naturally opposed to given my history as a magician) but the way Frankies top club moves suggests that’s a point contact balance, and that the golfball is probably genuine as well.
This combined with the mention of Ty’s golf tee suggests that my original thinking about how to make the golf ball work is still a valid solution - so I may pursue that avenue of thought.
Coming up with my own approach to the gimmick also would feel a lot less like cheating!
I was doing the full golf club with ball balance today, It just needs a bit more practice to make it feel more natural.
I have a lot more pictures of Jon Anton performing the golf club trick going back to 1965.
I spoke to Jon today and as far as he knows there isn't any film footage of Joe Marsh performing this trick. He said he thinks Joe first performed it in 1930.
Joe Marsh 1905-1990 used to make props for Tommy Cooper.
If anyone is interested Jon has a lot of his performances on video/dvd, he said it would be nice if they were on line but doesn't know how to do it. He has shown me footage of three different routines including the golf club balance when I have visited him.
Nice photos (I love the last one!)
I could probably help get the videos online (and would really like to see them!) but I'm not local and wouldn't want the responsibility of receiving anything precious through the post, especially if there's only one copy of it (my postman has a habit of leaving parcels in inappropriate places)
But if you can get a DVD copied and post the copy to me, I'll see about getting them up on juggling.tv and/or youtube.
The last photo was apparently taken shortly before he passed away.
Jon is copying some of his acts onto a DVD over this weekend. When I have pick it up I will pop in the post to you.
Really nice article Paul, plenty of new information for me which I am thankful for.
I could add history prior to the trick.
Like you say, it is inspired by billiard cue tricks, and the inventor was Paul Cinquevalli, who did several different combinations of cues and balls.
Cinquevalli was (probably) inspired by Katsnoshin Awata (I know that they knew each other, performed together at least once in 1886, and Katsnoshin is mentioned in interviews later) who did tricks with Hitotsumari (which has it´s origin in drumsticks from Taiko) and balls of tightly knit yarn.
Many gaffs were used around 1900 to create similar tricks.
I performed the trick every night for a month in 2011, for a dinner show in Stockholm. I did the version where you hit the top club so it spins around, but I had no club horizontal in the bottom, just a "T" on my forehead.
Have you seen Ian's version?
I'm not sure about that, it looks like he hasn't really thought through what he's going to next.
In fact, I'd say that the whole trick looks a bit half baked to me...
... I'll get my coat.
I was rewatching...
...and I noticed that he also puts a golf ball between the *bottom* two clubs. I thought I'd reread your article to see if that was mentioned (or anyone earlier doing that), and the article has gone. Is it archived anywhere?
Of course, it's archived (minus photos) here: https://web.archive.org/web/20160414102942/https://www.paulseward.com/blog/20140421/the-golf-club-trick/
...and you do mention Lanka in there. I'd have to rewatch all the videos to check for the second golf ball done by others. Maybe later....
From memory he's the only one I found using a second ball.
In practice though, the second ball doesn't add much difficulty. Certainly not as much as playing the flute does.
Unfortunately I've disposed of the club I had prepped for that bit of the trick (which I stopped doing because I thought it stretched the credibility of the trick a little far)... but I guess I've got until May to make a replacement.
Jon Anton told me Joe Marsh learnt the trick with two golf balls but said it looked to fake to stopped performing it after a short while.
Here's another one, the "standard" version, Frankie Ferrer:
Hard to say for sure, but that one looks a lot closer to my version than most others - there are a few tells that discount some of the more gaffed versions.
Thanks for finding it!
Your ghostcube is very cool. There was another thread where it got some reactions:
Do you have anything which describes the construction of them? Perhaps some closeup photos of things like the hinges? I'm as interested in how they're put together as I am how they move :)
It is spreading quickly! I also saw the video on a non-circus blog that I follow: https://www.flabber.nl/linkdump/video/zweeds-ontwerper-erik-aberg-demonstreert-vernuftige-ghostcube-18090
I hope that those 400000 views also help you on selling some dvds!
I am Erik Aberg from Sweden. I am interested in juggling history and also circus and magic. Wouldn´t call myself a collector, but I have a decent library and archive with some things in it. I don´t know if many jugglers collect these days?
I will give a lecture/exhibition on juggling clubs at the 531 fest in October, perhaps someone here visits that festival?
All the Best All of you!
Hi Erik! Welcome!
I too am interested in juggling history, circus and magic. Although I think I'm more interested in Jugglers and Magicians than I am juggling and magic.
My collecting goes in phases (and I'm not currently in a very active phase) my juggling collection is quite small by serious-collector standards, but I suppose it's probably large compared to many new jugglers who aren't interested in books or old objects.
I think collecting/history tends to come relatively late in a jugglers career. It's only when you've been a juggler for a while you start to want to dig into the past, and it's only when you get older that you gain the ability to aquire objects either with money or by meeting the "right" people.
Unfortunately I'm not going to be at 531, but I'd love to watch your lecture if it were to turn up on video somewhere!
Paul, if there is something in particular that you are looking for, let me know.
For a long time I have been trying to locate a recording of Cinquevalli´s voice.
If you google "PeoplePlay UK - Paul Cinquevalli" you will see a doc file of some kind of student task, one of the links, which now doesn´t work, has a voice recording of Cinquevalli.
If anyone is internet savvy enough to find contacts for the people in charge of this (former) website I would be much grateful!
I guess you already know that that page is cached on the wayback machine, but the link to the file is broken there:
This page has an About section...
...which seems to suggest that the PeoplePlay site was under the umbrella of the Victoria & Albert Museum's theatre collections. The link given does not work, but I've found....
....which, alas, appears to contain nothing new, and no mention of the recording.
Lastly, I have a very vague memory that I once discovered an old audio recording purporting to be of an old-time juggler, but when I downloaded it, it was merely someone else reading out the text of an interview. I can't recall who it was(n't), or what site it was from. I hope it wasn't this, and that the recording of PC does indeed exist somewhere.
Meanwhile, welcome to The Edge.
I've had a rummage, and I can't improve upon what Void has come up with. I think I'd get in contact with the V&A next and ask them what material they hold on Cinquevalli.
Which reminds me, my local university has a large theater collection and I've been meaning to get over there and have a good look through their archives as I know it contains at least some Music Hall related material - although I doubt it contains any recordings of Cinquevalli.
Hi Erik. I'm glad the invite worked. Paul's profile indicates that he lives in or around Bristol.
Bristol, (UK) Said university is actually my employer, which may or may not make access easier for me than others.
I'd point you at their online catalogue search, the public version is horrendous and doesn't show up material which shows up in the internal library catalogue.
I know that Cinquevalli performed in Bristol around these dates:
1897 24th of May to 5th of June, at the Empire
1898 Nov 22nd-29th (Portsmouth and Bristol)
1898 6th of Dec at the Empire
1913 1st of Sept at Bristol Hippodrome
1914 March 17th - 20th, at Bristol Hippodrome
If you go to your university´s archive (is it the Mander and Mitcheson Collection?) you could check for these venues around these dates, perhaps there are programs or something?
I´d be interested in pictures of the Empire and the Hippodrome of Bristol, are the houses still around?
Thanks / Erik
If I find anything, I'll let you know!
The Hippodrome is still standing (and still a theater) although The Empire was demolished in the 1960s. However, while checking about The Empire I found this article: https://www.bristol-culture.com/2013/08/27/empire-theatre-returns-to-old-market/ which I wasn't aware of - but will now keep an eye on!
Oh, and for pictures of the hippodrome see https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=bristol+hippodrome&tbm=isch The stained glass sign sign out the front was added in the 1990s, but the interior is pretty much as it was when the theatre opened.
The dome in the roof opens for ventilation, (an interesting feature) and although I remember it being opened for a lot of performances there when I was a kid - they apparently have aircon now which is more effective.
I found a different catalogue link, and it does appear to be the Mander & Mitcheson Collection (amongst others) - While it does appear to contain variety programmes from the empire, I can't coax the search into finding any before 1901. There is too much material in there about the hippodrome for me to find anything by searching, I think I'm going to have to book a visit to the reading room.
If nothing else, I now know about the existance of item "KB/18/1" which is described as an A4 folder containing "Bristol Music Hall References, compiled by Kathleen Barker. Includes People's Palace, Bristol Empire, Tivoli, Bristol Hippodrome, Bedminster Hippodrome, Picture houses, Prince's Theatre, the Zoo & Alhambra" and appears to be dated 1757-1954
So if Cinquevalli doesn't get a mention somewhere in that folder I would be surprised.
If I find anything, I'll let you all know.
Also, have a rummage in https://www.bristol.ac.uk/theatrecollection/search.html and if there's any specific items in the catalogue you'd like me to investigate for you, give me the catalogue number I'll see what I can do.
Thank you for this. I will contact the V&A museum. Hopefully it wasn´t just someone reading the text. If it was recorded in 1893 at least Cinquevalli was alive then.
Hi Erik & welcome.
Their collections search page unfortunately doesn't return what we want.
The doc file you mention has a transcription of the recording which appears to be an interview with Cinquevalli that was printed in a newspaper. Hopefully the article was written from the recording otherwise I can't understand why there would be a recording of Paul Cinquevalli reading an interview he'd already given.
As a related side note I really like this recording of Harry Houdini.
In my case, collecting is impractical, since there is such a relatively small community here, and the costs to import memorabilia are prohibitive.
If live somewhere that's at least medium town sized then head to your local library and ask about their old newspaper collection. If you dig a few out from the early 19th Century I bet you'll find something interesting in the theatre listings and reviews - I was amazed at just how much stuff there is to be found.
OK; it's not the same as collecting the props of big name acts, but it's suprisingly rewarding - www.jugglingarchives.com has small selection of the things that I found without looking very hard.
But also, collect ephemera for anything you find which is happening *now* - any show which comes your way, save a program and get a poster. Any performers in your area, get their promo material and save it. You may not think it interesting or important now, but in 20,30,100 years it will be.
Collecting starts with hoarding :)
Historical Information Wanted:
I am particularly interested to learn which of the juggling/manipulation skills were being performed in 14th - 16th Century. It doesn't have to be performed in Europe between these dates but I would like to have some reference pictorial or otherwise that confirms dates.
So far I have confirmed:
Juggling balls (at least 1000BC)
Juggling knives (14th Century)
Ball on Parasol (15th Centruy)
Diabolo (pre 12th Century)
Staff (Roman or Chinese around 2nd Century)
I haven't confirmed:
Kendama (wikipedia dates introduction to Japan in 1777 so it predates that time in Europe)
Devil Stick (although these may be Han Dynasty)
Spinning Plates (although these may be Han Dynasty 200BC - 250AD)
Any other manipulation props
I will be grateful for any information that increases my knowledge.
Kendama wasn't invented until 1918. Its predecessor, the bilboquet, dates back to era you mention.
I went on the https://www.kendama.co.uk/ site and read this and then spent quite a while checking out bilboquet.
Also interested in where to purchase Bilboquet other than here:
or if I could get a number made by a local wood turner who would be interested in owning one if £10 or less.
As well as Bilboquet I'm also interested in buying traditional bamboo diabolo if anyone knows where they can be bought via the internet I would be extremely grateful if they were to let me know.
Would this https://bodley30.bodley.ox.ac.uk:8180/luna/servlet/detail/ODLodl~1~1~31487~107691:Lancelot-Cycle,-Branch-3-;jsessionid=93BEB6DCEEC13352316D8CB2D2B1B3D9?trs=9&mi=0&qvq=q%3Ajuggling%3Blc%3AODLodl~14~14%2CODLodl~1~1%2CODLodl~23~23%2CODLodl~24~24%2CODLodl~6~6%2CODLodl~7~7%2CODLodl~8~8
constitute proof of plate spinning I wonder. Dated early 14th Century.
Here are the earliest references I could find from 4000 Years of Juggling Volume I. There are probably earlier references for most of them somewhere.
Knives. 4000 YOJ V1. 347 AD. There are also several drawings shown from the middle ages.
Knives and lit torches were also used for juggling. Chrysostomus (347) saw the former in Antiochia being practised by a woman and the latter is described in Alciphron’s letters as follows: "...that your husband is friendly with the little Ionian ladies, who throw the balls and torches ..."
Rings. 4000 YOJ v1. 422 BC.
One can read in Xenophon's "Symposium" that a Syracrusanian troupe appeared at a banquet at the house of the rich Athenian Kallias (422 B.C.) which included a girl juggling with 12 rings whilst dancing.
Devil Stick. 4000 YOJ v1. 1828. Image of Carl Rappo on page 59.
Spinning plates. 4000 YOJ v1. 1770. Must be earlier than that?
An Englishman by the name of Price worked in 1770 in the very first circus according to Philip Astley holding a cane in each hand on which he spun plates while riding a horse.
Thank you Peter.
So rings date before 422BC but the description of juggling 12 rings whilst dancing seems somewhat unbelievable if performed in a standard fountain. This is often the case with historical descriptions and and/or pictures as the observer/painter is trying to portray their overall impression rather than factually verify what was done. She could e.g. be juggling 3 rings at a time but have 4 different sets of rings. However for my purpose the date is much more important than the number juggled.
I don't own 4000 Years but know that a large number of jugglingedge people do and was wondering who would be the first to mention it.
You should also wonder what exactly was meant by "juggling" by the original author (or the translator). Spinning the rings around the limbs might be more likely than air juggling, for example.
Again a very true point and impossible to now know if it is an author mistake rather than a translator mistake. However the fact that there were rings being manipulated before the 14th century is what really matters to me. If they were rings being spun around the body in the same way as hula hoop however that would be much more interesting as it would add another prop.
And after a little more research:
The ancient British enjoyed a battle game called "kill the hoop," in which participants hurled spears at a rolling wooden or metal hoop. By the 14th century, however, they were just as thrilled to spin the hoops around their waists. Which pastime was more dangerous? If historical records are any indication, the medieval British hoop craze resulted in dislocated backs and heart failure. Physicians of the day even issued a dire warning: "Hoops kill"
Panati, Charles. "Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things." Harper Paperbacks. 1990
I had read that reference about ring juggling in 4000 Years as well, but I would venture to guess it wasn't toss juggling as well. I believe that modern ring juggling started with hoop juggling by William Everhart. I've been trying to locate the earliest ring juggling using what we think of as rings. The earliest I can find is Willy Jaeger, Jenny Jaeger's father, jugging rings in 1900.
I've long been interested in finding the origin of ball spinning. Who was the first to spin an inflated ball on their finger? Rastelli generally balanced balls on his finger without spinning them, at least as far as I know. The only actually ball spinning I'm sure that Rastelli did was to spin a rugby ball on a mouthstick. Those who came after Rastelli did ball spinning, but I'd love to know who actually did it first.
The ancient British enjoyed a battle game called "kill the hoop," in which participants hurled spears at a rolling wooden or metal hoop
The Klingons call this game qa'vak.
I'd agree that the 12 rings mentioned for 422BC probably isn't toss juggling, but you didn't define juggling either.
Cigar Boxes. 4000 YOJ. 1868
The juggling act with 3 cigar boxes was first shown by an unnamed mimic clown in the German Circus Renz in around 1868 but his was in the form of 3 bricks.
I just found this history of club juggling. Sticks and knives were done a lot earlier but clubs are relatively recent.
Yes, I was going to link to that list by Breen as well. I believe cigar box juggling is based on wooden block juggling from Japan that goes back much further. There are some great articles about this, but they don't seem to be online.
I heard it was a Japanese prisoner. Instead of pillows they had a wooden block (this was normal for most people not just prisoners). A prisoner spent his time juggling them, he impressed the guards & was granted an audience with the Shogun(?) who was also impressed & granted him freedom.
But if that was the case why do we know them as cigar boxes rather than *Japanese word for wooden pillow* (枕? Makura? Void? Jemnezmy? Anyone? Bueller?)
Yes, because they're not a great trick to work on immediately after getting a genital piercing
If anyone can bring down a conversation from historical to genital it's LP!
Alberts were popularised by Albert Lucas but who knows who first performed them it certainly wasn't Mr Lucas.
I also had heard the cigar box / Japan link but I'm trying to find anything that actually confirms this rather than it being heresay.
It's late. I've spent way too much time today searching the internet for historical information that doesn't appear to be on the web and I make a spelling mistake. My juggling wasn't great today either.
Albert throws go back at least as far as Bobby May. I do have an article about the history of Japanese juggling and it does talk about the wooden block pillow origin of cigar boxes. It's not just hearsay.
I've seen several sources that credit Morris Cronin with inventing the "Albert" throw. Not sure how accurate that is, but it does seem clear that he did perform the trick. We discussed this on ##juggling irc channel the other day, and I've actually been induced by blood pact with another juggler to call "Albert" throws "Morris" throws and "Trebla" throws "Cronin" throws. At least till someone proves that he wasn't the inventor.
According to Yumi (genuine Japanese) & Simon (wannabe Japanese), it's a takamakura.
Takamakura appears to be a pillow on a block of wood. This doesn't seem to be an obvious juggling prop, in particular not a cigar box type object. At least as far as google images show this anyway.
Because jugglers learnt to juggle knives and fire long before they learnt to juggle the much easier and safer clubs!
I think I've seen a picture of a Chinese juggler using clubs but I'm not sure where. It was probably a link on rec.juggling years back. The link you've given is probably not very accurate in terms of first to do anything. I've read it before and find it quite hard to believe that Americans various were the only people being the first or breaking records when so much of juggling history involves Europe and Asia. The problem of course is finding the information from an authentic source.
I don't have time to go dig it out tonight, but Vol1 of 4KY has some info in it about chinese jugglers juggling sticks with a ball on the end (rather similar to what Lottie Brunn juggled), which are probably as close to "clubs" as you're going to get - at least until the invention of indian/swinging clubs and the first westerner to juggle 3 of those.
The shape of a club similar to a juggling club was around in medieval times but used in tournament ground fighting as a means of tiring out and essentially beating up men in armour. Anyone who has attended an English Heritage joust in the last 10 years will have seen this form of fighting.
Similarly, the indian clubs that became swinging clubs came from sailors belaying pins (which were also extremely big and heavy).
It's not beyond the realms of comprehension that someone tried to juggle something club like in medieval times. The problem is lack of historical records and the somewhat secretive nature of performers.
I'd also like to know when Russian style circus clubs first made an appearance.
I believe thta Russian style clubs were based on clubs made and used by the Bremlov family.
Presumably meaning those with multi-faced bodies, as opposed to the standard smooth-curved bodies.
Was fascinated by this snippet of information (not sure of validity but there are several sources quoting this on the web):
Devil sticks got their name from the Greek word diaballein which roughly means to throw across. Devil sticks have been used at different times in a number of places, including India, China (where they're still used in military displays), and by the Cherokees in North America. The oldest known set of devil sticks where found in Egypt, and are roughly 4,500-6,000 years old.
i know it´s 3 years later but the thread just appeared on google while researching for an article and devilstick history is just irresistable especially if i believe theres something wrong with it.
the greek "diabolo" theorie is unlikely. (the name devilstick hasn´t appeared prior to 1900 were it came up in american vaudeville). i have a theorie that there was a part in archie onris comedy routine that makes sense out of the devil connection but thats just another highly speculative guess. from 1820 to 1852 it has usually been announced as indian/chinese stick play as far as i know
if there are sources on china military displays and cherokees but especially for the old set found in egypt i would be super interested in that.
You need to make a few specifications.
- Clubs or juggling clubs? what are we talking about here? hollow clubs? clubs specifically made for juggling? Please state a bit clearer what it is the you are after.
- Cigar boxes is only a decoration, that was put on a wooden block to match the character of Harrigan. Is that what you are requesting?
- Juggling rings. Do you mean any circular object with a hole in the middle? or do you mean something specific such as a flat rimmed ring?
- Juggling balls. Beanbags included?
Great that this is being discussed. All you have seem fine, but the ball on parasol date seems early to me. What is your source on that?
This is all 3 years ago so I don't remember all the sources but it was all internet based research. I did have all the links on my old computer but that died and I didn't transfer that over. A did look at a lot of the pictures that people had posted on here or rec.juggling that had come from reputable academic sources.
For me, ball on parasol seems quite a late date as parasols have been around much longer and so have balls.
My initial question was to find earliest recorded instances of each type of prop so for example I don't care whether they are juggling with hoops or rings just as long as I can confirm that they were doing that type of juggling. Likewise whether it is called a cigar box or whether it is called whichever the Chinese name was in the time of the Han dynasty is irrelevant. As a more concrete example, if I know people were juggling with fire in 1 AD (Chinese juggler posted on jugglingedge), I don't care that people were juggling clubs in 1910 AD or whenever it was because the skill set is the same and you don't learn to juggle fire before juggling without fire. I do however care that they were juggling knives in 1350 AD (UK woodcut image) because although the skill set is the same the prop is interesting in itself.
It blasts the topic "history of juggling", but in matters of "earliest archaic origins of juggling", I saw an Orang-Utan in a doku who, let nuts (coco? as big as a baseball anyway) roll from his shoulder to catch them - with hand crossing, i think - on height of his chest or belly. He did that on both shoulders. Alas, couldn't find it again later and not remember the doku's name. First contact juggler thus need be investigated among our apelike forefathers lol.
I'm interesting in learning some under-actuated balancing tricks. This means than the degrees of freedom (DoF) of the part of the body used to balance on is less than the objects being balanced. With a single inverted pendulum (e.g. club balance on nose) you have 2 DoF to move in and the pendulum also has 2 DoF, so it is fully actuated (not under-actuated). The 3 ball stacked balance I do is also fully actuated because you can rotate and move the lower ball (4 DoF). I'm now interested in learning the double inverted pendulum (one pendulum freely balanced on another) and the dual inverted pendulum (two pendulums of different lengths both balanced on the same rigid platform). Several years ago I wrote a simulation game for the double pendulum and also leant to balance a peacock feather on top of a club, although I always felt I was cheating with the peacock feather and would prefer to balance two equal objects.
For now I'm more interested in the dual balance as I think it's more doable. This is possible only if the pendulum lengths are different. I intend to balance one on my nose and one on my forehead (or possibly chin). I tried a spoon and a club already and it was way too hard. I think that one pendulum needs to be around 30cm and the other around 2m to make it doable.
I'm looking for some props for general balancing tricks like this that would be configurable to different lengths. I'd like something modular than can be linked together to give a wide range of lengths. I could make something myself but something may already exist. Anthony Gatto uses pens that chain together but probably can't be used to make long rigid chains, so I'm wondering what other options people can think of. The individual modules should ideally have the following properties:
- Ability to chain together rigidly to at least 2m, preferably not using magnets.
- preferably no longer than teaspoon length.
- a small point to balance on at one end. Not a flat area at both ends that would make it possible to balance statically.
- preferably cylindrical shape with uniform weight distribution.
- good weight for feeling the balance. Hollow plastic would be too light I think.
Finally, I'd be interested in finding out about people doing the double or dual balance now or in the past (not including robots, which have done both and more). This must be a free dynamic balance. The only evidence I've seen is a drawing of Paul Cinquevalli doing what looks like a double balance with two pyramid shaped objects.
I'll look into some examples of what you're looking for in my books and records. Speaking of books, I just finished reading Ziethen's Book about Rastelli, Brunn, Ignatov, and Gatto. It contains a lot of pictures of Rastelli that I hadn't seen, including a number of triple ball balances, both in the hand and on the foot. I didn't know if you had a copy of that book, but I thought of you every time I saw a picture of that trick.
Just an update on this. I've made a set of balancing poles that fit into my juggling bag but can be linked together to make a pole about 6 metres long. The poles are aluminium and come from a cheap wardrobe from Argos. They're already designed to fit together, so I just had to cut them to length. I got some rubber chair leg feet off the internet for the bottom of the poles. I cut a hole in a ball and stick it on the top of the pole to make the top more visible.
I made first attempts at the twin/dual balance yesterday. One pole is 45cm long and the other is 4 times as long. I balance the short one on my nose and the long one on my forehead. First impression is that it's hard but definitely doable. I'm already getting a feel for it. Seems like it could be easier than the triple ball stack balance. Next step is to make or buy a universal coupling attachment so that I can work on the double balance.
You asked for info on people performing this feat but I've never come across anyone mentioning it. Is this something you've seen or heard about before & was just asking for more references? Are you taking inspiration from the robots?
It used to be the case that roboticists were trying to match human achievements, now it seems to be the other way around. I know people have been using siteswap simulators for ages now, but this is the first case of non toss juggling.
I was originally more interested in the double balance. I took inspiration from robots but also from reports and images of Paul Cinquevalli. More recently it occurred to me that the dual balance may be easier and a starting point for the double balance. Here's a robot performing a swing up of the dual balance.
Here's a 2 axis robot performing a triple balance!
I've been through 4KYears and The art & its Artists, and I can't find much that fits the true double balance (There's an awful lot of mouthstick+balance) None of the following are satisfyingly clean enough to count as the trick you're going after (and apologies for the quality, my scanner is playing up so I had to resort to my phone)
Paulo Bedini, head pedestal ("easy" balance) plus a balance on a mouthstick:
Massimiliano_Truzzi, head pedestal ("easy" balance) plus a balance on a mouthstick:
Angelo Picinelli, illustration depicts a chin/forehead ballance, although I think reality was probably a mouthstick:
Bert Holt, which now I look at it isn't a double balance at all, he's suspended by his teeth:
As I said, none of those count as direct hits for me - so if anyone else can find some source material which shows this trick I'd love to see it too!
Thanks, yes I've seen those. Most of the combination tricks that were/are performed often involve static balances and one dynamic balance or in some rare cases multiple dynamic balances on different parts of the body that can be moved independently.
This image right center shows Paul Cinquevalli doing what appears to be a true double balance.
The next image shows his most famous balancing trick, which I think is a kind of very hard double balance. I've always assumed that the first ball on the cue is held statically at the end of the cue (I've not read anything that suggests otherwise) and so there are 2 points of free balance. There's a better photo of this, which I think is in Juggling, the art and its artists.
That first image looks more like "balance something on your forehead, juggle three hats with the left hand, and spin a 4th on a pole in the other hand" which is still a nice trick, but not in the same ballpark as a double ballance.
While the hat directly above his chin is where it would be if it was being balanced, I can't see a support connecting the hat to the chin, either in your scan or in the books I've got.
The billiard ball balance is an interesting one, and there's been an awful lot of debate about how pure/gimmicked Cinquevallis approach was. I know a lot of his contemporaries gimmicked tricks like this (flattened edges on the balls, wax, in extreme cases holes and pegs) and I've read reports which say PC did it ungimmicked, but I'm suspicious of the validity of some of those reports.
Going from bottom to top, hold a glass in your teeth, with a billiard ball in it. Balancing a cue tip down on that would seem plausible as there's quite a lot of friction from the leather tip. The first ball on the top of the cue would sit quite naturally in a divot on the end, or in the rubber end stop you get on a modern cue. I'm not familiar enough with the construction of billiard cues from that time to guess as to chich it was, but it seems likely one of these approaches was taken.
The contentious bit is that last ball on top of the whole stack. A flat spot on the top two calls would certainly make it a lot easier (but still not "easy") but did PC do that? I don't know.
For the first picture of the double balance, I'm not sure you're seeing what I'm seeing. I'm not talking about the hats at all. He's balancing on his forehead what appears to be two long upside-down pyramid shaped objects, one on top of the other. This is a double balance as opposed to the dual balance that I'm now attempting. They could of course be one solid structure but then I fail to see why it would be that shape, other than to make it look like a double balance.
From what I've read, I'm of the opinion that PC didn't gimmick his tricks. I believe that the billiard cue and balls balance is genuine if we assume that only the cue and the top ball are truly balanced and can see how it would be possible after 8 years practice. The only question I have is how he set it up. If he set it up on his own then this would surely be a lot harder than the balance itself.
A photo from Olivier Caignart just popped up on facebook where he appears to do a similar balance. It could be that this is the same balance that Paul did and if that's the case it's not a double balance (I believe). https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/1075329_10151529788872282_2012507519_o.jpg
That's interesting. The tripod arrangement does look similar to the one in the PC image. However, in the PC image it appears that both objects are the same. I guess we'll never know for certain though.
Well, you'll just have to learn a triple-balance, so you can say for sure you surpassed PC.
I really need to have another look at the copy in my books as I can't make it out clearly from the scan, but it is looking a lot like a tall glass balanced on three sticks now that I look at it in that context.
Given that it's part of a combination trick, that theory makes a lot more sense than the "two inverted pyramids" theory to me.
A couple of us spent some time one bungay balancing a tumbler on top of three chopsticks, and it's not any harder than balancing a club (even for a glass with a flat bottom and no "foot") The bit we couldn't manage (but got rather wet trying) was to pour some liquid out of a bottle, into the glass, while it was balanced.
One day I might go back to working on that, as it'd make for a lovely renegade routine. "set up glass on chopsticks, balance whole thing, open bottle of beer, pour beer, feed pipe into top of glass, syphon whole thing into your mouth"
I remember, at Edinburgh BJC (I think), somebody doing the balance the pint of beer on top of a club on their head and syphoning the beer into their mouth, but they seemed unable to stop the syphon-tube with their tongue and couldn't cope with the speed the beer was being syphoned into their mouth.
That would be one of the risks yes, but possibly also one of the more entertaining parts of the idea
Can you point me at the stuff that you've read? I can't see why Cinquevalli wouldn't gimmick his tricks - he was a professional performer, not someone working on ideas for his own pleasure or interest. Of course I don't know anything reliable about his personality or motivations, maybe he really was a purist (I guess we'll never know for sure) but I'm not sure that purists even existed in the days before juggling as a hobby.
Magic books from that era certainly have adverts for gimmicks that would make that trick easy, with a lever in the cue which pushes a pin out of the tip which threaded onto holes in the balls. I suspect Cinquevalli wouldn't stoop that low for fear of being caught (especially as plenty of people had access to that gimmick) but it seems foolish not to make a trick a bit easier for yourself if you're going to it onstage twice a night.
I guess this is the main article, which was written at the time. It describes the trick and the debate over whether it was gimmicked or not.
"It sounds idiotic to say that anyone could do this if the billiard balls were flattened; of course he could. Times beyond number has Mr. Cinquevalli been called upon in various parts of the world to decide bets arising out of this very feat. "It's an utter impossibility," one man will say; "he uses wax or something." But he doesn't."
It seems to suggests that bets were placed and the trick carefully checked to decide the winner. This doesn't prove anything and we'll never know for sure, it's just the feeling I have. He practised the trick for 8 years, so doubt that it would take that long to learn a gimmicked trick. I'm quoting PC himself with regards to 8 years.
It also doesn't seem like the kind of trick that a non-juggling audience would fully appreciate. I do think that he learnt this trick mainly for the challenge rather than to perform it (imagine someone performing this trick on X-Factor and being told is was boring and not dangerous enough).
Nobody is doing this kind of trick currently, which I think contributes to how impossible it seems. Would be interesting to test a robot on this trick.
I would still like to find a quote that describes how he set up the trick though.
I guess this is the main article, which was written at the time. It describes the trick and the debate over whether it was gimmicked or not.
It seems to suggests that bets were placed and the trick carefully checked to decide the winner. This doesn't prove anything and we'll never know for sure, it's just the feeling I have.
You're right, it seems to suggest it. It doesn't say it and I don't believe it - remember that the Strand was a popular entertainment magazine the Cinquevalli would have been using in the way that a modern "star" goes on a talk show to plug their film - it's in his interest to spin a good story.
He practised the trick for 8 years, so doubt that it would take that long to learn a gimmicked trick. I'm quoting PC himself with regards to 8 years.
How many times have you heard a street-performer claim that 5 balls took them 5 years to learn?
I guess this says more about my cynicism that Cinquevalli's skill, but billiard ball on billiard ball seems almost impossible (because of the size and slipperiness) in a hand - on the end of cue which has to be lifted into place on his chin is completely implausible to me, even for someone that talented and skilful.
I hope I'm wrong but I don't believe that I am. As we've both said we'll never know for sure.
That's fair enough. I understand your cynicism. However, no-where I've seen does it say that the ball on the cue had to be lifted and placed on the chin. Also, I don't think I've seen anywhere that suggests that he performed this trick regularly in his act.
Here's how I visualise the control of the trick. There are two ways to visualise the movement of the end of the cue to centre it under the ball. Firstly, when you move under the cue it start falling the other way, and then you move back under the cue. This is slow and not good for balancing such a small object such as a billiard ball on the end. Secondly, there's the instantaneous movement of the top end when you move the bottom end due to the cue's rotation around its centre of gravity. For a cue, the centre of gravity would be about 2/3rds of the way up. When you make a quick movement at the bottom of the cue, the other end instantly moves in the opposite direction by a lesser amount. It's this movement which I think could be employed for making very fast micro-corrections.
I'm curious as to how you think he got the cue/ball combi onto his chin if not by lifting it.
I'm with Mikey. Too hard to be feasible if not gimmicked. (Sorry, Mr Cinquevalli.)
The ball could be placed on top by an assistant or the ball could be held in place somehow until it had been raised, at which point it would be released.
I think that if I saw a decent video of the trick I would be able to tell instantly if it was gimmicked or not based on the movement of the cue and ball. I know that it's very unlikely that any video exists, but perhaps a more detailed description from another juggler who witnessed it.
I'm with you Mikey.
Articles like those published in The Strand need to be read in context, and in this case the context is of a performer promoting himself to a journalist. I wouldn't take anything in that article at face value.
I also dispute that flattened surfaces make the trick easy. Any flat subtle enough to not be seen by the audience isn't going to be big enough to make it "easy"
- he was a professional performer, not someone working on ideas for his own pleasure or interest.
How many professional performers of that time called themselves professional performers as opposed to say performing artists? I would imagine that some calling themselves the latter would rather put in the effort to learn a near impossible trick rather than cheat.
Anyone got any references for what Cinquevalli thought his job title was?
At the time, part of being a "professional" performer was effectively competing with other performers to bring a new stunt to your act which was bigger, better, faster, harder than your contemporaries to improve your billing.
You can see this happen in a lot of skill based performance at the time, jugglers, magicians, acrobats, trapeze artists... they were all innovating like mad to get an edge on their competitors.
I think it was that purely commercial pressure which drove the skill innovation rather than any navel gazing notion of "art"
Obviously as soon as one performer is performing something, other people want to copy it, and those people haven't got *time* to put in 8 years to learn something - they need it to work in 6 months to ride the wave of bookings.
In that light, I feel that the originator of any given feat is likely to do the hardest version of it - and indeed there are many ways to gimmick "a billiard cue and two balls" which vary greatly in their difficulty.
From outright frauds (hidden pegs and holes securing everything together, thoroughly documented in prop makers catalogues of the time) through wax and flattened surfaces (also documented) to roughing the surfaces to eliminate slipping (I don't *think* I've seen material about that), and finally the raw, final trick, as it appears.
Which in this case, I think is probably actually impossible given the smoothness of the surface, the size of the balls, and the length of the cue.
Personally, I don't think flattened surfaces make the trick "easy" (at least, not in the way that the peg/hole gaffs do, or to a lesser extent the wax) but I do think they make the trick possible.
However, I would love to be proved wrong by someone performing this stunt today.
I've been searching a bit in online digitised newspapers for Cinquevalli and found this article in particular relating to the billiard balance trick.
The text is difficult to make out. I interpret it as:
'Paul smiled and said, "I can always perform this trick. You may not know it, but there is a bean of virtue in a tiny rubber ring".'
I'm not sure about the word "bean". Is "bean of virtue" an expression I've not heard of?
It seems to suggest that he used a small rubber ring between the balls. This seems likely since he could then allow people to inspect the balls for flattened surfaces. I learn from Erik Aberg that he also performed more difficult versions of the trick with additional balls stacked on top of each other. I still feel that the trick is possible even if he didn't perform it legitimately.
Other good search results for Cinquevalli can be found here:
The text is difficult to make out. I interpret it as:
'Paul smiled and said, "I can always perform this trick. You may not know it, but there is a bean of virtue in a tiny rubber ring".'
I'm not sure about the word "bean". Is "bean of virtue" an expression I've not heard of?
I think that "bean" might actually be "heap" - still not a common phrase but I think it makes more sense
Yes, you're right. I found the same article again where the text is much clearer.
Personally, I think even with a small rubber ring that that is bloody difficult.
Going to try it?
I don't see how having a small rubber ring between the balls means this trick is still difficult. All you need to do is keep it steady and it won't fall. You could easily balance a stack of balls on the floor with this method. There's no control required.
I think it depends how large the ring is. Assuming the ring has to be small enough to not be detectable, I think it's certainly going to be harder than just balancing the cue (because you will need finer control over it) but it's certainly nowhere near the difficulty of doing it ungimmicked.
I've got some suitable o-rings in my workshop, next time I go to a car boot sale I'll keep an eye out for a cue/balls.
Hmm. Thinking about it, there is a car boot sale which happens about a 5 minute drive from the Bristol convention site on Sunday. I might go along to that, see if I can get a cue and some balls - then give the lot to Ewan and bet him a beer he can't learn it by the end of the convention.
I bet you a beer that you'll never persuade Ewan to learn a gimmicked trick
On previous experience, I'll try to explain the gimmicked trick, he'll misunderstand and make up a similar-but-not-quite-the-same trick which isn't gimmicked but is actually much harder - then learn that.
I am more thinking that a rubber ring only simplifies dealing with the balls. So you still need to get the balance between the stick/cue and the balls right. I was thinking that the balls might still be legitimately balanced on the cue, though.
My impression is that he is balancing a billiard cue, on which are balanced two billiard balls.
Am I totally misunderstanding the trick or over-estimating the difficulty of balancing something on something else. Either are possible. :)
I have plenty of references from programmes, interviews and posters. He used: Juggler, Artiste, Equilibrist, Humorist, but more often a short sentence to describe him: "Supreme Juggler", "Master of Balance", "the Incomparable Cinquevalli in miracles of equipoise", "Cinquevalli l´incomparable" etc etc etc.
One thing to remember, at the time of Cinquevalli, it is not certain to the public what juggling actually is or what it takes to be able to execute it. For us today, it is quite safe to say juggling is defined as skill aquired by practice, not by hocus pocus or gimmicks. This was not the case around 1900. You will find many pictures of magicians from india, labeled as jugglers. Cinquevalli is the first to really claim that his tricks was achieved by practice and that no gimmicks was used. He would talk about many tricks as "I practices 4 hours daily for 8 years before I could do this feat". He was also the most famous juggler that ever lived, probably the first (and only, besides Rastelli? WC fields was famous, but not for his juggling) famous juggler. If this is true Cinquevalli is the establisher, and definer of the art form.
I think it is true, however perhaps a bit simplified.
The other jugglers that were famous of their respective times like Holtum and Trewey I think worked with juggling in another way as then we know it today. I think the list of jugglers that got world wide recognition would be very short......
I don´t know how famous Signor Vivalla was (the juggler of PT Barnum´s exhibitions before he did circus).
Back to the billiard trick, I do not think it was done for real. I have serious doubts that Cinquevalli would expose his secret to someone. When he retired he was flooded with mail from people who wanted to buy his props. His apprentice Torino performed some tricks of Cinquevalli, not the double balance as far as I know.
Cinquevalli also did fantastic balance tricks with cigars and cigar holders. I don´t have the time to write more now, but later I will explain.
I believe Cinquevalli is the only juggler whose name appeared in the popular press and literature at the time as a term applied to anyone carrying out a task with great skill. This factor makes finding articles which are actually about him (rather than just use his name) more interesting.
I don't think any other juggler (not even Rastelli) has ever achieved that.
I'm sure I've read somewhere of newspapers reporting of children "playing Rastelli". Can't remember where or when though, sorry.
I wasn't sure where to reply in this thread.
What's the gimmick in https://youtu.be/pIhPj1Xf2_A ?
I was at the EJC. If I'd seen him doing that I would have inspected his balls (no sniggering). There's a Russian guy with several videos of himself doing the same trick. I'm guessing small rubber rings the same as Paul Cinquevalli, but could also be flattened surfaces. Clearly impossible as a free balance with perfect spheres without having any sensory feedback.
Hard to tell from the video, but they could also just be glued together - which would still be a pretty damn hard trick.
As it's his video, lucasgabd would be able to tell us (if he ever joined in on any threads rather than just promoting his youtube channel and running off)
Lucas appears to believe it is a genuine 3 ball stack head stall based on his YouTube comment.
Lucas has posted on facebook that the balls are not spherical and are in fact deformed.
I have seen this trick by another performer, a video was posted on rec.juggling I believe during the first talks about a possible three ball stack. I can't be bothered to find it now but it was then already suggested that it might have some flat surfaces.
Later I stumbled upon this very performer on the street, and while I did not have a chance to inspect his balls I saw him do the trick multiple times and every single time his fingers search for some specific spot on the ball, likely to be flattened out.
Thanks for finding that, it's rare I have to turn the music off on a juggling video, but that did my head in after about 30 seconds
Are they typical runs, or have you picked a couple of flukes there? Either way it's a great trick.
That's fairly typical. I get around 10s around 50% of the time once I'm warmed up. My best is around 17s. Obviously I picked the best ones from the session. Filming it is a bit harder because you have to stay within the camera's field of view.
Wow! Nice to see you getting so far with that trick so quickly.
Also, was that a 7 ball flash with a teaspoon balance?
Yes. Not only to be able to balance it well but also move it around in any direction with complete control. The tea spoon balance helped a lot. I chose a relatively long short pole (45cm) so that I would have complete control of it.
Can you share any advice on learning a single-object balance? Watch the unattached end and keep movements small?
What is best to learn with? I am making vague progress with a club, but a longer stick should be easier....
Yes, there's not much else to say. Start with long things and progress to shorter things as you improve. Also practice moving around while maintaining the balance.
The "traditional" approach is to get a long stick (broom handle, garden cane, whatever) and learn to balance that. Then when you have that comfortable, cut an inch off the top and re-learn it. Rinse and repeat until you're at the shortest object you want to balance.
My problem with this approach was that you can fool yourself too easily that one good days practice is enough to warrant shortening the pole, the shorter pole is then too hard and you're stuck trying to learn something slightly too far out of reach to be comfortable and it gets frustrating. I "fixed" that by having two poles, and when I could comfortably balance the shorter one, I cut an inch off *both* poles. So I had a "learning pole" and a "reassurance pole" I could fall back on to firm it up.
General balance advice is:
- look at the top of the object
- using small steps to step under the balance is not a crime - use them for large corrections, but try not to chase the thing round the room
- for medium corrections, use your torso/shoulders
- for fine corrections, use your neck.
- as with everything else, good posture helps more than you could imagine
- expect it to take ages to learn, then if you learn it quickly it'll be a nice surprise
- If the balance is falling, catch the pole. Be aware of the end of the pole or you'll have someones eye out.
- 15 minutes twice a day is more effective than an hour every other day. Little and often.
All that said, my balancing is nowhere near where it was when I was actively working on it, and even when it was at its best I was nowhere near Peter (my teaspoon PB is around 5 seconds)
Does where you are balancing make much difference?
That is, am I going to have to relearn to a large extent on my forehead if I learn on my chin?
I feel the skills are largely transferable between chin/nose/forehead - although I find shorter objects much easier on my nose. I've never really worked out why.
I don't like the forehead balance much, I think it's because I wear glasses and it involves looking up through the gap between the top edge of my glasses and my forehead - and that region is terribly fuzzy.
I completely agree—although after learning to balance in one location it is not hard to learn the other balances, the nose balance seems to offer slightly more precision and the forehead balance always seems a little awkward with the positioning.
I've always thought that as the nose is so central on the face, you have a significantly larger range of movement with less effort. Especially the forward/backward recoveries include whole upper body movements when the object is on the forehead/chin, as opposed to smaller head or neck movements when it's on the nose.
Maybe I'm crazy also.
While on the subject of easy location. I strongly agree that forehead is the best to juggle with, because the balance and the juggling are separated. You don't have any objects passing in front of the balance and messing with your vision, there is a big space between the juggling and the balance when the forehead is used.
Would you say the type of prop changes which part of the face is best used too? I don't think I've ever seen anyone balance a ring on any part of their face other than the forehead, whereas you often see people using all three (main) positions for a club balance.
I think rings are a special case, in that their size/shape make it harder to fit them on your chin, and they're so narrow that the placement on your nose is super critical which makes it hard to do it at speed.
Also, most people seem to catch objects into a balance on their forehead, I'm not sure if that's because it's easier or because a lot of jugglers learnt to catch a ball on their forehead when learning headrolls that it feels natural for them, and everyone else has assumed that's just the way you do it.
Talking of headrolls, I don't think I've seen anyone working on them for years. At one point you couldn't move for people learning headrolls at UK conventions.
I think it's a safety thing also. You don't want to catch a club with your nose, or close to your teeth. While thinking about that, I thought that the forehead is close to the eyes, but maybe that's the reason...you can see everything happening right up until it lands.
Subscribe to this forum via RSS
1 article per branch
1 article per post
Green Eggs reports