Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Maybe I need to add long sleeves to my costume...for multi-plate spins

The other week I was at the Texas Juggling Society meeting, had my son along, which was great, and I happened to be wearing a long-sleeved shirt...which I usually avoid when juggling. I don't like having anything down near my hands that might catch on a club handle or whatever. But having the shirt enabled me to come up with a new little trick when spinning plates: it's possible to put a stick in the sleeve of one hand, with a plate spinning on it, and then spin up another plate and hold it in your hand. Might be possible to get two plates going in each hand this way.

5 catches of behind-the-back

I can do five catches now. Just, you know, not every day. I set a goal of 10 catches by the end of April. I think I can get there. Once I get to 10, I think 20 will come pretty quickly.

Juggling for small children

I juggled for my daughter's Mother's Day Out program on Monday, and it got me thinking about juggling for the smaller kids.

Most of my main repertoire is heavily verbal and uses a lot of audience participation and interaction. And I've learned that that's not what goes over well with the smaller kids, the two- to four-year-old set.

I used to think that juggling in general didn't go over all that well with kids that small, actually. But I've learned to tailor my act for the smaller ages. It's not hard. We all have a good time if I:

  • Make sure I speak slowly and clearly
  • Focus on making everything big, broad, and flashy
  • Drop material that that requires participation from the kids
  • Use an adult if I absolutely have to have participation
  • Avoid teasing and subtlety unless aimed at the adults
  • Skip danger-based tricks like knife juggling...they're not really into that
  • Change my expectations...small kids take longer to get jokes and they don't see why some of the tricks are difficult.
And I thought about these things when I planned for this fact, I'd made some notes about this sort of thing the last time I did a show for kids this small. As a result, the last couple of shows I've done for the wee ones have gone really well...very satisfying for all concerned. Not the least of which was my smallest kid. "You were funny, Daddy!" she said. I could have wished she wasn't so surprised... :)