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The Juggling Barron

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Hey, Camp Folks!

Juggling is one performance art with quite a past to it. Going back for thousands of years—4000 to be specific—there have been plenty of jugglers who made a name for themselves. With so many to pick from, how can I possibly choose just one name to highlight in the juggling world? Instead of picking a single pioneer or record setter of juggling, let’s take note of some of the big names as we review the past of juggling.

We know that juggling goes back at least 4000 years back because of paintings from that long ago depicting this entertaining art being performed. It was performed alongside dancers, acrobats, and other performers of kings and other rulers.

One of the first jugglers history remembers is Tagatus Ursus from Rome in the first century—known for the claim he had inscribed on his tombstone that he was the first ever to juggle glass balls. Pretty gutsy! Pierre Gringoire is another performer of the royal courts of his time around the Middle Ages (roughly 1500 AD). He became known as ‘Roi des Jongleurs’—French for ‘King of Jugglers’ and is credited with bringing the art form back from a long lull.  

The early 1800s brought the brothers Mooty and Medua Samme from India. Their street performance in Europe and created a new craze for Easter Acts. Some folks would even pose as Indian, Chinese, or Japanese to draw bigger crowds. Carl Rappo was a German who claimed to be Indian and wowed his crowds with magical feats of strength using iron balls.

Throughout history, juggling went through popularity booms. The early 1900s brought circus performers along with Vaudeville shows, but the 1920s saw interest in juggling plummet. It was finally revived around 1950 when a man named Hovey Burgess, a juggling fanatic, started teaching everyone he met the skill of juggling.

These are all names worth noting from the past. But Alex Barron (pictured to the right) is a contemporary record setter in the world of juggling. He holds the record for amount of balls juggled: 11! He managed 23 consecutive throws—one more throw necessary to meet a juggling run that qualifies (two throws per ball). He did this a decade ago in London.

Check out this past Blog post written for National Juggling Day and get a peek of me and our Vice president, Mark, showing off our juggling skills. Enjoy learning this age-old skill yourself and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

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