Every year, on February 9th, I put out a video containing tricks I’ve worked on in the past 12 months.  Here’s a little background information on some of my favorites!

Skipping rope with a headbounce

Whenever you start to feel good about something, remember that someone was doing it in shows, on ice skates, 70 years ago.

I started working on this one after watching this video of Trixie Larue last year.

Of course, she isn’t the only one who has performed this classic trick.  Paul Ponce, Anthony Gatto, and a host of others also do it.  No wonder why – it’s such a beautiful image!  I’m  hoping to get this on stage sometime in 2016, myself.

Bramson rolls

Another classic.

The staple on-the-body rolls with hoops and rings are often referred to as “Bramson rolls” – a loving homage to Bob Bramson, one of the greatest jugglers of the 20th century.

I’ve been working on this trick on and off for a while, but finally started putting in the time this winter.  (Would anyone be interested in a tutorial?  I’m not the best, but I’ve got some tips!)

Check out the video of Bob’s number towards the end of his career to see the master at work.  You can read about his life in this nice article about him, too.

Plates and balls

A take on the classic three ball juggle with two badminton rackets!  I first saw Ben Schoenberg do this trick at the Portland Juggling Festival several years ago.

David Cain wrote a lovely article about juggling things using other things for eJuggle a while ago.  Re-reading it recently, I was inspired to give it a go myself.

Tommy Breen

Eight rings, Seven clubs, technical stuff

See?  I’m not dead yet!

Tablecloth balance

Here’s a trick that I just love.  I’m slowly working this trick into a show I’m developing for Busch Gardens: Tampa Bay’s Food and Wine festival this Spring.

This vertical take on a classic stunt is performed by a number of jugglers at the moment – notably Ian Marchant and Paul Klaassan.  There are a few other folks who specialize in tablecloth pulls out there, the biggest name being Mat Ricardo.  Check out his incredible pull-and-replace trick!

The ball skips the rope

Another old-school juggling staple.

I first saw this trick performed by Arne Bystrom at the Turbo418 juggling festival in Quebec City several years ago, and quickly wrote it off as impossible.  (Turns out, it’s not impossible — just really, really hard!)

You can see some of what Arne does in the video below.

Bouncing and bottles

Here’s a trick that was inspired by bottle-walker, Chloe Walier.

This balance combination gives you some extra height for bouncing and adds a little danger at the same time.  (Always a bonus!)

Check out a sample of Chloe’s bottle number below.  Something to aspire to!

Pizza box trick

This is a riff on Salerno’s famous “picture frame trick.”  Not having a pictureframe or a mirror handy, I thought I’d give it a go with a different household item.  The “Salerno Ring” trick in the video – where I juggle balls through a hoop that holds a ball on a track – is also one of this amazing juggler’s creations.

There’s so much to say about Salerno (a juggler from the early- to mid-1900s,) but I’ll leave it to David Cain.  Check out David’s excellent article about Salerno’s legacy on eJuggle – the online magazine of the International Jugglers’ Association.

There are no photos of Salerno doing this famous trick, but there are of his contemporaries. This is "Chinko, the clever boy juggler" performing the picture frame slide.

(There are no photos of Salerno doing this famous trick, but there are of his contemporaries.  This is “Chinko, the clever boy juggler” performing the picture frame slide.)

Bowl kicking

I first saw this kind of routine when I joined up with Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem.” The show has a beautiful number, where girls on tall unicycles kick bowls onto each other’s heads from across the stage.  It’s a simple premise, but difficult to execute – my little adventure into the discipline hardly does it justice!

Teacup trick

It’s similar to the classic “cups and spoons” trick (photo below,) but with some added panache.  Give it a try!

Brunn-style finish with a color change

About a year ago, I thought to myself “Hey!  Wouldn’t it be great to start learning a Brunn Finish?” I broke down all of the parts and started chugging away.

It’s taken practice, but it’s starting to click!  Big thanks to Matthew Tiffany for his technical help and to David Cain for putting it all in context.

You can see that when Francis Brunn does his signature trick, he’s got two rings on the arm and two rings on the leg.  That’s the long-term plan for me, too!  In the meantime, I’ll keep practicing.  To my knowledge, noone has added a color change to it.  I humbly submit that as my contribution to the story.