Thematic selection of items from the museum Collection exposition for the World Juggling Day
World Juggling Day is celebrated every year on the third Saturday in June. The date is timed to June 17 - the date of the International Jugglers Association (IJA) foundation. Juggling is the capability to manipulate multiple objects at the same time, one of the circus art genres. Many people are mistaken in believing that juggling originated simultaneously with circus, hence it is wrong. The first material evidence of juggling is associated with the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh – the embossed image of girls juggling balls was found on its walls. The ancient Greek historian Xenophon mentioned a Syracuse dancer with twelve hoops. It is convincingly documented that in the 5-6 centuries BC when expecting a battle, Chinese warriors demonstrated the art of juggling swords to scare the enemy troops.
The history of this art in the Middle Ages is interesting as well. People juggled pipes, colored blocks, hoops and plates in Europe, which was persecuted by the church. Juggling was "legalized" only by the end of the 18th century with the appearance of circus art. Is juggling a sport or an art? Currently, various kinds of competitions are held within the framework of this art. All kinds of achievements are demonstrated in juggling. This brings juggling closer to sports. For example, an Englishman Martin Cadogan juggled under water for one and a half minutes, American Eric Klecker juggled for 5 minutes 45 seconds, hanging upside down. Various directions exist in this activity. Some of them are closer to sports, others are meant for the public entertainment. There are competitions among mixologists – juggling bottles and glasses while making cocktails (flaring). Alternatively, volley club - team juggling Indian clubs above volleyball net following rather strict rules. Power juggling exists - juggling kettlebells and joggling - juggling objects while running. For juggling, one can use poi, most often in a fire show, contact juggling - interaction of transparent balls and a person is both a circus and concert performance. Organic juggling is considered the most difficult to master, which includes all types that are accompanied by dancing.
Who is the best juggler in the world? There are been two basic answers to this question – the first is that this is a stupid question, since it is impossible to give the impartial assessment with so many juggling styles. The second answer - he is Anthony Gatto. As a teenager, he cut all known juggling records and continued to set new ones: to this day, he still holds the most significant records for speed and number of objects in juggling. In 2000, Anthony took part in the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival, where he became the first (and so far the only one) juggler to win the Monte Carlo Golden Clown reward, one of the most prestigious ones in the Circus Art. Gatto used to tour with the Circus du Soleil with the Kooza show, but after the birth of his child refused to tour and is currently employed by the stationary Circus du Soleil. The best juggler in Russia is Sergei Ignatov, awarded with the Order of Honor. He was the first in the world to juggle with 11 rings. In the early 1980s, composer Alfred Schnittke approached the juggler after the performance to express his admiration. A few years later, a circus performance of Sergei Ignatov appeared which was accompanied by the great maestro musical composition.
Fundamental ideas of manipulating objects were formulated by the outstanding stage master of the circus art genre - Michel Moschen. Ranked as one of the world leading jugglers, Michel Mosсhen transformed the ancient art of circus shows into a hypnosis concert form that gained widespread acclaim in the United States and then around the world. Modern juggling abandoned dangerous objects, including chainsaws and machetes. At the same time, for example, juggling with burning torches remains a favorite spectacle for the audience and is regularly performed by jugglers nowadays. While beginners mostly use balls - clubs and rings also remain the basic elements of juggling. The objects available to any juggler are limited only by weight, his imagination, and pain tolerance.
You can examine in details mechanical jugglers-automata that are presented in the museum Collection exposition:
Musical automaton "Juggling polar bear". France, Paris. Circa 1900. Roullet & Decamps;
Automaton "Clown Juggler". France. 1988, Roullet & Decamps;
Automaton "In the circus". France, Paris, Vannes. 1975. Marie-Madeleine Kaeppeli.
Circus artists were always demonstrating physical strength, dexterity and ingenuity, created vivid artistic images, and all this was done in order to interest the public. In turn, skilled artisans, inspired by the performances of jugglers, acrobats, gymnasts and magicians on the circus arena, created amazing automata and authentically reflected the dynamics and harmony of their movements. The collection section "Amusing Automata" features mechanical representatives of various circus professions.