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Juggle Jones

Updated on February 1, 2013

The Balls

by JR Hager II
by JR Hager II | Source

"Juggle Jones?" ask? "You can get a juggle jones like a basketball jones?" ('jones' is slang for addiction)

Yes, I even do a little of this. And though it took me a good six months to keep all three balls in the air, and not having to pick any up, at least for awhile, I'm glad I stuck with it.

Most don't. After the preliminary giggles of interest they discover it's more like work than play. Stick-to-it-iveness is not a strong virtue amongst us, and if it was, whether they look good or not, everybody would be in the entertainment business. And now that I stuck with it, after friends and relatives have fallen to the wayside, I can call myself a juggler, and get away with it. But in truth I've just bounced off the surface. 

Also, I owe much if not most of my success to the AJA - Atlanta Jugglers Assoc. Without them, and their encouragement, I would have been forever a watcher, and not a doer. And, of course, a lot of my gratitude goes to a part of the city of Atlanta called 'Little Five Points.' If I would have never been there, and most of Atlanta avoids it, I would have never wanted to pick up the balls and give it a go. For it is there that I started; owing to the old adage, 'hang with the people you want to be like.' Which is the outgrowth of; 'if you don't want to do much in your life, hang with yourself.'

Little Five Points is Atlanta' s answer to New York's Greenwich Village. Little Five Points (or L5P by the regular hip crowd) has been the in town epicenter of all things alternative for many years. This is a thriving business district with a wide array of shops and services. From futons to Frisbees and crystals to organic produce, you'll find it here. In addition to retail shops, there are a number of service businesses in the district (including competing tattoo parlors - must be 20 of them). There are several restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs scattered throughout as well. L5P is also the home of the 7 Stages Theater and Variety Playhouse, two excellent arts venues. It's situated in a block lined by Moreland Avenue, North Highland Avenue, and Euclid Avenue. The area actually dates way back to the late 19th century. By the mid 1930’s L5P was known as a blossoming merchant community. Over the years, the neighborhood went through several changes, but ultimately evolved into the trendy bohemian area that it is today. And, if you recall from my hub Dearest Mugger, this is where I met Nikki, and we had our last dinner there at Crystal Blue restaurant.

My Y o u T u b e Channel

Brief history of Juggling

This page lists many dates in which juggling has been recorded from 1994 B.C. to 1947 A.D.

1994-1781 B.C. – Egypt
The earliest known record of juggling, dates from the Beni Hassan tomb of an unknown prince, showing female dancers and acrobats throwing balls.

770-476 B.C. – China
Many jugglers are mentioned throughout history, usually warriors who would display their skill to their enemies, sometimes managing to end a conflict before they began. (we should use this method today; saves on blood)

400-200 B.C. – Greece
Juggling is recorded in many Greek writings. There is also terra cotta statue of a man with balls balanced on different parts of his body, from the time of Ptolomaer of ancient Thebes.

50-400 A.D. – Roman Empire
Juggling was recorded in Rome times. Tagatus Ursus, a Roman, claimed on his grave in the inscription to have been the first to juggle with glass balls. Sidonius Apollinaris, an officer in a Roman legion, entertained his troops by juggling tricks with balls.

400-600 A.D. – Ireland
Irish hero Cuchulainn juggles nine apples. Then a few centuries later Tulchinne, a royal buffoon of king Conaire, is described as juggling nine swords, nine silver shields, and nine balls of gold. (no, not at the same time)

500-1500 A.D – Europe
Juggling was an acceptable diversion until the decline of the Roman Empire, after which it fell into disgrace. In the Middle Ages most histories were written by religious clerics who frowned upon these type of performers who juggled, and called them 'Gleemen', and accused them of base morals or even practicing witchcraft. ('they' always had something against fun and feeling good) Consequently, Jugglers in this era would only perform in market places, streets, fairs or drinking houses. They, and their kind, would perform short, humorous and bawdy acts and pass a hat or bag among the audience for their pay. Some king’s and noblemen’s bards, fools, or jesters would juggle or perform acrobatics, though their main skills would have been oral poetry, music, comedy and story telling.

1066 – England
Taillefer, the warrior-bard of William of Normandy, juggles before the enemy lines and makes the first kill at the Battle of Hastings.

1528 – India
The Emperor of Hindustan described jugglers with wooden rings.

1528 – America
Christoph Weiditz draws Native Mexicans toss juggling and foot juggling/antipodism, which is also often found in Aztec art.

1680 – Germany
The first recorded juggling workshop, the Town Council of Nuremberg hired a "ball-master" who juggled and taught others juggling as well as other skills.

1700s – France
The earliest known representation of juggling as a single arc of props over widely separated hands, from an 18th century French wood cut. Before this time, all images of jugglers show the hands close together with their props in columns above each hand.

1768 – England
Philip Astley opens the first modern circus. A few years later he employs jugglers to perform acts along with the horse and clown acts. From then until the modern day, jugglers have found work and have commonly been associated with circuses.

1774 – Pacific Islands
First record of hiko in Tonga, young girls throwing limes, gourds, or tui tui nuts in the shower pattern, by George Forster, aboard Captain Cook's second Pacific voyage.

1793 – North America
John Bill Ricketts presents America's first circus. In the opening show, watched by George Washington, Ricketts juggled on horseback.

1795 – China
Foot juggling/antipodism recorded at the Court of the Emperor of China.

1821 – England
William Hazlitt writes the essay "The Indian Juggler" describing a four ball juggling routine in detail, probably performed by Ramo Samee, considered to be the first modern professional juggler. In his day Ramo Samee was a well-known British celebrity.

Mid-Late1800s – Europe and North America
Variety and music hall theatres become more popular, and jugglers are in demand to fill time between music acts, performing in front of the curtain while sets are changed.

1883 – North America
In Boston a new style of variety show is born. The format is a continuous show, the same 8-10 acts repeated over and over, the audience coming and going when they had seen all the acts. This was later known as Vaudeville.

1885 – England
Paul Cinquevalli (1859 – 1918) made his debut at a circus in Covent Garden, London. Cinquevalli was the first juggling super-star, and was referred to by the British press as the world’s greatest juggler.

On any given hour ...

.....of any day or night, a juggler can be found at L5P. All one has to do is get around the 'down trodden,' homeless,' 'druggies,' 'drunks,' 'dereliks,' 'dreadlocks,' the 'easy babes as well as the hard ones, 'fruits' of both genders, and anybody else of questionable means and morels. L5P draws these folks like gravity pulls on a ball. And I was drawn to this area not so much by one of the above mentioned but because something was always going on there. It was a 24/7 street show. There was never a cover charge and all that one had to do was walk the length of the two mile area, or sit at a number of it's little parks and something or someone was bound to entertain you - especially on the weekend; the time I permitted myself to be there. Well, as Tommy Chong has said, and I quote; "everything in moderation, even moderation."

Like anything else, I can vividly remember the first time I picked up the balls, and had the 'balls' to continue. And since then, like a 'gateway,' whenever I see three objects that say, "hey dude, betcha can't juggle me, juggle me," I just do it - cuz I got the Juggle Jones.


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