Kara: King of Jugglers

Dennis Soldati

Juggler's World, September 1983

Kara, the Gentleman juggler, was featured on t-shirts sold by the IJA at the Purchase convention as a way of honoring and calling attention to this 'gentleman juggler.' Dennis Soldati, IJA historian, put together this report of Kara's juggling career.

Restaurant routineKARA IS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED as the originator of the 'gentleman' juggling act. Wearing a top hat and top coat, carrying an umbrella and smoking a cigar, he would enter a stage set in a billiard parlor scene, and begin juggling the top hat, umbrella and cigar. Within minutes, to slow waltz music, he would be juggling all of the props upon the stage.

He was born Jan. 31, 1867 as Michael Steiner. Before he was 10, a circus juggler made a strong impression on young Michael and he became a self-taught juggler.

His first public performance was Oct. 17, 1883. By 1887 he was using the stage name Carradini, which his agent shortened to Kara. With a new agent and a new name, his career began to take off. His first engagement was in Paris at the famous Folies Bergere.

His finish trick was balancing a plate on his forehead, spinning another on a pole in his left hand and juggling two plates in his right. He let the plate fall from his forehead and juggled 3 plates with his right hand. He brought the effect to a climax by continuing until the curtain fell. It shortly opened again to reveal him still juggling as before.

Kara died Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, after a long and world-renowned juggling career. He performed in the best theaters of the world and made several tours of America, his last in 1921.

HIS ACT By Horace Morton Lorette

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