A couple of weeks ago I received a call from Rejean St. Jules, who was putting together a new juggling act at Circus-Circus in Las Vegas. It was the beginning of a hectic season of travel that brought me into contact with a lot of good jugglers.
First, I saw Rejean and his good work with five clubs. He does them in low triples, with quadruple flips for an ending. He also force bounces five balls off a drumhead he stands on. To conclude, he juggles eight rings and brings them down over his head.
Kris Kremo was down the street at the Stardust Hotel's Lido show. Kremo comes on stage with one derby hat that he manipulates all over his body. He brings out a cigar to use as a mouthstick and balances the hat on it.
Next it's three balls, with a so-smooth style. He moves on to three red silk top hats. There are comedy moves, including landing one on his back instead of his head. The finale was three boxes, doing every move possible. His finale is a double pirouette catch of three boxes in the air, which he follows with a triple pirouette catch of one.
Airjazz was performing in Los Angeles shortly thereafter and I got to see their show. It was more of a dance presentation than a juggling show, working toward their goal of extended bookings at regional theatres.
For the opening, Peter Davison came on stage as a clean-up person. Kezia Tenenbaum and Jon Held came out in masks and strange costumes, banging on drums. The three of them do a dance routine with the drums. Next Jon and Kezia do a dance using gymnastic ribbons. Then comes a number called Ball Game where the three of them do a synchronized routine using one ball.
There's much, much more, including some comedy with soda crackers, a multi-colored club-swinging routine in the dark and Jon and Kezia's country-fied dueling boxes.
It was off to Atlantic City for some business. Fortunately, there were three jugglers working at the time. First I saw William Lee juggling in the show, "Wild," at Resorts International. He started with three clubs and comedy, including an axe, torch and machete. In the second half of the show he did devil sticks, some good three ball juggling and five balls with a kick-start.
The following night it was Caesars to see Dick Franco. I've not seen Dick for some time and it was good to see what he was doing. I saw him warming up in his dressing room with five rings under a very low ceiling. Then it was out to the stage where he was assisted by his wife, Carlene. He was wearing all red with red shoes. Opening with three balls he did several variations at a very fast pace. Five rings with half-pirouettes, flat half-shower and a pull-down. He did a four cigar box gag where he throws the boxes up so that they went into a balance, then the people saw that they were tied together.
Dick went from three to seven rings with Carlene handing him the rings from behind. After he got to seven slapped them down, going to three, then back to seven. He ended up the energetic show with three chain saws, to the amazement of the audience. There was not one drop the entire show.
A few nights later I went to Trumps Castle. There they had the show "City Lights," and one of the stars was David Lee. David performed on dry land, not with his usual ice skates on a rink. Opening with five florescent color changing disks, he moved into a three club routine. On to five clubs, and a good flash of eight rings. Four scarves with four in one hand and a spread. David did five rackets with a forehead balance start. The show was climaxed by juggling three torches with all kinds of body throws and a very big flame.
Being around all these top jugglers I'm really feeling the competition developing between them. I'm sure that this is really helping the juggling world as it takes the level of juggling even higher. David Lee's father, Albert Moreira, says that brother Albert Lucas is in Japan right now working on juggling 14 rings and nine clubs. That's something I'd like to see!