Alight Fingers Juggling and Circus Skills Workshops  

Balls To The Baltic - Latvia or Bust



Well, that Probably Saved about Four Years

This time we were going out to run a workshop specifically for the folks of the White Leg Circus. Their practice hall was a good sized room in what was the local community/arts centre, so we piled on in there with all the kit, and started to play.

Jonathan started teaching wire walking, and once he had that underway, Marek, who was the more proficient of the three jugglers of the local group came and asked me how to do some juggly things. He was an interesting person to teach in that he had far more talent than knowledge.

To put it simply, some juggling tricks are just about having the inspiration. †By that I mean that once youíve seen them, if you have the dexterity, you can copy them. Some juggling tricks are mind boggling, and even after youíve seen them several times you still canít work out which hand should go where and catch which ball when.

That is to say, some tricks are more difficult because you canít move your hands fast enough, and some are more difficult because you canít move your brain fast enough.

When Iíd first seen Marek juggling he was just using the standard three ball cascade pattern, which is basically the easiest juggling pattern to achieve. Iíd noticed him during the day trying to imitate under the arm throws with some success. This is something that is easier to comprehend than to do, so having seen it, he just had to build up the dexterity.

Working together, we could focus on some of the things that are easier to do, but harder to comprehend. This basically meant that within an hour I could teach him what may have taken him four or five years to work out without any tuition. The reason I know this is because I juggled for about four years before I found anyone else who took it remotely seriously who could provide the inspiration. If you want to learn to juggle find other people who juggle.

I spent some time working with the others on ways to get a Ďtidyí three ball pattern, and also spent a bit of time teaching contact juggling to Ed and Ieva who were apparently supposed to just be there to translate for us.

All too soon it was time to pack up and head off for the evenings entertainment. We were taken back to Fontaines, this time by Ieva and Ed. They took us into a different part of the bar and we managed to avoid the joy that is the sound check, and could actually enjoy talking to each other. I introduced the locals to the joy that is Mud, a mixture of orange juice and coke (all the goodness of orange with the zing of caffeine) although Iím not sure I convinced anyone, and then we had a meal that comprised of lasagna and chips, coated in a lattice of Ö. ketchup and mayonnaise.

Donít get me wrong, all things in their place. On a fish finger sandwich, I can cope with that, although I must admit that my tastes have refined over the years, and now my fish fingers sandwiches tend to include more exotic items like hummus, chilli sauce, and possibly even an actual tomato, but even so I maintain that it should be a general rule of thumb that there should be more actual meal than dressing. Maybe itís just the advertising. Maybe Latvians see the commercials and assume thatís what the English eat. Yep, Ketchup and Mayonnaise, delicious on their own, or just add brown sauce to taste. I digress, the meal was great, the company was fantastic. Whoever went wild with the condiments, should be caught, whipped, and sent to the soviet salt mines until they learn a sense of proportion.

We had to dive out of Fontains a bit sharpish as we were supposed to be at a performance by nine that was being given by our hosts. The snow was coming down in sheets as we hit the van, and Ed and Eiva directed us across town to where everything would be taking place.



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