Every year, the EJC (European Juggling Convention) is an opportunity for the juggling, circus and performing arts communities to come together and share their enjoyment of skill props through collaboration, workshops and performances.
Traditionally JWS Europe
has used this as an opportunity to give juggling performers and amateurs a 'sneak peak' at the new props being developed by some of our favourite brands, but this year we left the trade stand behind and went to visit the manufacturers themselves (and in the meantime we saw some pretty great juggling and got inspired about new industry trends - we couldn't believe how much acro balance we saw happening - certainly a trend to watch and made us want to build our muscles to the extent we could properly use the Gora Acro Staff).
Below are our highlights from the beautiful Ribeira Grande, Azores EJC 2018 and a link to Luke Burrage's video documentation - well worth a watch!
We were lucky enough catch Jay Gilligan's stylish and skilful show which this year involved interesting sequences with juggling balls with strings attached. Jay has always kept us on our toes (remember him juggling with shopping bags?) As always, Jay is pushing the boundaries and ideas of what juggling can be. By juggling balls of yarns, letting them unravel to reveal bags of glitter and confetti, we were inspired by how everyday objects can be used as fantastic props. Other highlights from the Gala show can be found below.
JWS staff love any opportunity to juggle (and pass clubs in particular
). The juggling games workshop we attended explored ways to improve flow in juggling and passing. One of the techniques we've taken how was throwing and catching with floppy arms - actually harder than it sounds!
The prop we were most excited about was the new Henrys HiX-Ball 62mm
. As with all Henry's props, this manufactured to the highest possible standards in Germany - and in fact this is the first PVC-Free Juggling ball of its kind! The Henry's team told us that it took years of testing and material sampling to get the right TPU for an amazing juggling ball. The production of TPU is both costly and complicated, but thanks to Henry's team extensive knowledge of manufacturing diabolos, yo-yos and clubs
Henry's developed a way to keep these balls affordable. They still had to develop a whole new filling and welding process to bring the product up to their requires standards - a great example of Henry's dedication to juggling prop perfection.
We always love fight night and the diabolo battles at EJC and this year was no exception - you can go read about the results for the event over here.
One of our favourite diabolo performers has always been Ronnie Slowinski. From the age of 12 he has been pushing multiple diabolo play to the next level and it's always fascinating to see where he is pushing the sport. Ultimately this year's winner was 彭湛 (Pen Zen) and this was the first time (to our knowledge) we had seen a 5 low run maintained on stage,. A huge congratulations from us at JWS.
Overall, an incredible venue for this year's event and one we'd happily do all over again. Next year the EJC returns to England - and you best believe we've got some special tricks up our sleeves for that one.