Ah, viral videos. These are the videos that go around when one person thinks "that's a cool video, someone else ought to see this". Before the Google video and You Tube and now its myriad gaggle of imitators came around, people would send around jokes. Now they send viral videos. It's rather amazing how fast they go around.
There was a video going around by a guy named Chris Bliss, juggling to a Beatles song. It doesn't hurt that the audience is amazed at what he's doing.
But ask yourself, when's the last time you watched juggling seriously? You probably think of clowns juggling three balls.
I'm odd in this way. My brother is really into juggling, and even though I never caught the bug, he'd bring home DVDs of people at juggling festivals. So I know what good juggling looks like.
What Chris Bliss does is to move his body, especially his head, in this jerky fashion, which is a bit unusual. It's not that Bliss is a bad juggler--it's just that there are people who can do so much more. The first clue that should tip you off his how many balls he's juggling, which is 3.
Until you get to about 5 balls, you're not even in the neighborhood of good juggling. To be fair, he makes 3 balls look quite good, but mostly with rhythm, not with complexity of moves. I was watching the various videos by Dan Lucal, most of them are his humor routines. However, he has a few juggling routines, and he's up around 5 balls.
Really good jugglers do at least 6, and sometimes 7. The record is 12, but that's with very few catches. As you go up in number, it can be difficult to control it for long periods of time. At 6 or 7, jugglers can go a moderate amount of time without dropping. Above that and it's rather incredible to keep it going for even 100 throws. The number of balls really makes it difficult.
Occasionally, jugglers come up with ways to juggle that are innovative. They may not be that hard with practice, but just the insight to think of this kind of juggling is amazing. For example, here's a guy who's juggling inside a cone. It looks positively weird. It is tough? I don't know. Maybe it isn't. But it took a warped mind to think of it.
Here's Jason Garfield's response to Chris Bliss's juggling. He choreographs it to the same music, indeed the same recording of music, that Chris uses, even to the audience cheer. The key to notice is that he uses five balls, and that he has more variety in the kinds of tosses he makes.
His moves are a bit more standard for a juggler, a bit like watching cheerleaders dance, it's not nearly like watching a dancer dance, the same can be said for a juggler doing routines. Another analogy is watching ice dancers dance and ballroom dancers dance. Ice dancers are skating. This limits what they can do in terms of dance moves. Ballroom dancers have rigid bodies and smile like synchronized swimmers. It's somehow very artificial looking, but extremely stylized and distinctive, and that distinctiveness makes it look different from most people who dance.
In effect, Bliss's choreography is not exactly in the juggling but in his body and arm movements, which are not exactly typical of jugglers.
It's funny how top jugglers are offended by Bliss, perhaps like top jazz musicians can't stand Kenny G (to be fair, he doesn't claim to play jazz).
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