Sunday, April 25, 2010

The 33rd RIT Spring Juggle-In Review

April 16-18 marked the 33rd Anniversary of the RIT Spring Juggle-In, and by all accounts it was one of the best ever.

No event of this magnitude is ever great without the help of many, many people, so thanks to all of you who gave up your chance to play, so that others could enjoy themselves.

The whirlwind pace of Friday evening with it's Opening Pizza Dinner, followed by the Big Open, then Major League Combat
was an indication of just how rapidly the weekend would fly by.
(in the picture..Jeff Peden, Ritchie the RIT Tiger, Bonnie Booth)

For those of you who like numbers here are some of the statistics from the weekend.
232 counted in attendance at the Big Open
198 attended the Sat 10 am Family show in Aux gym
415 attended Public Show at Rush Henrietta High School
679 Total Waivers signed for admission to the Gym
1,605 miles - farthest travel distance for a non-performer = Bekah Smith from Colorado
36 Video hours logged by Tim Peterson and the volunteer Video Crew. (2 cameras@18 hours)
6 Vendors with everything from beanbags, balls, clubs and fire to even boomerangs.
(You can still see the recorded video here..)
23 performers (and a dog) in the show
4 standing Ovations

In the games...

7 Ball Endurance = Doug Sayers ( 15 seconds +)
5 Ball Endurance = Zack Zukas (3:36)
Quarter Juggling = Kris Groth
3 Ball Blind Juggling =
1st - Joe Showers (5:16 +)
2nd - Glen Luke Flanigan

3 Ball Simon Says - Lead by Michael Karas
1st - Glen Luke Flanigan
2nd - Joe Showers ( with volleyballs)

Best Trick Juniors (12 and under) - Sawyer and Jeannette Oubre
(Note: 2nd year winning)
Best Trick Seniors - Joe Showers
Hand Stand Endurance - Cate Emily Flaherty (final time 1:19)

So many memorable moments happened during this festival, it's difficult to cover them all really.

For me there were two unsung hero's that I'd like to mention here.

Winning Teams always get their pictures in the paper, yet they know that it's the coach that molds them to greatness. It was no different with the winning team performance of the Strong Jugglers in the public show. Since the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year Rafi Benjamin taught acrobalance, juggling, choreography and performance skills to the University of Rochester Club. His previous training and coaching experience with Circus Smirkus no doubt helped, but most of all it was his constant presence and connection with the group. The club has always been Strong at the U of R, and Senior members Nate Zuk, Nick Aikens, Michael Willet and Chase Hensen also played a large part in setting the foundation with the group that performed for us.
Without Rafi's drive and encouragement to the club though, it's unlikely their team performance would have been the brilliant star in the show that it was. Rafi Benjamin - Coaching Greatness.

The second person rescued a damsel in distress.
It is one of the sad but real truths that not everyone that arrives at our event is part of the juggling community, and sometimes unfortunate things happen. In this case a woman had her juggling clubs taken. Whether it was theft, or a mistake, doesn't really matter...they weren't where she left them and she was crushed. After checking the gym, asking multiple people, and making announcements they still hadn't shown up. As I was checking with her one last time about them, Glen Flanagan (Sr) happened to be standing nearby and overheard the story and distress in this woman's voice. Without even a seconds hesitation he turned around and pulled three clubs out of his bag and gave them to her. "Please take these" he said, " my wife really likes to see woman jugglers supported and I've got more at home anyway." The Damsel in Distress was immensely grateful, and more than a little stunned by the generosity of the act.
I was too.

I think that's why I love juggling conventions so much.
It's that consistent underlying desire to be the best at what you do, and to help each other along the way, that makes it such a special and unique event.

Jeff Peden

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Whats New at the RIT Spring Juggle In this year?

The other day someone asked me what was new at our event this year.

Well after 33 years of hosting the Juggle-In the bar does seem to get higher and higher.

I'm really excited about the number of great things we are able to continue to have and the new items we have for this

We still have Free Admission to the Gym, the workshops and the competitions, thanks to all our fabuluos raffle support from numerous generous vendors. This years Raffle is already looking great! Check it out here. RIT Raffle

We still have sweet juggling trophies to take home and show off to your friends (if you win).

We still have an opening night party, and opening night free show, a free family matinee on Saturday morning, a killer public show.

Last years show cast, powerful stuff.!

We have a college Mascot - Ritchie the RIT Tiger that can juggle.!
Well that's mostly because our own Ben Bloom dares to don the heavy carpet suit and paws

As for the new things this year.

Tim Peterson is extending the boundary on the live video feed this year and is attempting to record all the gym live action over the weekend. That will be major, and you can find more about the Live Video project on our website. We can also use your help manning the camera each day if you're gong to be there and are interested. Drop us a line at if you can help!

We re-open the gym after the show this year to leave time for that late night juggling so many people have been missing.

For the first time ever we are listed on CraigsList! Craigs List Events

For the first time ever we've been able to get the the amazing U of R Strong Jugglers to donate one of their impressive multiple person club routines to our show.

Michael Karas will be leading "Michael Says"

New this year will also be the Hooping workshop brought by Rochester Hoops with Diane and Justin.

Pele will be coming for the first time ever and bringing with her HUGE quantities of fire toys to sell off at reduced prices.

I think that's a pretty good list of new things.

Can't wait for the fest.

Jeff Peden

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Persistence Personified - Norbi Whitney

They say that in order to achieve Mastery one must spend 100,000 hours in practice, or the equivalent of about 10 years of dedicated work. That kind of determination and single focus is what being the best is all about. With now 16 years of experience amassed since he first began training at the age of 7, Norbi has attained mastery and it clearly shows in his work. That's persistence.

His resume is a full two pages in length covering numerous major performances from 2001 to the present. He has seemingly "done it all" with a range of venues including National Juggling Conventions, competing in the World Juggling Federation Championships, performing on T.V., and even Judging for competitive events.
*see his full CV at his site:

In the last two years he has dedicated himself to perfecting his performance on stage, and we are very pleased and excited about his return to RIT for this years 33 RIT Spring Juggle-In. Some of his most recent performances include the acclaimed TurboFest in Québec, Canada held at the
l’École de Cirque de Québec and Cirque du Soleil, Québec, Canada (June – September 2009)

He is currently completing the specialized program at the l’École de Cirque de Québec, where he has been polishing his act with rings for our show and it's debut on the RIT Stage. For a glimpse of it check the teaser video at this link Norbi Rings Demo 2010

You can find more video of Norbi at several links below and contact him at:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RIT Alum Warren Hammond returns to host The Big Open

Warren Hammond is a freak. No, I'm not name calling here, anyone who can successfully graduate from RIT, then do longevity research, then switch gears and within just a few years become an award winning solo and team juggler must be a freak. The world needs more freaks like Warren.

is an alum of the Class of 2004 who majored in Biology. After RIT he spent 2 years in grad school at Baylor College of Medicine in the Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, then 1 1/2 years as a research tech at the university of Colorado health science center working on aging and genetic engineering.

He returns to RIT on April 16th doing nothing of the above. Although his knowledge of Biology probably helped when he first decided to drive a screwdriver into his nose...ewww.

Warren will be hosting the Big Open our Free Friday night show at RIT for the opening of 33rd RIT Spring Juggle-In and Emceeing the main show on Saturday as part of the award winning comedy Duo called SMIRK.

Currently living in Boulder, Colorado. he is veteran street performer, improv fanatic and an accomplished juggler able to handle 7 balls, 6 clubs and 7 rings. His recent awards include the Gold Medal for eXtreme Juggling, with 3 balls: July 17, 2009 at the International Jugglers Association Championships and a Silver Medal, for his team performance as SMIRK with Reid Belstock.

When you talk to him though, those aren't the things he is most excited about. Right now Warren is driven to put things in his nose. As he excitedly told me about all the new possibilities he could envision to do with putting things in his nasal passages.. qtips, nails, screwdrivers, I couldn't get over his enthusiasm and creative mind-set.

I suppose that's what happens when you mix a creative research scientist with a sideshow act and comic juggling enthusiast. I'm sure the show will be full of surprises with Warren as host.

For more about Warren you can find him on Facebook, or check out his website

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jorden Moir - World Famous Footbag Performer at RIT

We are so excited that Jorden Moir is performing at RIT this year.

He is a 22 yr old student and performer with Zacada Circus School in Stoney Creek, Ontario, and undeniably the best at what he does.

Here's a clip from -

Relentlessly pursuing excellence in footbagging skill, and performance, continues to pay off for Jorden. Recently he was one of the few (24) selected out of 800 applicants to compete in the prestigious Cirque de Demain festival in Paris this year. Check out minute 1:23 to see a cameo of Jorden in the French news Broadcast.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Dazzling Mills family performs at the RIT Spring Juggle-In

If you're a juggler then you've probably heard of the famous "Mills Mess" 3 ball juggling trick.

If you aren't, then imagine a juggling pattern that involves crossing and uncrossing your arms while you juggle, simultaneously making continuous under the arm throws.
Yes, it's basically like tying your arms into a knot.

The creative and crazy mind of Steve Mills came up with this pattern, and he will be performing with along with his Dazzling juggling and Unicycling family at this years RIT Spring Juggle-In.

They represent the best in family performance as well as incredible unicyclists.

Check out the clip below to see their world record setting ride, better still make sure you come to the 33rd RIT Spring Juggle-In and see them perform live!

Video of their record ride

Left: the Dazzling Mills Family sets up for the world record three high pyramid (far left), we made it! Dismounting at 28 feet 2 inches!

For more about the world records they see here
The Dazzling Mills

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Adult Circus - Michael DuBois at RIT

If you are in the RIT area and a night owl you'll enjoy this show...

Event Name: CAB Late Night Events: The Adult Circus - Michael DuBois
Category: Club Events/Activities
Description: Adult Circus Michael DuBois has appeared on national
television with their act from NBC's The Tonight Show with
Jay Leno to MTV.

Adult Circus is a fast paced, audience interactive variety
show featuring an all-original presentation of Magic,
Juggling, Telepathy, Circus & Sideshow Stunts all wrapped in
a blanket of Comedy!

Location: Ingle Auditorium
Doors Open: 10:30pm
Show Starts: 11pm
Cost: $1

Schedules: 03/27/2010 (11:00 PM - 12:15 AM)

Only got a little spare change left in your pocket?
then come to the RIT Juggle In
That's right you get more juggling fun for your dollar
or is it you can get dollar made for juggling?

More cool graphics made by Mark Zuniga.

New posters completed !

Well there you have it, Thanks to the original creative artistry of Mark Zuniga who "coined" our new logo we are off and running.

By the way Mark is a pretty awesome photographer, movie maker and juggler.
Find Mark @
or connect with him

Thanks also to Zach Cohn who told me once the famous phrase "Free is Good"

Free is definitely good!

33rd RIT Spring Juggle-In

RIT Juggling club with a blog is cool, cooler still is the RIT Spring Juggle-IN coming up in only 22 days.!

I'm thrilled with all the energy and cool people who come together to make this event happen.

Today I got this fabulous email from Norbi Whitney about ways I could describe him in the brochure. Our theme of being the best was the main idea and I know that he has won many awards over the years including British Young Juggler of the year.

Ultimately I decided to go with "The Lord of the Rings" because he is sooo... very good with rings.

Norbi has been studying in Quebec the last two years and continues to prove himself a performance star. I can't wait to see him in the show.

For more about this years show line-up:

More to come!