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: