Juggling Workshop: creating a routine part 2.5 – repurposing choreography for different venues.

This routine is the big stage version:

This routine is the small stage version:

I perform in all kinds of venues. Sometimes I don’t know how high the ceiling will be. In my juggling studio at home I can throw triples with clubs, and run seven rings in a slightly lower than optimal pattern. I make sure I never choreograph anything with higher throws than that, or else I can’t practice it.

That is, of course, bullshit.

I always have the OPTION to make higher throws. What I don’t do is let these optional higher throws influence the rest of the routine. the routine can’t depend on those high throws.

And sometimes I perform in very small theaters, almost lounges, where I struggle to throw a double with clubs.

But I’m not stupid. I know this. Instead of choreographing two entirely different acts, I make sure the main choreography can work well in smaller venues too.

Smaller venues don’t just suffer from low ceilings, they also suffer from low stages. This means the people behind the first row can’t see anything below the height of the performers hips.

How many times, at a small juggling convention, have you seen a crystal ball juggler do their entire act kneeling on the floor? Nobody can see shit. How many times does a juggler do a whole section laying on the floor, and everyone in the middle stands up to watch, and then nobody behind can see?

All the time.

That’s why I keep away from the floor. And if I do perform a trick where people at the back might not be able to see, I don’t do it as part of a long routine, only when I can speak, and I make a joke about them not being able to see.

This means the choreography of the props has to fit between hip height and just barely higher than I can reach with a jump. Tricky!

But check out the video above. The lighting is crap, so you can’t see much of the rings changing colour, but you’ll notice the tricks are largely the same as those in the high ceiling version of this act.

The differences:
– I don’t do the optional high throws with three rings.
– At the end of the three ring section, I do a 1-up instead of a 3-up pirouette.
– I used to do 3-up half pirouettes, but changed to 2-up (siteswap 441) pirouettes for the low ceiling. Once I got used to it, I did them in the high ceiling version too.
– I cut the four ring section entirely.
-In the five ring part, I do two colour changes instead of a pirouette.
– I have to step off the stage a bit to fit in the five ring cascade.
– I don’t do any seven ring juggling, and the technician fades the music out at the last trick.

That’s really not a whole lot of changes! And the less difference between the two routines, the less practice I have to do.

The two routines are quite different in function though. The full routine is a featured part of my show, one of five main routines in the fifty five minute running time. The low ceiling version is one in a series of smaller routines with balls, clubs and rings that compare and contrast the different qualities of said props.