oiiPage 10                                             March 1982

Katia Alcarese


Beginning in high heels


Katia Alcarese plans to join the Osmani Sisters juggling troupe this summer. For several years, she has performed a solo act, appearing at the Plaza Hotel in New York City and receiving help with choreography from Lottie Brunn last summer.

The story of her development into a professional at age 20 holds lessons for other men and women to note.

"When I started juggling at age 14, I had never seen a female juggler," she recalled. "I only saw Ignatov, Fudi, Francis Brunn, and my brother (Demetrius Alcarese). Not until two years later did I find out about Trixie, Eva Vida, Lottie Brunn, Veronica Martell and others. When I began I thought a woman had to perform like Ignatov to succeed.


"But I've found something out about rehearsing for an act. It's that you need character and theme more than technical juggling. I've worked on other things, like dance and theatre, for up to five months without juggling in the past, and it has given my act more personality and grace," she said.


The Alcarese style is a combination of dance and classical juggling, a performance in high heels and sequins. Balancing tricks are an important part of her act. At the 1979 IJA convention in Amherst, she demonstrated the ability to balance a pencil on her nose, then sit down on the floor and roll over, rising again with the pencil still perched in position.


She is one of a mere handful of professional female jugglers in the IJA, and seems to be building a strong career.


Dale Jones

Working around a twist of fate


Writing about Dale Jones, you have to point out his handicap first, because of the remarkable way in which he's worked around it to become a successful performer.

"I hurt my right arm when I was eight and had a lot of surgery on it," said the 25-year old St. Louis, MO, resident. "It fused my wrist and thumb and I can only move the first two fingers. I can't grip a ball with my right hand. "


The crippled arm, stymied in its growth, would seem to prevent most juggling. But just read the description of Jones' performance in the U.S. Nationals competition at the Cleveland convention, and you'll find it doesn't seem to have hindered his ability a bit:


"Political puns with three balls and a tennis racket. Three in one hand. Two tennis rackets in one hand under the leg. Triple spin of tennis racket to hand balance catch. Foot balance. Hat and cane manipulation. Cane from foot balance kicked up to chin balance. Three nested cups. Two balls in one hand, play bugle. Thunderous applause. No drops. "


The crowd at Cleveland voiced disapproval of Jones' low finish - seventh place - and he, too, admitted to some chagrin. But Jones went to his first IJA convention to collect ideas rather than prizes. "I haven't been disappointed in that aspect of it at all," he said.


"My style has definitely been influenced by my handicap," Jones explained. "I learned to juggle two in my left hand at age 14, but was all one­handed for four years. Everyone would ask me if I could do three, and I was determined to figure out a way. It wasn't until I started doing two tennis rackets in one hand that I got it. First, I tried to get a normal cascade going between three balls in my left hand, bouncing them off the tennis racket I held in my right hand. But I couldn't catch the thrown balls softly enough on the racket. Finally I figured out this multiplex pattern that works great, and I've developed a lot of variations for it, too."


The unique multiplex move appears quite natural on stage. Viewers often don't notice that his right hand is barely functional. He depends on his wit to carry a large part of the show also.


The versatility of his juggling and precision of his balance tricks made Jones an instant IJA favorite. His creativity and cheerful ability to accommodate a harsh twist of fate make him an inspiration as well.

Katia Alcarese

Katia Alcarese

Dale Jones

Dale Jones

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