Page 4                                             December 1982

Visiting Europe !


By Gene Jones, IJA President


The art of juggling is alive and well in Europe! Following in the wake of the gigantic IJA Convention is Santa Barbara, the 5th Annual IJA European Convention was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 10-12.


It was a cozy and festive event attended by jugglers from 12 different nations, who seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly. The convention was highlighted by a spirited parade that took Copenhagen by storm and aroused enough publicity to sell out the Public Show on Saturday night.


Convention organizer Jens Christiansen and his two 'right-hand men,' Peter Johansen and Flemming Olsen, did a fine job of scheduling events, and even managed to put out a daily Convention Newsletter.

They dedicated the convention to the memory of the great Danish juggler Bob Ripa, who interestingly enough, made most of his fame and fortune in the United States.


Although the number of jugglers was slightly less than last year's convention in London, this year's crew was most enthusiastic and cohesive. There were numerous impromptu demonstrations, a lot of club passing, and even a few spontaneous workshops.


Despite language differences, no one had any trouble speaking the juggling alphabet... for jugglers of the world have much in common.


The European Convention offered a marvelous opportunity to explore similarities and differences of jugglers from different backgrounds.  It also demonstrates that after many years of operating almost exclusively in the United States, the IJA is now truly an international organization. This fact is indicated not only by the consistent success of European Conventions but also by the emergence of the Japanese Jugglers Association in Tokyo, which already boasts a membership of more than 30 jugglers. and the expanding IJA Roster, which includes members from 21 nations.


There seems to be a great curiosity on both sides of the ocean regarding performance opportunities and artistic developments. This points out a need for increased communication.


From brief conversations in Copenhagen and a subsequent journey to Berlin and Paris, it appears that the 'state of the juggler' in Europe is fairly similar to conditions in the United States, with the great exception that street performers do not have to travel great distances in Europe when moving from city to city.


Street juggling is generally well received in Europe and there are fewer hecklers, although differing currencies can significantly affect the value of the 'hat take' at the end of a day.


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