Page  5                                              December 1982

One problem that Europeans have is obtaining props. There are few propmakers in Europe, and deliveries from overseas are expensive and slow in arriving. All the jugglers at the convention were hungry for information about American-made props, and most sported a great variety of well-worn home-made props. Many European jugglers, especially those from Eastern Europe, prefer lighter clubs that allow them to juggle much more quickly.


Throughout the convention in Copenhagen, an informal European charm pervaded the atmosphere. There was a lightness to the intense activity and a prevailing humorous mood completely devoid of competitiveness. European jugglers are most concerned with the entertainment value of their skills, constantly searching for novel ways to present themselves. This was particularly evident in the Public Show, which included a delightful concoction of acts. The show was organized by Lindsay Leslie and proceded flawlessly for 21/2 hours without the benefit of a rehearsal.


Master of Ceremonies Erik Jensby did an ex­cellent job, and although I didn't understand a word he spoke all night, the constant laughter of the audience was easy to interpret. Bill Galvin (Dr. Hot) stole the first half of the show in his role as the "Kamikaze Kid and his Mongolian Choke Balls," an insanely hysterical ping-pong ball routine. Toby Philpott followed with his witty and versatile pratfall-laden juggling and magic act that captivated the audience.


Slapstick comedy prevailed in the second act, which included the talented female juggling team the "Deep Sea Sisters," who spent seven comedic minutes building up to their six club passing routine. Leif Bender finished his fire torch juggling act by eating the firey ends of the torches... a distinctly European touch! As the audience cheered for more, the show concluded with a Big Toss Up, accompanied by the Juggling Orchestra.


Sunday seemed to arrive much too soon. Nostalgia prevailed in the morning, giving way to enthusiasm about the future, as a heated debate occurred at the Business Meeting over convention site proposals for 1983. The final vote was very close, and next year's convention will be held in a beautiful castle in Mayenne, France. Convention organizer Sue Hunt has obtained the support of France's Minister of Culture, who has agreed to help subsidize housing expenses and publicity.


Also at the Business Meeting, Ian Kelly of England announced that the profits of last year's European Convention have been put into a 'Jug­glers of Europe' bank account that will be passed along to future convention directors. European jugglers then voted unanimously to utilize IJA services and newly elected European Director Toby Philpott pledged to implement a system of providing European juggling news to JUGGLERS WORLD magazine.


As everyone packed up their props, many heartwarming handshakes and embraces were shared. It was time for another year of individual experiences before gathering again with this strangely wonderful family of jugglers.


The European Jugglers Convention stands as a culturally enlightening experience. Most impressive is the homogenizing influence of a common endeavor; the universal signals and practices that demonstrate the international language of juggling. It is fascinating to ob­serve and participate in the development of complex juggling patterns that eventually flourish without the benefit of spoken words.


Jugglers from various nations have differing natural styles. The interaction of these styles allow all participants to enrich their skills. In this artistic 'melting pot' environment, a unique osmosis process accompanies the general com­munication, and ultimately, lasting kinships form around these experiences, paving the way for juggling to become a worldwide pastime in the near future.

  Convention officials take time for a juggle. (l-r) Mr. Fleming, Peter Johansen and Jenx Brix Christiansen, chief organizer of the 1982 European Convention.

Convention officials take time for a juggle. (l-r) Mr. Fleming, Peter Johansen and Jenx Brix Christiansen, chief organizer of the 1982 European Convention.

Bob Ripa

Namesake of this year's European Convention, Bob Ripa was born March 1, 1913, as Eyvind Hansen, son of two Danish comedy jugglers.  From an early age, Ripa's father encouraged his son's juggling.  By age 15, Ripa was engaged by an agency to play European circuses and variety shows.


Like his idol, Enrico Rastelli, Ripa preferred juggling balls, sticks and plates.  His specialty was catching balls on the underside of a mouthstick while bending his head all the way back.  Besides juggling, he authored magazine articles for many popular publications.


Ripa and his wife, Hazel, had a son in 1939.  but Ripa died five years later when the military plane in which he was riding to entertain American troops crashed in the Pacific Ocean - Hermann Sagemuller.

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