Page 12                                             September 1983

Kara: King of Jugglers

  Kara, the Gentleman Juggler, was featured on t-shirts sold by the IJA at the Purchase convention as a way of honoring and calling attention to this 'gentleman juggler. ' Dennis SoIdati, IJA historian, put together this report of Kara's juggling career.


KARA IS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED as the originator of the 'gentleman' juggling act. Wearing a top hat and top coat, carrying an umbrella and smoking a cigar, he would enter a stage set in a billiard parlor scene and begin juggling the top hat, umbrella and cigar. Within minutes, to slow waltz music, he would be juggling all of the props upon the stage.


He was born Jan. 31, 1867 as Michael Steiner. Before he was 10, a circus juggler made a strong impression on young Michael and he became a self-taught juggler.


His first public performance was Oct. 17, 1883. By 1887 he was using the stage name Carradini, which his agent shortened to Kara. With a new agent and a new name, his career began to take off. His first engagement was in Paris at the famous Folies Bergere.


His finish trick was balancing a plate on his forehead, spinning another on a pole in his left hand and juggling two plates in his right. He let the plate fall from his forehead and juggled 3 plates with his right hand. He brought the effect to a climax by continuing until the curtain fell. It shortly opened again to reveal him still juggling as before.


Kara died Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, after a long and world-renowned juggling career. He performed in the best theaters of the world and made several tours of America, his last in 1921.




By Horace Morton Lorette The Original Dancing Juggler (reprinted from IJA Newsletter, Feb. 1965)



Caught egg in cup, then threw egg high to catch on china plate. Threw egg up again, this time assistant got in the way and egg breaks on his head for a laugh.


Pulled table cloth from under a large amount of crockery and spun the cloth on the end of a billiard cue. Juggled triangular pool ball rack, chalk, bottle and a cue. Tossed coin to toe of shoe, then kicked it to eye, a la monacle.


Juggled table, candlestick and candle. Sat on chair, put glass of wine on three straws and put to head balance. While balancing this, he spun a tray on finger of left hand and juggled bottle and plate in the right hand.


Tossed a match, match box and cigar, lighting match on box. Then took candlestick and tossed candle in air, lighting candle from match during the turn.


A knock-out was his juggling 4 balls in right hand and hat and ball in left, catching hat on head and going into 5 ball shower without stopping, then catching balls in the hat.

Next was a clever routine with knife, fork and orange. At finish, he cut the orange in two pieces with the knife and continued to juggle the 4 objects.


Then he did 5 different objects -- knife. fork and orange in right hand, plate and napkin in left. This was followed by some nice plate moves.


Next Kara balanced a hat rack on his chin and juggled 3 high hats. Then he tossed a hat to one prong, the second hat to another prong, and the third hat went to the top of the rack.


Sometimes the assistant and Kara did a head-to-head balance. Kara would juggle the 3 hats, tossing one to each of the assistant's feet and one on his 'pratt.' With that, Kara would walk off stage with the assistant still balanced on his head.

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