Page 8 Fall 1992
European Convention shakes up sleepy Laval
By Tom Sparough Photos by Marcus MandaI
was steady applause for about a minute during the business meeting of
the Sixth Annual European Juggling Convention. The record-breaking
crowd of 200 participants were showing their appreciation to the
people who put together the smooth-running toss-up Sept. 16-18 in
60 francs, less then $8 U.S., jugglers more than got their money's
worth. A huge, open, multipurpose building gave people plenty of
space to practice. Housing was just as inexpensive as the registration
was a friendly, easy-going convention, but there were enough scheduled
events to keep people busy. Friends from at least 11 countries shared
tricks and passed clubs. A parade through the city was a smash
success. Competitions were just for fun, and the free Public Show
filled the hall.
conducted included deciding to hold next year's European Convention
for four days in Frankfurt, West Germany. A group of about a dozen
people from the Wiesbaden juggling club will organize it, with the
city of Frankfurt paying 80 percent of the rental fee for the hall.
Toby Philpott of England was reelected IJA European director.
year's convention was organized by the Institut Francais de Jonglage -
Susan. Hunt, Jean-Marc Lucas, Bart Landenberger and Tim Roberts. They
managed to raise a bit of profit, which is being sent to Frankfurt to
help pay for next year's hall rental.
a city of 55,000 about three hours southwest of Paris by train, was
treated to juggling on three separate occasions on Saturday. The Laval
mayor drank wine with, and gave key rings of the city to, jugglers
from each of the countries represented. He also tried juggling, but
met only with limited success and a couple of bonks on the head!
arrived throughout the day on Friday. Workshops were given on
multiplex, five ball juggling, club spinning and beginning club
passing. A Saturday morning parade through the weekly merchants'
market gave Laval a taste of juggling it will remember for years.
Tim Roberts said at the start, the parade was to cause a disruption in
town so the people would become aware of the jugglers' presence. A
block-long blaze of color and sound swept the streets as stilt
walkers, unicycle riders, ball spinners, hat manipulators, dancing
gypsies, clowns, and a barrage of jugglers unloaded their tricks on
the unsuspecting shoppers.
stopped. One fun-lover, particularly light on his feet, danced atop a
car as the driver laughed hysterically. There
were lots of grins, some frowns and a load of people who scratched
their ears, blinked their eyes and let their jaws drop.
continual treat of the weekend was the free-spirited band Uranus
Bruyant from Rennes, France. During the parade their sounds bounced
about the brick buildings as the participants marched and danced
through the route. The live music added humor - and tension later in
the Public Show.
wedding was just finished as the parade madness started to peak. The
troubadours found the wedding party at the top of the city hall steps
and moved in for a show the newlyweds will never forget. The band
blasted its way to the center of the stairs as dozens of manipulators
cavorted and careened on one knee. A tunnel
of clubs was formed. With a bit of prodding, the slightly nervous
couple strolled through the formation down the steps.
In the center of town, one juggler fed a circle of 18 others. Another climbed a statue of the first French surgeon and put an assortment of clubs between its stiff arms. Posing for pictures, the climber explained, "He taught me everything I know!"