Page 15 Fall 1991
James Ernest. Ernest Graphics Press, Second edition 1991.
Black & white,
pages soft cover. $10.
the image: it's Club Renegade, back in 1988 at the Denver IJA
festival, and .. the time is well into the morning hours. A small
figure makes his way onto the stage,
and using just one large red stage ball, exhibits such control over it
that the crowd goes utterly, insanely wild. A good portion of this
"juggling" becomes many viewers' favorite part of the 1988
Juggling" by James Ernest is the only book currently produced
that exclusively addresses this skill of handheld ball rolling and
manipulations. Ernest differentiates contact juggling from
other forms of juggling by defining it as "manipulations of
single objects or object groups involving very little tossing or
spinning." While this leaves the meaning open for clarification
and further definition, it does allow it to stand apart from toss,
balance and gyroscopic juggling.
this book is surely to be of the greatest interest to the juggling
world, the author has left his market open to the public by
including some basic descriptions of the different forms of
juggling. This book would appeal to anyone who has witnessed
individual possess control
over a single ball, rolling it around seemingly by magic, such as
Michael Moschen's "stunt" work for David Bowie in the film
The book has been designed to be an instructional workbook, with multiple illustrations scattered about the text. It starts with basic (and helpful) warm-up exercises to let the reader feel comfortable with the smooth gliding movements found in all forms of contact juggling. Basic one-ball moves are discussed in detail, and then those basics are combined and altered until it seems that the ball has a mind of its own, rolling and maintaining contact with the body.
balls are discussed next, and many techniques discussed are one ball
moves done in each hand. Then the real fun begins. Ernest explains
how hands exchange two balls in a flowing transition.
contact juggling skill that has always impressed me is "palm
balls in the palms of hands has a mesmerizing quality, and the author
discusses not only two but up to four rotating balls in each hand!
multiple ball manipulations that Ernest discusses include the walking
cascade, an incredible looking trick that makes the balls look like
they are rolling out in one direction while the actually stay in the
same place. An especially appealing technique is a cascade done with
contact juggling; the balls seem to be continually dropping onto the
tops of both hands.
are four appendices in the back of Contact Juggling: a materials
listing with suggestions on the types of balls to use (though it is
sorely missing the names and numbers of propmakers, the author does
suggest places you might be able to find crystal balls); an
introduction to the three ball cascade and devil sticks; Understanding
Juggling, some very interesting insights into the juggling world; and
a glossary (this is useful because so many techniques and skills
presented here are different from any the average juggler would come
the information contained in the book is worth the price alone, the
physical attributes make it one of the best designed juggling
instruction books available. In an 8 1/2 x 11 format, the book is
bound so that you can lay the pages open in front of you on the floor
or a desk, and can practice while looking at the illustrations. The
type and illustrations (drawn by the author) are very clean and easy
main drawback to this book is that after working with some of the
tricks mentioned here, the book seems to run short of ideas and
advanced techniques. Overall, Contact Juggling is a great introduction
to possibly the most fascinating and mesmerizing juggling skills you
James Ernest, author of "Contact Juggling", demonstrates the art in a St. Louis Festival workshop. (Giduz photo)