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2006 Special Guest Artists

for the IJA festival in Portland, OR
July 17-23, 2006

Each year, the IJA is pleased to present special guest artists to work closely with Festival participants to share their techniques, skills and creative ideas. We are extremely fortunate this year to have Jerome Thomas and the Mud Bay Jugglers joining us at our Portland Festival.

Jerome Thomas

Our Master Class Instructor will be Jerome Thomas. Author and teacher Todd Strong writes: "Jerome Thomas is the most intense juggler I have ever seen. Watching Jerome Thomas perform is like watching a volcano erupt. Jerome combines elements of dance, juggling, mime, acting, and artistic intensity to hold audiences spellbound around the world. A student of mine once told me he caught a show by Jerome in front of the Pompidou Center in Paris. Jerome set one juggling ball down in the middle of the impromptu stage and held an audience mesmerized for twenty minutes as a warm-up to his hour-long show, without touching the ball."

"The combination of Jerome's relationship to the ball, the space and the audience was too compelling for people to leave. Having seen Jerome in a variety of settings, I believe he was able to marshall the chaos of the Pompidou Center to force people, jugglers and non-jugglers alike, to gaze on raptly."

"Have you ever tried to pluck a leaf that fluttering to the ground out of the air? How about several of them in a row? At the end of one of Jerome's shows I saw him line up in a make-shift parade, following and juggling to the rhythms of the musicians in his group. The horn player immediately in front of Jerome began tossing pieces of sheet music into the air behind him. I sat stunned as I watched Jerome catch every single sheet of erratically flying paper before they hit the ground. The memory of Jerome's phenomenal display of superhuman reflexes stays with me to this day."

"If you would like to expand your awareness of juggling and performing, you owe it to yourself to attend Jerome Thomas' workshop."

Jerome has a long history of work in circus and cabaret, followed by a concentrated study of the intersection between improvisational artistic juggling and jazz music. In 1993, he founded ARMO (Association for Research in the Manipulation of Objects)/Jerome Thomas Company, producing many critically acclaimed shows and popular workshops. He has also taught for several years at the Moscow Circus School.

He will lead a limited number of class participants in an intense workshop focusing on creativity and development, culminating in a performance to be featured at the Festival's public show. For more information on Jerome, visit his website .

You can sign up for Jerome's Master Class through our website when you register for the festival. NOTE: This class costs an extra $125 to join, and is limited to the first 25 participants. Jerome will also be available to all Festival participants at other times and will perform in the Cascade of Stars show.

Mud Bay Jugglers

Our Special Guests this year will be the fabulous Mud Bay Jugglers. From their website : "Born of earth and water twenty some years ago, the Mud Bay Jugglers evolved into an organized body of arms, legs and hands; a multi-headed being that was guided by the natural belief in egalitarian leadership. This shows up on stage as their cooperative style of direction plays out in their amazing, non-verbal, choreographed performances. Their blend of juggling, physical comedy, dance, and music is as unique as their working style."

Doug Martin, Alan Fitzthum and Harry Levine will be available during the festival for several workshops on music, choreography and their innovative technique, not to mention autographs, long philosophical conversations, and, of course, juggling jam sessions.

Great News! The "next generation" of Mud Bay Jugglers, the Juggling Jollies, have notified the IJA that they will also be present at the 2006 Festival. Look for them at the Mud Bay workshops, and as guests during the Mud Bay performances.

The Juggling Jollies, featuring the son of one of the Mud Bay Jugglers, has traveled world-wide with their unique acrobatic, earthy teamwork juggling. From the Playa to Portland, be sure to meet the Juggling Jollies.


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