25 December 2012
Shannon Christmas update
three years ago we wrote here about Claude Shannon. Unfortunately we couldn't find any copyright free, juggling related picture of him to accompany the text.
Now, thanks to the generosity of Santa Reynolds, I'm the proud owner of an original print of Shannon juggling at the MIT jugglers club in 1980.
I post it here and on the
Happy holidays to all!
Posted By Iñaki At 14:44 •
08 December 2012
Time for Vivaldi
Part of Arron Sparks obsession with recording and timing things. This is a time lapse of Zephyr our collaboration with the Orchestre Regional de Basse normandie. A piece set to Vivaldi's popular 4 seasons. The time is layered with a slowed down version of movement one/Spring.
It is rare yearly pleasure we have to perform with sophisticated live music.
Working with musicians always elicits many thoughts and comparisons. What would juggling be like if it existed in the same context as music within orchestras, with repertory interpreters able to quickly fathom complex pieces purely from notation.
What is the global ratio of professional jugglers versus professional musicians. Professional jugglers versus professional pianists. Amateur Jugglers versus amateur musicians...my instinct pushes me to 1000 to 1.
Questions of popular culture versus high art. We performed for a lot of children who don't know the classical music clapping etiquete but reacted genuinely to what they liked and didn't like. My favorite part of the day was chatting to my numerous new 5 year old friends. I asked a group of them if they new Vivaldi's first name and upon informing them that it was Antonio, she told me the new Power Ranger is silver and is called Antonio.
Posted By Sean Gandini At 13:06 •
20 November 2012
Speaking of the dead is a difficult task. There is tendency to eulogize, to reduce the complex journeys of a life to the sound bites of an obituary; to tidy what is messy, assign meanings and directions where there was just the enthusiasm and thirst for existence.
I have so much I have wanted to say for the last couple of weeks and yet I have felt paralyzed by the fast unfolding of events, of not quite digesting Luke's death, as if it was some sort of strange dream that I would awake from. I suppose every friend’s death is a digesting of one's own mortality.
And then people are multidimensional, different people in different environments, the Luke that frequently and generously hovered around the Gandini universe was indubitably different to the Luke that hovered in Stockholm or the Luke that inhabited the German Variety circuit or even the Luke that lived and shared so many ideas and dreams with Ilka Licht. Luke was a complex intelligent human being and it somehow feels wrong to reduce him to one perspective.
Inspite of this I feel compelled to share my random stream of Luke memories, my small biased insight into him:
Luke was a modern Man renaissance man time transmuted, gadget man, texting faster than his shadow, Luke turned minutiae into manipulation, middle deals, club twiddles, kick ups - alphabetising, archiving, collecting texts tweets and statuses into a 21st century skeleton of Barnumnian knowledge /
Romantic Luke, holding porcelain phones to princess Ilka like he was in the 18th century, in disused Shoreditch home-shops before it was fashionable/ discovering caffeine before Starbucks arrived / discovering contemporary classical music when perhaps he should have been skateboarding / archiving coolness into digital snapshots/ japanese underwear and socks / / /
Luke in 2011 managed to sit through 6 transcontinental Gandini shows/ Amsterdam minimalism/ London alienism / I felt he knew all the repertory / cut through the bullshit / the superfluous / he could advice, steer through silence / encyclopedic / opinionated
And then of course there was his juggling / architectural / bringing art house rigour to German Variety - imaginary juggling routines somehow carved between vaudeville and the avant-garde / invisible threads / spotless chemically cleaned clubs in his skeletal frame / skeletal frame still more skeletal / more skeletal
Teaching Luke and Ilka in buildings that don't exist anymore / 1990's Hoxton / Council estate London Europeanised / with scratched vhs's of golden age of classical juggling / long discussions of Igi's / Biliauer pirouettes / Gilliganisms / reverse flats / structure / presentation / marketability / arguing politely but disagreeing to agree
And then the last chapters / much too soon / he had helped me deal with death around me / when Gill died / when Vincent died we had some sort of communal mourning.
I said to Tom Johnson that I never had such a gifted student. I remember applying ideas from the things we were working on with Gill Clarke to classes with him and him always taking everything one step further. We did some body-calligraphic projects and Luke finished his tasks so quickly that I had to get him to do the same thing inside an imaginary dodecahedron. I watched him grow those ideas, personalise them and outgrow them. It is ironic and sad to me that both part's of that knowledge-sandwich are now dead. I remember fondly one of Luke's first routines with two balls and a ring to a Brahms piano concerto.
Teacher Luke / Student Luke / Toby Walker Ilka and Luke doing Kati sequences in leaking Circus Space / making notes / giving notes
if I may arrogantly assign myself surrogate fatherhood, surrogate unclehood, I feel betrayed by the laws of medicine, I would have imagined him writing my obituary / I joked about being his doctor / but then the doctor failed / I joked about taking the morphine that he refused to take
Treasuring clarity until the end / I think he was most elegant in his final act / sending Haiku clarity emails in his awake hours / still organised still structuring /
I hope in the near future his ideas will be disseminated to the youth / a rare instructional clarity / in the meantime I miss our complex friendship / I will miss expensive Lunches in the capitals of the world / the text messages and emails / I will miss our arguments and disagreements, our sulking silences /
I know I will remember him for a long time. People like him don't come around too often. He left Kati and I a beautiful photo of Rastelli, time jaded in a frame, an echoe of Susan Sontag's photos as memories, When I finally return home I will hang it by the piano to think of Luke whilst a practice.
Photo Paul Silver
Posted By Sean Gandini At 12:28 •
19 April 2012
Stats for a busy period
Last Sunday we finished one of the most intensive three week periods of the year so far. Started with Smashed in Les Subsistances, followed by Chinoiseries in La Brèche, then Maison de Jonglage and finally BJC.
In this interval of time we did: 12 performances of 5 different shows. A total of 175 minutes of different material (more than half brand new) in 6 performing spaces in 4 cities, involving 12 jugglers and countless hours of practice and rehearsals.
made this nice time-lapse of one of the Events at the BJC:
Posted By Iñaki At 12:04 •
06 April 2012
Clowns and Queens audition
Gandini Juggling are looking for jugglers with Dance and or Theatre experience for their new project 'Clowns & Queens'. We will be holding a day-long audition workshop on the 16th of April at Poole Lighthouse, starting off at 10:30am and finishing up at 17:30
Following on from the success of projects such as 'Smashed' and 'Blotched', 'Clowns Queens' will be a theatrical juggling show for jugglers who are willing to take risks!
Please email a CV and or video material of your work with an expression of interest to
For more information on Poole lighthouse and how to get there please click here:
Or for more information on Gandini Juggling, just click here for our website:
Posted By Iñaki At 21:20 •
01 March 2012
Ryoko, who did
of Smashed, sent us an
today with the title "Iranian Jugglers":
Iranian Jugglers (Mary Ellen Mark-1969)
I found it completely fascinating, so I did a bit of reading up to find out that the clubs these men are holding are called Meels in the Pahlavani wrestling tradition of Iran. Practicioners of Pahlavani attend a particular gymnasium called Zurkhaneh where music is played live and athletes execute group exercises.
A quick youtube search for Zurkhaneh or Pahlavani yields a good collection of videos. Most of the manoeuvres with the Meels consist in swinging the clubs in different manners but there are some spectacular high throws as well. Although strict juggling is not part of the traditional repertoire, one can find pictures and footage of people juggling three or two in one hand.
suggest that the Iranian clubs were introduced in India for the practice of the closely related martial art Malla-yuddha. A streamlined version of these clubs, known as Indian clubs, were exported and became popular in the 19th century in Europe and the US and subsequently ended up being one of the precursors of our present juggling club.
Posted By Iñaki At 23:53 •
22 February 2012
We just received this beautiful picture by
taken at this years winter Circus festival in Quimper France.
I enjoyed seeing
in the photo, he joined the Smashed group late and brings a refreshingly personal energy to the proceedings.
Chris has just written some interesting thoughts on health and safety in relation to Circus.
Posted By Sean Gandini At 21:26 •
08 February 2012
Tables of information
Table from Downfall. This is one of my favorite pieces of the recent shows. I wanted to make something very minimal and non narrative, like a lot of things in recent years it came out more theatrical than we intended. Frederike's laugh was difficult not to react to in shows. We had a strategy to bite the inside of the mouth if laughter came...
On a seperate note below are some pre and post show comments and remarks after the recent premiere of Smashed at the Lynburry studio.
Blog Run away with the circus
BBC LONDON NEWS
Blog Sorrow Pennefather
blog Fruits for the Office
London Evening Standard
Posted By Sean Gandini At 20:34 •
22 January 2012
Traces of Broken things
Our Friend Beinn Muir with whom we are currently collaborating on a book of juggling patterns sent the following after our recent shows at the Royal Opera House. We gathered the broken crockery from the last show.
"I had an idea that I wanted to ask you about on Thursday night. My parents live in Orkney and love to collect old pottery on the beach. I often do the same when I am there and at Christmas I found a fragment of an old ceramic ginger beer bottle from 1920! While we were there my parents kept on saying that they wanted broken pottery that they could throw in the sea to be tumbled and worn by the waves to be found by future generations. So now to my idea: would it be possible to collect together the broken crockery from your last show and keep it so that I can send it up to Orkney to be put in the sea for future generations to find? I thought it would have an interesting sense of persistence for such a wonderful series of shows in an amazing venue."
Posted By Sean Gandini At 14:40 •
17 November 2011
Remembering Gill Clarke
It is difficult in the emotion of the moment to speak calmly of the phenomenal influence and generosity that Gill had towards us. I hope to write something more coherent later.
I remember 20 years ago my excitement in a phone booth when Gill agreed to play with us. I remember Gill sneaking us in to Sue Davies dance classes in assorted spaces across London...i remember late night phone conversations about John Cage and about fragmenting juggling patterns...i remember dance sequences so beautifully eliptical they seemed to emanate from another planet...i remember her spending countless hours on movement detail that we probably never did justice to...i remember the weight of her body when she demonstrated a lift or lean...I remember how she called us Seamus and Katiushka...
i realize now that the wealth of these memories will stay with us always. There are traces of her in everything we do. If there was celestial justice though she would not have left so soon...
I am sure she touched a multitude of people with the same intensity that we felt and i suppose that is a rare gift to have had. We will miss her more than words can say, as a friend and as a teacher.
Posted By Sean Gandini At 17:16 •
29 September 2011
D G C
In the midst of an intensive week of Smashed shows in the north of France we used our two days off to make a quick trip to the beautiful city of Amsterdam to premiere
's "Three Notes for Three Jugglers" and a first draft of his "Five-Ball Canons".
The performance was part of the festival of electronic music "
" organized by
(studio for electro instrumental music), which designed and manufactured the sound balls used for the two compositions that they also commissioned.
Both pieces are highly minimalist in its elements and structure, requiring very precise timing in the juggling and making them substantial exercises in concentration.
In spite of minor glitches, we were very happy with the result and the audience seemed to have enjoyed it.
To add glamour to the occasion, the composer was in the audience, as was Luke Wilson, our number one fan this year and also
of some earlier Johnson's pieces.
Posted By Iñaki At 18:41 •
14 August 2011
Sea of Theatricallity
In our early years we had a formalist commitment to juggling for juggling's sake. Two decade's ago we raged against narrative circus, placing our humble art form in an idealised box.
I remembered this recently during our residency at the National Theatre. We have been swimming in a sea of theatricality. Juggling has a cryptic and untapped theatrical potential. The archetypes which surround it, are perhaps its richest pickings. It's absurdness is its strength.
This year we have been playing with starting shows from images instead of structure. It has been a curious journey. From the Alexander Mcqueen inspired sketches at Circommedia to the a performance art inspired sketches of Blotched. Hopefully some of these ideas will mature in Clowns and Queens the company's large scale.
Pictures from these theatrical escapades below.
Perhaps we move away from the idea of juggling being a blank slate language, but rather a symbolically rich language which has many stories to tell. Perhaps also it will be fun to put juggling back into its idealised box...circular stages with the unadulterated joy of those parabolic arts, logarithmic, unfrontal, ephemeral...
Posted By Sean Gandini At 23:21 •
03 July 2011
Symbolism - apples are not the only fruit
This beatifull picture launched me into daydreams of other fruit juggling shows. Hundreds of oranges, peaches and grapes with all their inherent symbolisms. And yet apples have something so perfect.
Posted By Sean Gandini At 23:31 •
27 June 2011
Below is the list of musics for Smashed. The list is for the long version of the show so some of the songs are not in all performances.
Above a beatiful picture of the second women scene which mostly gets performed in the long version of the show. Below the ever hungry Malte Steinmetz...
I've Always Wanted To Dance In Berlin-Little Jack Little
I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones-Hossier Hot Shots
Bach: French Suite #2 In C Minor, BWV 813 - Sarabande
The End of the World-Bill Frisell
Stand By Your Man-Tammy Wynette
In the Shade of the Old Apple-Mills Brothers, Louis Armstrong
That Cat Is High-The Ink Spots
Ezekiel Saw The Wheel-The Charioteers
Vivaldi: Il Farnace, RV 711 - Gelido In Ogni Vena
Posted By Sean Gandini At 21:37 •
11 June 2011
We have been away from the blog for a while now, so I thought I'd do a quick update.
After successfully premiering
in Helsinki just over a month ago, we've been mainly back in London except for a recent escapade to France where we performed Smashed at the
Gare au Gorille
festival in the beautiful Lannion region.
Gandini Juggling on a paper tablecloth at Gare au Gorille.
Looking ahead, the summer will take us back to France again a few times. First to the
French juggling convention
in Rennes and after to a couple of different places to do Smashed, which is becoming increasingly popular in the country.
For the third consecutive year, we will be in residence at
Watch this Space
, outside the National Theatre. The ever supporting team led by Angus MacKechnie has commissioned a new piece which will be performed alongside other shows from the company repertoire. Have a look at the program below for more details.
Posted By Iñaki At 09:57 •
22 April 2011
Smashed as seen by Ryoko
has taken a leap forward this week with the publication of a very nice booklet featuring the members of the cast and some images of the show.
This is Ryoko with the first copy in her hands, still fresh from the printer.
More pictures by Ryoko from our latest tour in France
Posted By Iñaki At 19:34 •
14 April 2011
Gandinis on Le Plus Grand
, at 20:35h French time, we'll be on
Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde
, France 2 TV channel.
Posted By Iñaki At 17:41 •
13 April 2011
Finished the French season and off to Scandinavia…
At the moment we are working on a
with Maksim Komaro. The results will be
in Helsinki the first week of May.
Last weekend we had a job in a cruise ship in the Baltic Sea, and the shows got me thinking. What a different world from the French world of new circus. It seems at times like there is a rigid dichotomy between what is a more "arty" or serious performance style and what is simple entertainment. Perhaps in other disciplines, like dance, one can only belong to one of those categories, but we are fortunate that our small juggling scene allows us to taste the best of both worlds. I wouldn't want to give up any of them!
Posted By Iñaki At 18:58 •
29 March 2011
It's a busy week here at Gandini house. A group of nine of us is in residency at
, in Cherbourg, where we will be doing two different shows.
On Thursday, in collaboration with
, we will perform the entire Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi; one juggling piece for each musical movement. We did a first general rehearsal today with the orchestra and it felt great. I always get exhilarated performing with live musicians.
On Sunday we are reviving and doing a longer version of
, one of the latest theatrical pieces in our repertoire.
If you happen to be in Normandy this week come to see us. There will be other shows and workshops during the week as well.
Posted By Iñaki At 22:39 •
14 March 2011
So today we get an email from one of the researchers at ITV which i reproduce below.
I hope you don't mind me emailing out of the blue. My name is xxxx and I work in the UK on the television show Britain's Got Talent. I came across a video of you called 'Clapping Music' on YouTube and I wanted to get in touch.
He then proceeds to tell us we would be perfect for Britain has got Talent. Wow Steve Reich for Tabloid TV? What next, Table from Downfall? Which has all the performers sitting and virtually doing nothing for 10 minutes? Now we get a number of these every year as do most established performers and one politely says no thanks. This one however struck me as particularly absurd. Here is a supremely repetitive piece of juggling, 8 minutes of tiny variations on a 12 beat cycle and this researcher seems to think that this would be good on multicoloured Tabloid TV...
Actually Mat Ricardo has a nice series of
which he exchanged with them which are a good summing of up of the absurdity of our relationship with the Tabloid Mothership... Depressing stuff.
Posted By Sean Gandini At 20:47 •
Welcome to the Gandini Juggling blog
Gandini Juggling's Journal. Thoughts on juggling, performing, cooking and philosophy.
Shannon Christmas update
Time for Vivaldi
Stats for a busy period
Clowns and Queens audition
Tables of information
Traces of Broken things
Remembering Gill Clarke
John Baez's Stuff
Alex Ross : The Rest Noise
TED : Ideas worth spreading