• Dome
  • Dome
  • Dome


Dome (2000) was commissioned for the year-long festival of performance at London’s Millennium Dome (subsequently the O2 Arena) celebrating the turn of the of millennium. Gandini Juggling were invited to create a twenty-minute, purely visual performance that was In keeping with the intended celebratory atmosphere at, and spectacular scale of, the Millennium Dome. In responding to this brief, the company set out to create a performance made up of patterns that used a large number of objects and jugglers – what the company term ‘maximal’ juggling. To deliver an emphasis on the visual aspects of juggling and perfor- mance, the company also chose boldly styled and brightly coloured costumes, though there were some issues with the suitability of the costumes for juggling and the company reverted to wearing costumes that had been designed for the Millennium Dome’s opening ceremony.

Originally intended for performance inside the main arena of the Millennium Dome itself, the company developed the commission by drawing on material from Septet/2 (1998), in particular its large-scale club-passing patterns and the placing of jugglers on elevated platforms of various heights. It was during this time that Gandini Juggling began to draw on Merce Cunningham’s approach to staging his Events. These choreographies were composed of pre-existing material arranged for a non-theatre space, such as a museum or an art gallery.

In borrowing this compositional model, Gandini Juggling discovered a way of enabling themselves to construct works quickly and efficiently, through the adaptation of existing material for different performance spaces and contexts. This was particularly important for Dome as, two weeks into the run, the commis- sioning body moved the location of the performance from the main arena of the Dome to the outer ring amongst the exhibitions. This change of location neces- sitated a substantial adjustment to the performance style of the work, as the company were now very close close to the audience and had to modify the work to accommodate this. They did this by embracing a style closer to that of street performance. Ylä-Hokkala explains that this was “great practice for those of us who were not as familiar with this format”.

Dome marked the first of Gandini Juggling’s large-scale ‘pure juggling’ shows and, as such, laid the ground for a number of key works that followed. The prestige of performing at the Millennium Dome also allowed them to leverage future commercial and festival bookings, as well as providing a degree of financial stability.

(orginal text from Juggling Trajectories, Gandini Juggling 1991 – 2015 by Thomas J M Wilson - link to shop)


Directors: Gill Clarke, Sean Gandini
Performers: John Blanchard, Karen Bourre, Sean Gandini, Jay Gilligan, Sharon Haddock, Rob Horsman, Manu Laude, Ian Marchant, Chris Sly, Cecile Poncet, Bibi Tesfamariam, Bichu Tesfamariam, Tomoko Tokushige, Alice de Vestelle, Elli Wagner, Luke Wilson, Kati Ylä-Hokkala