Gandini Juggling
August 22, 2018 3:24 AM   Subscribe

The Gandini Juggling company combine juggling, modern dance, pantomime, and a sense of wonder into something different and new. The company revels in creating patterns [8m]. They create jokes and minimalist music out of thin air (and balls). [Vimeo, 9m30s] The explore metaphors for modern society.

Two much longer videos are of the piece Sigma from Assembly festival last year [Vimeo, 50m], and the full outdoor Smashed from Korea [40m]
posted by hippybear (6 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Post inspired by BBC World Service show In The Studio. Here's the episode, and here's some related video of their most recent performance earlier this month.
posted by hippybear at 3:27 AM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Very interesting stuff, thank you for sharing. I learned to juggle when working at a dog daycare facility, mainly due to the fact that there are tennis balls everywhere and you are standing around all day just waiting for dogs to make messes you need to clean up. It was a pretty grueling training regimen, primarily because the moment that I dropped any of the tennis balls, a pack of golden retrievers, huskies, and Great Danes would descend upon me like an enormous slobbery tornado.

For anyone that's trying to learn how to juggle, one thing that helped me was standing about a foot in front of a wall facing it-it forces you to keep whatever you are juggling in roughly the same vertical axis.
posted by mike_honcho at 5:02 AM on August 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

The first video is amazing just in that is long, timed with music, and there are no mistakes (that I can see).
But how is the club lighting coordinated? I assume by an external lighting director, assisted by computer via wireless. That would mean that the position of each club- were there 20 or more? - would have to be known.

On preview- it looks like they start out with 12 clubs, quickly move on to 13, then 18, and then 20. Not sure if there were more. Anyway, further complicating the lighting scheme.
posted by MtDewd at 9:11 AM on August 22, 2018

MtDewd, that's a completely reasonable assumption but probably not correct. Programmable juggling props tend not to be controllable from a distance, although some have short-range (30cm?) connectivity to help programme a bunch of them at the same time. Some have accelerometers to sense impacts so they can synch with your throws/catches, but I gather they're not the most popular model as if one of the props makes a mistake in sensing an impact, it's now out of synch with the others for the rest of the act. Generally you design your show, upload a different timed programme to every club, start them all at once, and keep your act in synch with what your clubs are now doing. If your act is already tightly tied to prerecorded music you already have a plan to recover from drops and catch up to where you should be, meaning that the requirement for you to be perfect isn't that much more stringent than it already was. So in that video as in others, the Gandinis' secret
to success is that they're even better than they look.

(To be clear, I juggle a bit but not enough to be talking from experience with the above. This is me repeating what I've been told by performers and other serious jugglers I've run into at conventions. Programmable glow clubs start at about £100 per club, so they're not particularly common toys.)

I've seen a bunch of the Gandinis' performances over the years (and plan to take Friday afternoon off to see their Edinburgh festival shows), and a hallmark of theirs is that they're making something beautiful without trying to make the audience care about how hard it is. So unlike performers who build up to their "best" (hardest-looking) tricks, perhaps with some deliberate drops to make sure we appreciate it, Gandini shows tend to be a mix of moves from very basic to impressively difficult, all performed flawlessly and without fuss, because the choreography calls for it. It's more like ballet than circus.

(I loved this post, thanks hippybear!)
posted by metaBugs at 11:26 AM on August 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

The “metaphors” link shows by far the most brutal social commentary I’ve ever seen in a juggling routine.
posted by tdismukes at 12:04 PM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have a story about this!

Once upon a time, at a raucous meeting of jugglers who had all recently seen "Smashed", eight of us did a two minute drunken parody of that piece very late at night, opening a show for an audience of even drunker jugglers.

We stole some of their music, did some synchronised funny walks, did a gender reversed molesting themed scene and then played Rage Against The Machine's "fuck you I won't do what you tell me" while angstily throwing all our props on the floor, which we thought was hilarious.

At this point it turned out that half the Gandinis were in the front row. They stormed the stage, yelled a lot, threw props at us and chased us away. This provided a memorable finale to our parody and far surpassed the rather poor ending we had come up with in the half an hour's prep we did behind the big top earlier in the day.

This was honestly one of the highlights of my juggling "career".
posted by quacks like a duck at 2:08 PM on August 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

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