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Meeting Craig Quat: The evolution in juggling pedagogy

Meeting Craig Quat: The evolution in juggling pedagogy

(Please note that all of the quotes presented here are actually paraphrased, but written as quotes to denote speaking. I don’t have a direct recording to be completely accurate of his word choices, but attempted an approximation for a feel of who Quat is.)   Craig Quat walks into the room with a large bounce in his step. “I need a few minutes to relax before we start, I just had an 8 hour meeting” he says. He was meeting with Cirque du Soleil to consult with them about their new family entertainment centers. “But first, who are you?” he asks. I tell him that I am a juggler, and more recently, a mom. “Being a mom is juggling. Changing a diaper requires bilateral precision through space and time. You have to unfold the diaper and hold a baby while they try to roll and anticipate their movements so you can get it in the right spot.” he pauses.  “Everything is juggling”. It seems to me like this is his motto. Quat is a bundle of passion and vibrance who talks fast about deep concepts with a strong penchant for ethics. He is highly researched with a sureness about the importance of his work, but feels a need to continue researching and do more trials. One thing that’s for sure, he cares for, and understands his students like no other teacher I have ever seen. Most of his energy revolves around helping people learn about juggling. He will tell you a dozen juggling related neurological facts. “Juggling increases the brain mass by 5 percent after 6 weeks of practice... read more
We Learn Better Together – Workshop in August!

We Learn Better Together – Workshop in August!

Has it been hard for you to learn contact juggling? Struggling to learn contact juggling is, unfortunately, normal. Compared to many of the flow arts, those initial moves take a lot of determination to achieve. Right now, contact juggling, is poorly taught. We need to review our pedagogy.  Also, in North America, we are far away from each other and that makes it more difficult to be motivated. That’s why we strive to put new and improved lessons on youtube, and trying to help the community grow from an informed place. I think we can build an army of great contact jugglers and push this field forward! We Learn Better Together Thom and I started a new website called ballcontact.org – a project that is dedicated to learning and growing as contact jugglers. We all used to use contactjuggling.org, but when Facebook came along, it took over our community. Still, it’s important to make lessons simple, easy to achieve and really change the philosophy that juggling stands on. We are here to change the way we learn contact juggling, and we want to bring everyone to one place, because we learn better together. Join us in Montreal for our first 2 days intensive contact juggling workshop! Contact Ball Intensive AUGUST 11 & 12 9H15 – 15H30 MONTREAL, QC SADHAKA YOGA STUDIO Contact juggling is lonely on your own. Come and meet friends & learn this art together! We will help you integrate movement of the body with props movement. We will take a deeper look at your use of body rolling, butterflies, and your body’s balance. This workshop will... read more
How to obtain a permit for Street Performing in Montreal

How to obtain a permit for Street Performing in Montreal

Great news! I have recently been appointed to the joint committee of street performers (otherwise known as “Des Amuseurs Publics” here) in Montreal. At a recent city council meeting, the artists themselves select 2 appointees for circle show performers, and 3 for musicians. Let’s be clear, all I had to do was show up to the council meeting and volunteer for the position, but, still, YAY.  I am now officially a street rat advocate! Our job is to communicate with the city counsel when people need to resolve busking community issues. It’s been very difficult for me to understand this system & it’s recently changed again, so I am happy to be helpful for anyone coming into the city to try to explain the way things work. This city’s bureaucratic system is definitely broken in every way, and the busker permit is no different! Here’s what you need to know: To be a busker in Montreal, you need to obtain a permit from La Ville Marie on the 17th floor at 800 rue Maisonneuve est. They have recently gotten rid of the audition system, so you can now apply all year long. The license itself costs $160 to renew, and an extra $50 just to open a file if you are new. This is definitely the most expensive busking license in Canada! To obtain a permit, you must prove to the administration that you are worthy of being a street performer. You can do this by a) be a card carrying member of a professional association b) show that you have a education in the arts c) have another... read more
Choreograph Breath

Choreograph Breath

I had an amazing experience recently. When I was performing at the Waterloo Juggling Festival, everything in my act went exactly as planned. This, of course, sounds how it should be, but if I am honest with you, I have really struggled in my carrier to nail it. I do well, enough to ensure no one else notices my foibles, but there was one thing that drastically changed how I felt during my act: I choreographed a moment of stillness in order to take a deep breath. In fact, even in this act, I forgot to choreograph one last breath in the final minute of the act. At 40 seconds, I fumbled just a tiny bit. How was I making it through 6 minutes without breathing  before? In reality, it’s scary to take time to be still on stage. This makes me feel all the feelings contained within my body. All eyes are upon me in that moment, and I feel the urge to do and be something. There is this voice inside that says “You don’t want to waste a precious second of your audiences time without entertainment!”. It’s a lie. As my teacher David McMurray Smith says “Nothing never happens”. But when you are up on stage, building energy, it is very likely that your sympathetic nervous system has kicked in. Your body becomes a jumble of nerves and using cognitive functions becomes more difficult. The body puts its resources into fight or flight responses.  It’s screaming “Do something!”. This is where all that practice comes in handy! It’s great to rehearse an act 100 times but... read more
Showing up vs Showing off

Showing up vs Showing off

Notice the differences between your practice when you feel like you are in a comparative mindset.  Are you showing up, or are you showing off? Showing off is all about your ego, with you as the center of your mindset. You are in the future mindset with angst or arrogance. This is where you find yourself trying to prove something to other people, gain validation from their attention. This is where you are trying to be “the best”, “the prettiest”, “the coolest” instead of trying to do the work of expressing all the original expression only you can do. In contrast, by showing up, you connect with yourself authentically as you are right now. The quality of your work changes when you can be with yourself because you can connect with others. When you are showing up, you’ll find yourself able to listen, as you have already learned to listen to yourself. When you’ve stopped trying to prove yourself to others, you can slow down and turn your attention outwards and hear what the world needs from you. We artists need to promote ourselves consistently to be able to sell our work. Taking photos and videos, writing bios and promotion packages then creating perfection on stage. There is an enormous focus on our egos because we are the product we are selling. We sell our image and our moves. Showing off is an easy trap to fall into in the business. Yet, the other side to this line of thinking is that what we are really showing is the work we do on ourselves. Our ability to be authentic... read more
Mindfulness on Stage

Mindfulness on Stage

The fleeting moment of accomplishment is not the goal of our work. Sure, it’s motivating and it feels great. If all goes well those peaks will be there. But, that moment is only a split second of the real work. The mindfulness is the true purpose of the practice. Witnessing yourself through all the peaks and the valleys without judgement (or letting go of judgement) is what will keep us coming back to the studio. Getting into our body, feeling ourselves and how we relate to the space around us, going deeper and feeling our feelings is the real reason we practice anything in life. Our audiences don’t want to watch someone who shames themselves into being “perfect”. Our audience wants to to connect to us, because for that moment that we are on stage, we let them into our world. We give them permission to feel their feelings through our process of sharing ours. We allow them a moment to side step their own shame, and validate themselves. This can only happen if we give ourselves permission to feel and be ourselves and be free of our own cultural constructs that bring about shame in the first place. The meaning of our practice is in the mindfulness. It’s not about the attainment of each trick. Tricks show the mastery over the our world, it’s true. But honestly, mastery is only interesting for a second. What humans really desire is that connection, and mastery actually creates walls and idols and pedestals that destroy our ability to connect. The progress of ourselves as humans is the real story. How did... read more
New Roving Act Available!

New Roving Act Available!

There is a new act on the block called Bubble masters! This ring master walks through crowds and uses all the bubbles to attract a little elf who catches the bubbles. A little show begins and the ringmaster walks ahead and begins the game again. Really fun for festivals and street crowds, replaying the magic of a mini-show until the end of the road! Check out the bubble masters and book it for your next festival!... read more

Maternity Leave

Hello Everyone!   Sorry I have been offline for a while. I was busy getting married and having a baby ! I am slowly coming back online as I apply to festivals and get back into training for the summer season. I look forward to doing more writing and vlogging.   Meanwhile, we started a website called www.ballcontact.org to share tutorials and ideas about Contact Juggling. I will be hosting more tutorials soon, when the baby is napping &  I can grab a chance to edit from my desktop. Otherwise, check out the video of a performance I was in called CirqaZerna when I was 7 1/2 months preggers!... read more
4 ways learning to drive teaches responsibility

4 ways learning to drive teaches responsibility

When I was 18, I really didn’t care to get a license and drive. To this day, I still walk, bike and take transit almost everywhere. I love it! However, my parents were forceful about me driving. At the time, they told me “woman shouldn’t be walking alone at night.” Seriously, for this strong-headed feminist woman, that wasn’t convincing. Yet, I did pass the exam, and have learned to appreciate having the ability to drive throughout my life. It is clear to me know that learning the skill of driving is one that gives every young person the unique comprehension of being a leader. Although you can acquire these skills in other ways, it is rare when I meet someone who can’t drive who possesses all of them. And, although I feel it’s healthier for an individual, and better for the planet to bike to work, the knowledge that comes with learning to drive is unlike any other task. Decisiveness You have to be decisive when driving. It requires you plan a route in advance, when to get gas, if you will stop for a light when it turns yellow or even make quick decisions to turn around. Making decisions like this are the same kind of decisions we make to become leaders in our community. Responsibility to other people When you are a driver, you have a responsibility to your passengers in the car, as well as to all the pedestrians and other vehicles on the road, including bikes! If you fail to be responsible in a vehicle, you can harm, or fatally kill someone. This is a... read more
Essay Round up!

Essay Round up!

Wow! 24 essays published this year. Check out the 2016 work published on the Flow Arts Institute, the Dawn Dreams blog, and The Busking Project! The Doubts http://flowartsinstitute.com/the-doubts/ Clean Tech Part 1 http://flowartsinstitute.com/clean-tech-1/ Clean Tech part 2 http://flowartsinstitute.com/clean-tech-2/ The Jugglers Curse http://flowartsinstitute.com/the-jugglers-curse/ What is Flow http://www.dawndreams.ca/what-is-flow/ Relearning http://www.dawndreams.ca/re-learning/ Review of 4X4 Ephermeral Architectures http://www.dawndreams.ca/gandinis-4×4-ephemeral-architectures/ Paying Attention http://www.dawndreams.ca/paying-attention/ Being Yourself http://www.dawndreams.ca/being-yourself/ How to make a Human Statue Costume http://busk.co/blog/busking-tips-tricks/make-human-statue-costume/ Aurillac Street Festival in France http://busk.co/blog/busking-in/other-cities/aurillac-street-festival-france/ Busking in Copenhagen http://busk.co/blog/busking-in/other-cities/busking-copenhagen/ Busking in Amsterdam http://busk.co/blog/busking-in/other-cities/busking-in-amsterdam/ La Paz, Boliva – TBP journey post http://busk.co/blog/our-journey/la-paz-artists-boliva-tbp-journey/   Are you subscribed on Youtube? If not – Here’s some highlights of this years online work (don’t forget to hit subscribe) Contact Juggling Collaboration Video!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrRpPCK_XqU All the new juggling work in one video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4NE4RHWt0Q All the new Contact Juggling work in one video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZBczLc18lc The coolest mechanical puppets you’ve ever seen: Les Machines! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lkVWNVwaH8 A Hat a Cane and some crazy legs: Clown https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AQke_I5XJ4 A New Contact Juggling Theory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWqEzgXvisw Balles Debloques – Thomas and Dawn’s act... read more

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