There is a large gap between the busking community and the juggling community, one that I sit delicately on the balance between the two. If I had to choose, I would say that I fit more in the busking category, with juggling tendencies. You see, jugglers don’t make good street performers – at least, not great circle show performances, because they are not performers per-say, and jugglers are obsessed with technique. It’s totally fair to be obsessed with technique, it makes a good juggler. To be a juggler, it takes mind numbing amounts of practice, at least according that meme above.
But to be a performer means you have to connect with your audience in numerous ways. They have to like us, the person in front of them. Many jugglers (myself included), attempting to be creative, need to get that difficult trick in, and show off our amazing skill we worked on forever. Yet, when a trick is difficult the focus shifts away from the audience, and into the objects in hand and ourselves. We jugglers forget to breath, smile, show emotion or – have any connection point whatsoever. We become entirely focused on what they are doing, rather than what they are showing.
Comedians and clowns do much better as street shows because the entire show is about the connection to the audience. It is almost never about the trick itself. It’s as though the trick is a worm to entice the people to watch you, but the comedy is the actual hook. There is personality, pizazz. Jugglers, most often, lose their character.. Holding onto a character is actually the most important part of the show. It is the story. It is the thread that weaves the whole thing together, and without it, you’re likely to lose the focus, and therefore, your audience.