People & Places

Jugglers from around the world creating 'moving sculpture' in Cedar Rapids

70th International Jugglers' Association Festival continues through Saturday

Chalk on the sidewalk reads, “Welcome Jugglers” outside the 70th annual International Jugglers' Association Festival at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Jul. 11, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Chalk on the sidewalk reads, “Welcome Jugglers” outside the 70th annual International Jugglers' Association Festival at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Jul. 11, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Dan Holzman describes the art of juggling as creating a “moving sculpture.”

The 55-year-old Pinole, California, resident said he has been juggling since he was 14 years old and made a 35-year career of it before retiring earlier this year.

Holzman is in Cedar Rapids this week, along with hundreds of other jugglers, for the 70th annual International Jugglers’ Association Festival. The event runs through Saturday with a number of shows and public performances scheduled throughout the week at a variety of venues, including the U.S. Cellular Center, Paramount Theatre, Cedar Rapids Public Library and Greene Square.

“It’s great because it really lets people see juggling and it gets the community involved as well,” said Holzman, the festival director, adding he expects as many as 700 jugglers — from across the United States, as well as countries like Spain, Russia, Thailand, Sweden and Canada — to visit Cedar Rapids by the end of the festival.

“It gets bigger as the week progresses,” he said. “Thursday through Saturday is our peak attendance.”

On Tuesday, in a room filled with excitement and jugglers from around the world at the U.S. Cellular Center, 370 First Ave. NE, different colored pins and balls flew through the air as jugglers showed off their skills and practiced their tricks.

“My first festival was in 1980, so it’s been 37 years,” Holzman said, detailing how he became interested in juggling and what he loves about it.

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“In 1974 a book came out called ‘The Juggling Book by Carlo’ and I was (curious) about juggling so I got some oranges from my backyard and I was like, ‘This is amazing,’ ” he said. “You’re creating a pattern in front of yourself. You’re creating like a moving sculpture. It was such a great combination of mental and physical, the balance between the two.

“Same with using two hands, every other activity is one side or one hand but juggling is so even.”

The first International Jugglers’ Association convention, later called a festival, was held in Jamestown, N.Y., in June 1948. Only 38 people attended.

Today, the annual event includes workshops, competitions and demonstrations.

“There is a camaraderie that comes with us all being together,” said Holzman.

He said the public can interact with jugglers at several community appearances, including the following:

4 to 4:45 p.m. Wednesday — Tony Steinbach and Sam Malcolm perform at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday — Warren Hammond and Reid Belstock, of SMIRK, perform at the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band concert at Greene Square.

6:30 p.m. Thursday — Jonah Botvinick-Greenhouse performs before the Five Seasons Ski Team water ski show at Ellis Park, 2021 Ellis Blvd. NW.

9 a.m. to noon Saturday — Six street performers will juggle during the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers’ Market.

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Cindy Hamilton, who also is from California and has attended many festivals during her juggling career, said she is working to encourage younger girls to give juggling a try.

“The gender imbalance is really noticeable when you walk in,” she said. “I noticed that when I first started juggling. I do it for personal reasons because I really enjoy it but I also like to represent and encourage women, especially younger girls, to give it a try.”

Hamilton had some experience with juggling as a kid but became more serious about it as an adult. “It’s a great thing to learn and it’s pretty easy to learn, too,” she said. “It’s a lifelong skill. I learned some juggling as a kid and then came back to juggling as an adult and have continued to juggle.

“I anticipate juggling for the rest of my life.”

Alex Rozanov, who lives in New York, is among those attending his first International Jugglers’ Association Festival. He took up juggling in the sixth grade and has been doing it for 11 years.

“I’ve been to a bunch of festivals around the East coast but never been to the big IJA Festival, so I’m excited to see what it’s all about,” Rozanov said. “I’m looking forward to juggling with top tier jugglers. The skill level is already blowing me away.

“It’s really cool to just be with other people who love juggling.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8538; elianna.novitch@thegazette.com

 

If You Go

What: International Jugglers’ Association Festival

When: Through Saturday

Where: Primarily at U.S. Cellular Center, Paramount Theatre and Coe College.

Cost: Varies by event; tickets are half-price to Iowa residents with valid ID.

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Info: For a complete schedule of events, details and prices, go to juggle.org/festival

best bets

Wednesday, July 12

Youth showcase, junior stage championships, 7:30 p.m., Paramount Theatre.

“Object Episodes” show by Jay Gilligan and Erik Aberg, with Scandinavian “experimental juggling” that combines stories, ideas and images, 11 p.m., U.S. Cellular Center.

Thursday, July 13

Teams and individuals stage championships, 7:30 p.m., Paramount Theatre.

“Flow, Glow & Diabolo” show of “light and laughter,” 11 p.m., U.S. Cellular Center.

Friday, July 14

“Movings” show with Peter Davison (comedy, dance, juggling), 5 p.m., U.S. Cellular Center.

“Glow Out to Dinner,” jugglers roam downtown with glowing props, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 15

5k Joggling road race, 7:30 a.m., in city of Lisbon.

Joggling championships (juggling while jogging), 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Coe College track.

Busking Invitational, street performance competition, 9 a.m. to noon, Greene Square during Downtown Farmers’ Market.

XJuggling, cutting-edge tricks, noon to 4 p.m., U.S. Cellular Center.

“Cascade of Stars,” world-class jugglers from around the world, 8 p.m., Paramount Theatre.

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