What goes up must come down

Jugglers from around the region and beyond meet for Victoria Juggling and Flow Fest

University of Victoria Juggling Club member Dawn Monette demonstrates her juggling technique in the university Student Union Building.

Dawn Monette thought she had learned all there was to know about juggling once she had read an instruction book and taught herself the basic three-ball cascade. Then a chance encounter with the Vancouver Juggling Club changed the course of her life.

“They started teaching me things immediately,” says Monette, who lived in Vancouver at the time. “I met a man and he told me to come to the Victoria Juggling Festival 2005. When I came here, my mind was blown. I had no idea juggling was so involved, that it had so much versatility, so many facets.”

When Monette attended the Victoria festival, run by the University of Victoria Juggling Club, she immediately decided to transfer from Capilano University to the University of Victoria. She would take on organizing the 2008, 2009 and 2013 festivals, the latter set to take the city this weekend.

Monette, better known to some as Dawn Dreams, sits at the club’s table, stacked high with hula hoops, clubs, balls, devil sticks and cigar boxes within the university’s Student Union Building during club days. She sports silver glitter around her eyes and smiles wide as she likens her experience at the 2005 event to Blind Melon’s music video for their 1992 song No Rain.

“The girl’s dancing on stage in a bumble bee costume and goes home and cries a whole lot,” Monette says. “At the end of the video, she opens the gates and there’s a field filled with bumble bee people just like her, dancing around and being silly. That’s the feeling I had when I arrived at that festival.”

Monette was enthralled watching contact juggling crystal balls, now a specialty of Dawn Dreams, along with her hoop work. This weekend Monette and co. host a variety of jugglers from across genres, with performances and workshops planned from Friday afternoon (Jan. 18), until Sunday at Central middle school, 1280 Fort St. The gala event, featuring Japanese breakdancing juggler Komei Aoki, among other international acts, is set for 8 p.m. Saturday at The Metro Theatre, 1411 Quadra St.

The festival also provides an opportunity for the club to show off their new moves, says Ava James, a member since 2001. James has been a juggler most of her life since first watching a performance on the Ed Sullivan Show when she was 10. All these years later, she’s still drawn to the beauty of the activity.

“There are so many combinations,” says James, whose ball, ring and devil stick work involves fewer back crosses than some of her younger counterparts. “It’s always possible to learn another trick, but it gets a lot harder when you get up toward your late-50s. You don’t have the same reflexes.”

Club president Patrick Conley joined the group after about three years of experience with the classic three-ball cascade. Since that time he’s added cigar box juggling to his repertoire, a skill more about catching than throwing and playing with the shape of a box, he explains. A graceful demo involving green, yellow and pink cigar boxes in flight back up his claim.

Though the club is a student-run organization, it is open to the community and welcomes new members.

“Anyone can pick up a ball and throw it in a creative and wonderful way and find a sense of satisfaction from that. We’re open to anybody. … How young, how old a person is, that’s not really of use to us, it’s just: ‘What can you show me? What can you create?’” Monette says. “Our community ranges from young to old, either gender, every walk of life in general and it’s as old as dirt.”

Tickets to the Victoria Juggling and Flow Fest range from $10 for the day to $35 for a weekend pass (including the gala event), with hefty student, senior and youth discounts. Visit web.uvic.ca/~juggling for tickets or email juggling@uvic.ca for more club details.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria’s little free libararies get 5,000th book

Volunteers have been dropping off books around Greater Victoria since 2017

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

Shamrocks hold 1-0 lead over Burrards

Bob Heyes said it is going to be a different game on Sunday in Maple Ridge

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Most Read