My summer of circus; Part 4 – European Juggling Convention

At about 4pm Saturday the 19th of July, I wanted to be absolutely anywhere but in a juggling hall, soaked from walking 25 minutes in the rain.

But then I saw two people I knew and thought, well sure I’m home now like. 

For whatever reason, I’d never made it to the EJC before this year. But I was excited about EJC Ireland, FOR LITERAL YEARS! I found out about it when I was brought back a flyer from EJC Munich. 

Conventions, be it juggling, gaming or anime, are my favourite things. I really can’t emphasise enough how FUN they are. I mean a large collection of people who are all as nerdy about the same thing as you – that’s all it is, big collection of nerds of different disciplines. How you spend your convention is also often be split between, a bit of what you like (board games, juggling) and socialising, and drinking. The possible combinations of these three things are almost limitless (almost).

So, I spent a lot of my convention wandering around chatting to people I knew, and didn’t know. I did do some juggling (to many people’s surprise), even went to some workshops.

There were also a lot of shows. There was an open stage almost every night, excluding Fight Night, Legend stage and Gala show evenings. Not to mention renegades and impromptu renegades (having explained what a renegade is, an IMPROMPTU renegade is much the same but outside, without an MC, and with a lot of tricks of seen before performed with extra beer cans in hand). I’m sorry to say I saw so many shows I could no longer recollect when I saw what or who did which. But it was great way to be for a few days.

Something amazing a bout the EJC was, well, the people.

There was a small shop on site which was open at certain hours. I discovered the door to it was unlocked when it wasn’t meant to be open, and thought to inform someone.

“Well, we were going to close it, but it turns out people have been going in and taking stuff from the shelves, and leaving the money for it in its place. Apparently some people have even gone behind the ’til when there’s more then one person in there to get them change.”

And this was really how the whole week was passed. If, like me, you left your stuff in the hall, you might have come back at times to see some props missing, only to have someone come over and say they’d borrowed it, and return it. 

I met a lot of new great people at it, and even had a travel buddy on the trains back. I’m already looking forward to my next one.

‘Lights, Circus, Action’- the Galway Community Circus Cabaret show – 21.05.2014

Image

Walking into the main hall of St Joseph’s Community Centre would never be considered boring. Being perpetually rigged with aerial equipment and the weekly timetable nearly completely monopolized by the circus at this point, you’ll usually end up walking into a circus class at any time of day.

But last Wednesday was an especially good time for people wandering into the hall. The walls were decorated on opposite sides with circus’ tent walls, all seats were lined up ready-and-waiting, and a beautiful bake sale arranged.

Being best known for it’s eclectic collection of aerialists, the show unsurprisingly had a lot of trapeze acts – static, singles, doubles and triple – as well as silk and hoop. But if that wasn’t top of your wishlist to see, have no fear, because the manipulators are here! With plate spinning, hula hoop, gymnastics, juggling, and of course the grand acrobatic finale, there was something to satiate all tastes.

The unfortunate thing about circus shows is that it can be hard to fully appreciate how difficult it is to replicate what you’re seeing. Thankfully your circus-experienced reviewer is here to tell you that this show in fact had mad skills.

When you watch a circus performer, the piece you see is merely a minute glimpse into the months and years of training it’s taken to get to this point. The strength, flexibility, coordination and creativity are never gained in few days. But that’s the most impressive thing about it; they make it look easy.

I didn’t feel the time go by, as I intently watched jugglers manipulate objects or raised my gaze to the aerialists, before we came to the interval. Take your pick of sweet treats before you sit to watch the second act. Once again the time passes by without my noticing before we come to the finale. Death-defying heights were achieved in this acrobatic quintet, as two people crouch down, one person standing on either’s back, and the fifth person balanced on top. They even had a quintessential example of a simple story-line, four policemen chasing down a robber, which tied the act together.

If any mistakes were made they were revealed only by a performer’s own evident annoyance with themselves; something I trust to improve with time. Overall the evening was very enjoyable and the show was impressive, to say the least. If you can find any evening half as entertaining for just €5, I’ll eat my unicycle (no mean feat – trust me on that)!