We’ve all seen clowns performing at a kid’s birthday party or people juggling tennis balls for pocket change on a busy sidewalk. Heck, you’ve probably tossed a few bean bags up, trying to juggle yourself. But truth be told, juggling is an art and these guys prove it.
Through years of hard work and dedication to the art of juggling, the performers below have wowed thousands online and in circuses with their elite skills. One look at these artists’ performances and you’ll realize just how impressive juggling can be!
From the second Gregory pulled this crystal orb out of his bag, fellow commuters on the Moscow metro line couldn’t help but look. What, they likely wondered, was he going to do with that?
Though the onlookers likely didn’t know it, the ball Gregory held was called a Fushigi. Made of acrylic, they weigh about five pounds and reflect like glass. The Fushigi is a vital tool in Gregory’s performance art of choice.
That art? Contact juggling, a form of object manipulation where the juggler gracefully moves an object with his or her body. Gregory was among the best at it—as he proved shortly after the clip below.
Aew So / YouTube
Almost magically, Gregory moved the ball with the fluidity of water, resting it on his knuckles or his elbows before guiding it along his arm with the slightest muscle twitch. This went on for more than a minute and a half—then things got nuts.
Two things happened that complicated the scene: the train started moving and Gregory added two more Fushigi balls into the mix. Despite the force from the moving train, he effortlessly guided the balls across his hands.
AEW So / YouTube
The response to Gregory’s talent online reveals just how passionate the world can get with top-notch juggling. That’s why the art attracts so many passersby. People like Joelene Seckold, below, always draw a crowd.
Joelene was born into the circus, performing every trick you would expect from a performer under the big top: acrobatics, horse work, dog training, and a type of juggling a bit more dangerous than Gregory’s contact style…
Joelene juggled knives. She started at age 14, she said, and “they have hit me numerous times, on my feet, on my hands…I’ve got scars, bumps and bruises [but] I wouldn’t change it. They’re little things that speak ‘me.'”
No doubt she physically suffered for her art. Unfortunately, in recent years, the circus juggler had to relegate her career to news clippings and photographs beneath her bed once her second child was born.
But, Joelene said, “You never forget it and it never leaves you; it’s always there in your heart.” That passion for juggling was echoed by Vladimir Vasilievich Galchenko, the show-stealing juggler below.
If you ask 30-year-old Vladimir—who simply goes as Vova—about himself, he says he’s “just a guy who throws things in the air.” That description, of course, belies his serious talent.
Prod him a little further, and he’ll relent that he’s pretty good at what he does but, “You’re not, you know, curing cancer or anything.” While true, this also fails to capture how masterful he is at juggling. What can he do exactly?
The Russian national can keep a half dozen balls moving all at once. But he doesn’t just stand still. He dances around and tosses them between his legs. In other words, he moves around while doing something hardly anyone can do standing still.
The world first noticed Vova in the same way we recognized Gregory the contact juggler—online. In 2008, he posted a video to YouTube where he juggled up the stairs and on the roof of his Los Angeles mansion.
Like Joelene, Vova started juggling young. Born in the city of Penza, Russia—a city “where everyone’s broke and angry,” as he put it—his parents forced him into circus school at age seven so he could develop a talent.
While in college full time in 2008, he practiced juggling every free minute. Because of his hard work, Vova secured countless juggling championship wins partnering with his equally talented sister Olga, left! That earned him an interesting nickname.
By age 20, people already called him the best juggler on the planet. He pulled off maneuvers like “the 9-7-5-3-1” where multiple juggled balls peak at different heights simultaneously. Still, he had one serious problem in his juggle game.
Stage fright! Secretly, the Russian Robot fears his performance won’t be perfect for watchers, which, he admits, is silly. You don’t expect basketball players to make 100 percent of shots, he reasoned.
Still, the fear of falling short of perfection—a fear likely shared by jugglers like Joelene and Gregory—shows just how dedicated these guys are to the art of juggling. It’s dedication you won’t see from a birthday party clown!
Aew So / YouTube
To get a full understanding of contact juggling’s soothing nature, pop on some of your most relaxing music and watch Gregory’s mesmerizing moves below. No wonder he wowed an entire subway car!
Isn’t great juggling beautiful? Which of these performance styles dazzles you the most?
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