Juggling “an unbeatable game”
May 16, 2019
Juggling may be a niche sport, but for some members of a Wellington club it is not only a passion but a potential career.
The Wellington Juggling Collective has been meeting on Wednesday nights for over 10 years at Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School in Newtown.
Club organiser Derek Harland said countless people had come through the doors over the years the club has been running.
“Juggling clubs are traditionally a really good place to meet people. Experienced members teach people stuff they want to learn.”
Harland said the range of members was diverse, with people of all ages, backgrounds, and careers coming together. “We welcome both beginners and experts, and there’s always something new to learn. It’s a fairly eccentric hobby.”
Fiona Curtis, who had been juggling for six months, started coming along to the club in March after moving to Wellington. “I was part of a circus club in Palmerston North and wanted to find something similar here.
“I come here to learn from people who are better. Everyone here is happy to help us improve and learn new tricks. It’s a great learning environment.”
Spoken word artist and juggler Rikki Livermore, whose performer name is Rik the Most, likes to visit the club when in town. “It’s like a little home when I’m in Wellington.”
Livermore, a self-described three-ball trick merchant, said there was “a lot of space to play with” when juggling. Juggling sounds geeky but geeks are some of the best folks around—geek just means passionate, right?”
While some went along for fun, aspiring experts saw it as a space to develop their professional skills.The conventional juggling balls were popular with beginners, while the more experienced performed tricks with clubs.
Whitireia New Zealand students Connor Leech and Katelyn Reed were studying towards a Bachelor of Applied Arts in circus performing, including juggling, contortion, and tumbling.
They said they came along to the collective not just for the social aspect but also to challenge themselves. “The nice thing about circus is that community feel, but there’s also the challenge of mastering new skills,” said Reed.
Leech said circus performers tended to be their own biggest competitors. “There’s always something you haven’t mastered yet.
“You’re never gonna beat juggling—it’s the unbeatable game.”