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By Amelia Tarallo
Anyone who has ever watched a juggling act has been mesmerized by the skill and focus of the juggler. Their ability to keep multiple items in the air is impressive. Those who try on their own often quickly discover there is more than meets the eye when it comes to juggling even the most basic of items. Even more mesmerizing is when jugglers manage to get swords or chainsaws in the air. But sometimes, it can even be hard finding someone who knows these skills well enough to teach them.
Enter Phil Czachorowski and Walpole Public Library’s series of workshops, which have been tutoring Walpole’s jugglers for the last month.
Czachorowski had four students on the night of Monday, August 5, ready for him to share his lifelong juggling skills with them. Students began the meeting by choosing which balls to use. All participants opted to use the lighter category, weighing about eight ounces each, referred to as “Stage balls.” These balls are considered the best for beginners, because of the ease of getting them into the air. The participating juggling students began with one ball, passing it back and forth, between one hand to the other. The goal of this exercise was to gradually add balls in, until the juggler could get three balls in the air at the same time.
“That’s the real hard part,” observed Bob, one of the juggling students.
The constant sounds of thuds filled the room, with each new juggler often missing a catch or throw. “When you’re juggling, there’s a tendency to drop a lot of balls,” reassured Czachorowski.
“Yeah, I got that down,” joked Bob.
Czachorowski spent the lesson giving his students some expert tips. “The higher the ball, the more accurate it will be coming down,” he noted, throwing them a bit higher. “Try to throw one ball up to your nose,” he observed. A seasoned juggler himself, Czachorowski seems to have figured out exactly how to become a skillful juggler. “Practicing 10 minutes a day for seven days [is far easier] than practicing 70 minutes a day,” he stated.
“There’s a rule for doing tricks: don’t do it too many times,” Czachorowski told the class, before launching into a series of complicated juggling techniques. He and his fellow juggler, Greg, began passing balls back and forth in precise sequence. “Palms are always open,” Czachorowski pointed out, never really catching the ball before throwing it back into the air.
One student asked how long it would be until they started juggling knives. “Knives used for juggling aren’t really sharp,” said Czachorowski. He and Greg then launched into line juggling. Instead of facing each other, the two passed the balls while facing their audience, throwing them over their heads back and forth.
Though the workshops have only been taking place for a month, these new jugglers have made great progress. They are only steps away from being able to impress their friends and family with their juggling skills. Who knows what’s next? Juggling pins? Wine bottles? Knives? Maybe even chainsaws? Only time will tell.
One thing is for sure though: practice makes perfect.
A final juggling workshop is scheduled for Monday, August 26, at 7 p.m. in the Walpole Library.