Melodic Objects // Jay Gilligan

A century ago jugglers used to first think of a trick and then build a unique prop to accomplish that goal or concept. But in modern times, juggling props are mass produced and it all becomes a matter of what different tricks one can do with the exact same prop that everyone else in the world has.
When a new prop is finally introduced to the artistic community, the challenge becomes finding things to do with that particular shape that can’t be done with anything else in the world.

It’s equally easy to juggle with an apple and an orange, but quite another matter to find tricks that specifically need one instead of the other!

It’s harder to justify a certain design using traditional older juggling techniques because almost anything can be thrown into the air and caught. This is why a lot of new techniques end up using minimal throws, where the objects are more in contact with each other and physically interact. This physicality in the manipulation starts to blur the border between juggling and a lot of the other time-based art forms of puppetry, dance, mime, storytelling, and even music.

The show is closely related to all of these other arts, and yet stays true to juggling, though a form of juggling you may not have seen before.

The relation to music is furthered as a tribute to the world famous juggling troupe “The Flying Karamozov Brothers,” who observed: “Juggling is a series of events, throws and catches happening with respect to time. Music, similarly, is a series of events, notes as graphed against a continuum of time. This relationship between time and events in music is called rhythm. That same term, rhythm, can also be applied to the same relationship in juggling. So, as we’ve just seen, juggling is rhythm and music is rhythm. Now logic tells us that if A equals B, and B equals C, then A equals C… therefore, juggling is music!”

Jay Gilligan is an American juggler from Arcadia, Ohio, currently performing and living in Europe. He is one of the most creative and successful jugglers in the world. Jay is the main teacher of juggling and creator of the juggling program at the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, Sweden.