Pipe-Juggling means juggling boules in pipes. Great fun...!
The following text is a copy of the Pipe-Juggling-Workshop, we published in the juggling magazine Kaskade No. 60-62.
This text was originally written for jugglers. If you are not (yet) a juggler - no problem! Most of the Pipe-Juggling tricks can be done without beeing able to juggle. And don´t be confused by such terms as passing, feed and 2-count - jugglers talk like that to describe their tricks. If you want to learn more about the terms and about (Pipe-)juggling - just visit our meeting and we will explain everything.
Never heard of pipe juggling? Never mind, we only invented the term a few months ago. We, that is the jugglers from Hilden, Germany, chose the term to describe juggling boules using flexible drainage pipes bent into a U shape. You don't know what flexible drainage pipes are? We mean those bendy yellow plastic pipes that are laid underground as drainage channels. So make yourself a pipe and be among the first jugglers to discover the fun of this new skill!
Pipe juggling is easy to learn. The basic patterns can be mastered in a matter of minutes, and there are lots of easy partner moves. However, there are also a great many more demanding tricks that take a bit of practice. And pipe juggling is not just for grown-ups. Kids love pipes, partly because of the funny noise the balls make as they accelerate along the pipe. And, last but not least, pipes are easy and cheap to make. See box for D-I-Y instructions.
How to make your own pipeMaterial
Since pipes can be used for so many partner and group patterns, you might as well make a whole series of them while you're about it.
Hold the pipe with the openings point up and drop a boule in. Now get the ball swinging up and down so that it alternately rolls up the right and the left half of the tube. You get this movement by rhythmically moving the pipe up and down.Avoiding mistakes
When you think you've mastered the preliminary exercise, give the ball more momentum to make it pop out of the end of the pipe, about 10 cm clear, and catch it again in the same opening. Alternate left and right. Try to keep your movements as small and unobtrusive as possible. When the ball falls into the pipe, it only needs a little bit of acceleration to reach the same height above the other end (Fig. 2).
Instead of catching the ball in the same opening as it came out of, you can throw it in an arc and catch it on the other side (Fig. 3).
The quickstart is a faster and more stylish way to start than slowly swinging the ball higher and higher up alternate sides of the pipe. Hold the pipe with your left hand only and use the right hand to throw the ball about 10 cm above the right opening. Dropped in from this height, it can already gather enough momentum to jump out of the other end. You should get used to using the quickstart every time - this is the only way to make sure that partner patterns are really synchronised.
Partner moves with one ball
Stand next to each other. The juggler standing on the right from your point of view (Juggler A) holds his pipe in his left hand and a ball in his right. The left-hand juggler (B) just holds the pipe. We'll call the two openings nearest to each other the "inside" ends, while the two furthest away from each other are the "outside" ends. Juggler A always starts with a quickstart from his right hand (see foto).
Inside arcs + columns
Each ball that jumps out of the inside end of one pipe flies in a small arc into the inside end of the partner's pipe (Fig. 4). All throws from the outside ends are columns.
Outside arcs + columns
After the quickstart to the outside end of his pipe, A starts by throwing a column out of his inside end. From then on, all of the throws from the outside end go across to the outside end of the partner's pipe (Fig. 4). All throws from the inside end are columns.
Outside arcs + inside arcs
After the quickstart to the outside end of his pipe, A starts by throwing an inside arc to B. From then on, all throws from B's outside end go to A's outside end, and all of A's throws are inside arcs back to B.
Figure of eight
Following a quickstart to the outside end, A starts with a column from his inside end. From then on, all throws, both A's and B's, go from their own outside end to their partner's inside end (Fig. 5).
The following tricks create a really surprising effect, especially for young audiences. It looks as though the balls change colour as they go through the pipe. Obviously the effect is best if you secretly fill your pipe with balls before the show.
You need two different-coloured boules, let's say blue and red. Drop the blue one into the pipe and let it roll until it comes to a standstill at the bottom. Then do a quickstart with the red ball, but throw it twice as high as usual to give it lots of momentum. As the red ball rolls down the pipe it hits the stationary blue ball. The impulse from the red ball is transferred to the blue one, so that the red one stops and the blue one shoots up out of the opening, producing gasps of amazement from the audience. You can now make the blue and red balls appear alternately, blue on the left, red on the right. Getting this to look good takes a bit of practice. Don't think about the fact that there are two balls in the pipe - the movement is basically the same as with one ball, except that you have to use a bit more force.
The trick works in exactly the same way as the columns, except that you make the balls that come out of the left opening fly in an arc into the right opening. Even when generating the sideways movement you must keep the pipe upright, otherwise the ball at the bottom of the pipe will start to roll out of position and the trick won't work.
This trick looks best with three different-coloured balls. Put two balls inside the pipe, say blue and yellow. Do a high quickstart with the red ball and start off doing columns, with blue always popping up on the left and red always appearing on the right. Meanwhile, the yellow ball lies still at the bottom of the pipe, merely transmitting the impulse from the descending ball to the ascending one. Then start doing arcs and, hey presto, now an extra yellow ball has appeared from nowhere! You can still do this with four balls, but more than four are not only difficult but also really strenuous...
All of the partner moves described in Part 1 of this workshop series can also be done as bounce tricks. Juggler B has secretly put a ball into his pipe. A starts, passing his ball to B. B then passes a different-coloured ball back to A, while A's original ball remains at the bottom of B's pipe. A could also have a secret extra ball in his pipe.
Stand opposite your partner, each with a pipe in the left hand and a ball in the right hand. Start with up-down-pass (quickstart), and then throw columns without passing the balls. Try to synchronise your throws exactly. Adjust your rhythm to that of your partner by varying the height of the throws. Try to use only the sound of the balls to guide you into a shared rhythm, so that you can synchronise without having to see the balls. That's important for tricks in which you're standing next to each other.
Once you've got the preliminary exercise going in synch, you can start passing to each other. Pass from your right opening to your partner's left (see photo).Variations
Stand next to your partner. Each of you holds the pipe with your inside hand and a ball in your outside hand. In other words, the juggler on the left has to be able to do a quickstart with the left hand! Start with a quickstart on up-down-pass. Start off by doing a few columns to synchronise your rhythms. Then throw inside arcs, figures-of-eight and outside arcs and combinations of all three. To prevent the balls from colliding in mid-air, throw them slightly out of alignment, i.e. one slightly further forward, the other further back. Or you can try throwing to slightly different heights.
Juggler A holds an empty pipe. Juggler B stands opposite him - without a pipe - juggling three boules in an ordinary cascade pattern. Out of the juggle, B now "passes" a ball with his right hand into the left opening of the pipe, then catches the ball again with his left hand when it comes back to him out of the right opening, and carries on juggling. A aims the ball with his pipe so that B can easily catch it. The amount of momentum that A must give the ball depends on how far apart A and B are standing.
The pattern is the same as in the warm-up exercise, except that B now holds four balls. A holds the empty pipe (A could also start with the fourth ball, rather than B, but the timing has to be good). B throws a 3-count (left-right passing), with each of his throws going diagonally into one of the pipe ends. A throws back longline, i.e. straight. B always throws into the same opening as the ball from A has just come out of. Variations on this trick for juggler B: 4-count, 2-count and 1-count (no selfs - very quick!).
This is a pretty difficult trick with just 3 balls. A holds an empty pipe, B holds two balls in the right hand and one in the left. He stands very close in front of A, with his hands above the openings of the pipe. He now shoots the balls down the pipe with his right hand, catches them with the left as they come up on the other side and hands them across - as if doing a shower, except upside-down. A hardly has to accelerate the balls at all and should concentrate on keeping the pipe as still as possible so that B does not miss the opening.
Two jugglers, B and C, stand opposite a third juggler, A, in the feed position. A holds an empty pipe, B holds two balls in each hand, C holds two balls in his left hand and one in his right. B and C throw in a 6-count rhythm to the right opening of A's pipe (from their point of view). B starts with a pass to A, C throws three selfs before throwing his first pass. A deflects the balls so that the feedees can catch them with their left hands. The balls that come from B are deflected to C and vice versa. It is also possible for B and C to juggle a 4-count. With a 5-count (right and left passes) A and C always throw straight, B always throws diagonally. Try it for yourselves.
With two pipes
Two jugglers B and C each hold an empty pipe. They stand opposite each other, quite close together, and hold their pipes at a slightly slanting angle so that all of the openings point towards A, who is standing opposite them ready to feed (photo 1). A holds four balls. A now throws with his right hand in a 2-count rhythm alternately to B and C, aiming each time for the far, upper opening. A catches the deflected balls with his left hand as they come out of the lower openings. It is also possible for A to hand across from left to right instead of doing a self throw (very fast!).
You've probably already found out for yourselves that instead of two people standing side by side you can have three or more people standing next to each other in a line, or in a circle. The possibilities for trick-combinations are almost endless. You could juggle with just one ball, or in synch with several balls, incorporating bounce tricks or deflection tricks if you want. Instead of a line, you could try a runaround.
Playing with pipes has shown us that the combination of pipes and balls holds out the possibility of a huge number of tricks, and there are lots that even we have yet to discover. This workshop series has covered only a fraction of what we have learned so far. Here are a few ideas to leave you with:
We'd be very interested to hear about new tricks and experiences from other pipe jugglers! Send us an EMail!Translation: Tanja
You can find animated gifs and much, much more about (Pipe-)juggling at this (german) site: Gerds Jonglierseiten (Topic "Artistisches").