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FAI Tutsday: Contact Juggling Butterfly Drills

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Richard Hartnell lives at the Vulcan in Oakland, California. His career in object manipulation now carpets the USA’s west coast and stretches across the Atlantic Ocean into several European countries. In 2008, Richard was a co-founder of the Bellingham Circus Guild in northwest Washington State. In 2009, he relocated to the Vulcan, a collective of movement artists in Oakland, California. He presently performs full-time, whether solo or as a member of a number of troupes.

From the fundamentals to the far reaches, Richard has a grasp of contact juggling technique that brings him repeatedly to stages worldwide. He taught contact juggling at FireDrums and this is a breakdown of some drills to work on the butterfly, one of the fundamental moves for contact juggling.

It is an easy trick to get wrong. So, here are some step, by step drills to get it right.

  1. Get the throw on the back of the hand right. Get really comfortable and roll it around on the back of the hand. Get tosses up and down right with a really soft catch. This is called a cradle.
  2. Find comfort with the ball in your palm to the side of you. Your elbow should be straight, but relaxed straight out to the side of your body. Throw the ball up and down. Try to get used to catching and holding the ball without using your fingers. Your fingers will want to come up to grab the ball, but that is cheating. You really have to let go, and get comfortable with the no finger catch in the middle of your palm.
  3. Once steps 1 & 2 are easy, combine the palm and the cradle. Make sure that the elbow stays in line with the shoulder away from the body. Don’t let it drop down because that will mess you up.
  4. Once you get the throws down. Practice, the rolls keeping your fingers straight. Keeping your hand in a tight blade will complete the illusion. Isolate your elbow and you’re butterflying.

Let us know if you try it![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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