Anthony Trahair, Pearls of Juggling: A Journey into the Art of Juggling for Performers and Enthusiasts, Italy: Cyclus Print, 2015. Amazon.co.uk, ISBN 978-1-927967-49-2 Price: 24 Euros, UK: 20 Pounds.
The first thought when reading Pearls of Juggling is “ethereal.” The writing is light, with a touch of spiritual/mysticism. The obvious ancestor to Pearls is Finnigan’s Zen of Juggling (indeed, Finnigan writes the preface here). Further reading reveals Pearls to be more than simply a meditative examination of juggling, but also home to solid, practical advice on practicing, building a routine, and dealing with setbacks. In that sense, while Zen is the obvious comparison, Pearls also has much in common with Jason Garfield’s Juggling: Fundamental Exercises and Practice Structure and Laido Dittmar’s Fast Juggling Success.
Pearls starts with a section on the joy of juggling, and then moves to improving one’s training, understanding one’s body and how to incorporate movement. It concludes with sections on working with comedy, music, and how to sequence a routine and develop a performance piece.
Adding to the whimsical nature of the book is the series of illustrations by students of the Scuola Internazione di Comics di Roma. The pictures are colorful and represent several different styles. Many of the students are clearly not jugglers, however, as there are many variations of the “objects going in a circle” pictures. Others are more abstract, and all are fun. My personal favorites are on pages 25, 36-37, and 57.
One small drawback is that while Trahair mentions several other books for further reading/insight, there is no collected bibliography of recommended readings in the book.
Pearls of Juggling is the worthy and rightful successor to Zen of Juggling, and it offers both a significant discussion to the more mystical benefits of juggling along with good practical advice on developing skills, a persona, and finally a performance.