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It’s a Toss-up

Clown-free juggling at Pratt.


Juggling has undeniable kid (and parent) allure. But not everyone can do it. Learn how—and gawk at some fancier-than-thou moves—at the seventh annual Juggle This! festival, held March 7 to 9 at Pratt. “Gawking is what jugglers are used to,” declares festival organizer Matt Guzzardo. “It’s a three-day festival where anyone at any point can come in and learn how to juggle three-ball.” Guzzardo has been tossing clubs since high school and is currently working on perfecting his slap backs and back crosses. Figure out what that means while watching some of the higher-skill-level workshops. Or just loiter en famille at the balloon-sculpting and lasso demonstrations, which take place, along with everything else, at Pratt’s 200-yard indoor track. Plenty of local and international talent will be on hand, especially at the two-and-a-half-hour Saturday night show, but don’t expect to see clowns. Apparently, this is a touchy subject for jugglers. “It’s great for parents to take their kids and see that juggling isn’t only clowns,” Guzzardo says. In other words, try not to hum circus themes. Other delicate subjects to bear in mind as you peruse the prop-selling vendors: Don’t ask performers if they can juggle “knives, chainsaws, fire” or “eat an apple.” Kids old enough to be in fourth grade are more likely to master three-ball juggling than their younger counterparts, though kindergarten-age tots have a blast throwing scarves. “Fourth grade on is really when you can teach someone quickly,” Guzzardo says. Those with rhythm or mathematical brains tend to pick it up fairly easily. Two strikes for this mom. Sigh.

3/7, 5 to 10:30 p.m.; 3/8, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.; 3/9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn campus, 200 Willoughby Ave., nr. Classon St., Ft. Greene (; events free, show $10.


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