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Interview With Chris Ivey

By Damion Wolfe, October 2003

When you think of jugglers perhaps vaudeville, the circus or even clowns come to mind. But Juggler Chris Ivey goes way beyond the juggler stereo-type. Chris' desire to push the boundaries and take chances has set him apart from many others. Whether if it's in his solo act, or duo with his juggling partner, he is not afraid to try new things and break that stereo-type. Chris' vociferous adamant may seem a little scary at first, but it only emanates from his passion to succeed and move forward.

Chris has had much success for someone in his early 20's. He and his juggling partner won last year's international juggling contest for best duo in Reading, PA. In addition, Chris has been seen performing on CBS This Morning, Busch Gardens, Baltimore's Inner Harbor and many other establishments in the Mid-Atlantic East Coast area. I first met Chris when he, I and Curtis Earth were doing a photo shoot for a performance we were doing in Lititz, PA a few years ago. Since then I've really become in awe of not only his expertise, but his ability to draw the crowd in and keep them entertained.

Chris took time to talk with us about his passion in a profession that I really consider to be underrated. Perhaps Chris' unmitigated performances and commitment will help in forging a new appreciation of an ancient profession.

Chris Ivey has no current website but he can be
contacted at cjuggler@paonline.com for bookings or questions. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Mr. Chris Ivey!

1. How did you develop an interest in juggling and what made you pursue it so diligently?

-Juggling is a passion and a destiny that was chosen for me long before I knew how to juggle three balls.

2. Many people don't realize that in order to do what you do successfully you must "juggle" the roles of being a good entertainer as well juggler. Talk to us about how you've learned to fuse the two and keep the crowds engaged in your performance.

-Anyone can learn tricks, not everyone can make that trick look entertaining. Deciding what's entertaining is not a decision I make, the audience tells me. It is a long process of trying ideas and falling on your face in front of people until you find something that works.

3. You do a solo act as well as with a partner. Do you prefer one over the other? Which is most challenging?

-Each has a separate set of challenges. A team act allows someone to catch you on a bad night, which is fine until you're not the one having the bad night. A solo act allows you to have complete creative control, but also all of the work.

4. Your full time gig is as a school teacher. Many artist have had to maintain other employment in order to pursue their passion. Can you talk to us about how this process has played itself out for you?

-Teaching is a means to an end, and the cause of much depression. I would rather be an honest, poor, version of the true me than a liar, comfortable version of what someone else wants me to be. I wish to live free as an artist thinking for myself not playing the ignorant games of society.

5. What are your goals as a professional juggler for the next few years?

-Create an original show that provides and provokes reflection, energy, thought, creativity, and relief. To always live free, think for myself, and remember that life can be simple and that real love is forever.

THE TEN

1. What was your favorite childhood toy?

-A fire truck

2. Have you ever considered having 20 naked belly dancers dance around you in the midst of one of your juggling furies?

-Yes, but I could only find 19 willing.

3. Have you ever considered being a belly dancing juggler?

-No, have you ever considered being a tap dancing singer?

4. What advice would you give to up and coming jugglers?

-Stay far away from other jugglers! Don't copy. Create!

5. If UFOs do exist do you think the aliens ever have their own juggling contests while idly orbiting above the Earth?

-If they are more intelligent than us, they will stay far away from comparing two jugglers. Unfortunately, we as humans can't seem to figure out that comparing two jugglers is a bad idea.

6. Who are the jugglers and entertainers who have most influenced you as an artist?

-Francis Brunn is the most brilliant juggler that ever lived. He spent his entire life perfecting one 7 minute juggling act. Every trick he did was original and his creation and so insanely difficult that no one juggler has ever been able to equal his entire repertoire of tricks. He combined juggling with a strong, dance, flamenco oriented movements. His product was so unique and dynamic that he commanded respect and admiration.

7. What entertainer, dead or alive, would you most like to sit down and have dinner with?

-Maynard (lead singer of Tool)

8. If Curtis Earth and I both shaved our heads, do you think we could become like you?

-Maybe, but why would anyone want to be like me?

9. Is there a juggling scene or network of jugglers or is it pretty much everybody for themselves?

-There is a group of very unintelligent jugglers that convene once a year to ensure that everyone is still doing equal acts to everyone else and to ensure that no one is doing anything creative or new (and if they are, they figure out how to steal it or discourage that person)

10. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your art?

-Opening peoples' eyes to something they had not considered before.