Out & About: Circus group juggles all experience levels

  • A man juggles in Buckham Ally during Flint Drop Fest on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019.

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 2/12/2020 2:47:51 PM

LEBANON — It goes without saying that juggling is a great party trick. But did you know juggling can also help make you more productive in the workplace?

Learning how to juggle promotes better focus and problem-solving skills, which can translate to other areas of your life, including your job, according to Meg Tenney of the Cornish-based Upper Valley Circus Camp.

Tenney recently started a new juggling club at the Carter Community Building in Lebanon. The free group, which meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 5:30-7 p.m., is open to both beginners and experts. No special equipment is required. Participants can juggle any objects they like (with the exception of knives; see below).

In addition to boosting brain health, proponents say juggling also offers an outlet for stress relief and can even provide a decent upper-body workout.

Tenney discussed other benefits of juggling, and offered a few tips, in an email Q&A. The exchange has been lightly edited.

Question: Where did the idea for the club come from?

Answer: Upper Valley Circus Camp has several great jugglers who need more time to learn and practice with like-minded folks. UVCC Juggling Club was formed to fill that need.

Q: How many people came to your first few meetings? Young or old? Experienced or newcomers?

A: We’ve averaged between 6-10 people per session so far, which is great! We have a nice mix of youth and adult jugglers at each gathering, and the range of experience is first-timers through experienced club passers.

It’s been especially fulfilling to watch the more experienced jugglers take the time and help newcomers to get the hang of a new skill or encourage them to try something new. It’s 100% supportive, and everyone learns and grows while having some fun.

Q: Can you elaborate on juggling’s benefits?

A: Juggling is a very methodical and organized practice, which requires the brain to slow down and be meticulous in its rhythms and patterns. It’s not only the catching that is beneficial, but also the drops that can teach us about adjusting, resetting and allowing your brain to think differently and make corrections in order to create a pattern of success. Scientists believe that juggling (or learning any new skill) helps to increase your grey matter in the brain, as long as you continue to use it.

Once you stop, the brain matter begins to diminish right along with the new skills. Another reason to remain as active as possible and to get out there and try something new.

Q: What are some popular items to juggle?

A: We use mostly the popular beanbag-style juggling balls and juggling clubs, but we encourage anything you want to try and juggle … except knives. No knives! Last week there were juggling rings, diablos (Chinese yo-yos), spinning plates, scarves and even basketballs being juggled around the gym. If you want to juggle it, bring it along.

Q: Can you recommend objects for a beginner to start with?

A: Beginners have the most success with a good set of bean bag balls or scarves to start out, but anything you have will work.

Q: How long does it take to learn how to juggle? Is there a secret to success?

A: Everyone is different. Everyone learns at their own pace. The only secret to success is to show up, try hard and give it time. All good things take time … but if you pop by the UVCC Juggling Club, we can certainly give you a few pointers and words of encouragement to help you succeed a little bit faster. Worst-case scenario, you meet some great folks, have a great time and exercise your brain. We’d love to see you!

For more information about Upper Valley Juggling Club, contact Tenney at 603-398-2059 or meg@uvcircus.com.




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