Wednesday, April 14, 2004

For club, juggling not passing fancy

But fancy passing? Yes, that's part of the fun

By Nathan Eagle
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Arn Ward of West Chester Township practices a five-point star with other Cincinnati Club Club members Tuesday. The group meets at Heritage Elementary School.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/JEFF SWINGER
LIBERTY TWP. - It's solo or social, challenging and fun.

Juggling is the passion and purpose of Cincinnati Club Club, a spirited group that meets weekly at Heritage Elementary School in Liberty Township.

"Because we're a club of people who juggle clubs, we're a club club," said member Arn Ward of West Chester Township.

The club, founded in 1991, is an affiliate of the International Jugglers Association.

"Half the club are computer-chip heads," said Ward, a computer programmer. "You can always find the artistic-side juggler, but a lot of us are on the geeky side with math degrees and technical majors."

Founding member Rochelle McCollom explains her juggling club joys.

"It's very social. These people become your best friends," said McCollom, a Fairfield Township resident. "A lot of us go to the national fest every year. It just becomes a big party."

The association's 57th annual festival will be held this July in Buffalo, N.Y. The weeklong event will feature the Flying Karamazov Brothers, idols in the juggling world.

"We all have our own idols, and that's one of the greatest things about the national fest," McCollom said. "You can meet and talk with these people. A couple of us have even passed with the Karamazov Brothers."

"Passing" is juggling in groups of varying size and patterns. Some Club Club members thrive on this interactive style.

"I enjoy passing more because it's more of a social thing," McCollom said. "But then there's a Miami professor (Peter Blanchard, Miami University-Hamilton) who likes to focus more on numbers, juggling seven or eight objects at a time."

Ward derives his pleasure from the performing aspect of juggling.

"Everyone does it for a different reason," Ward said. "I just love making people laugh."

The ancient history of juggling is vast, and its appeal has developed into a specialized art and popular hobby.

While McCollom prefers passing clubs, Ward ventures into balancing objects such as the unicycle, rolabola, derby and stilts.

"It's amazing how fast your skills progress when you're around the other jugglers," McCollom said.

For more information, visit Cincinnati Club Club's Web site at

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