Gandini Juggling

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Gandini Juggling are a London-based contemporary circus company. Originally called Gandini Juggling Project, the company was founded in 1992 by Sean Gandini and Kati Ylä-Hokkala.[1] Their initial works focused on fusing juggling with principles from postmodern dance, and were created in close collaboration with choreographer Gill Clarke. Gandini Juggling were early-adopters of siteswap notation, guided by their collaborations with Mike Day, who performed in their first two works.[1]

In later years Gandini Juggling have explored juggling's relationship to art forms other than postmodern dance, and to date they have created over 30 stage and outdoor performances ranging from "radical art/juggling fusions to accessible theatrical performances, from choreographic studies to commercially commissioned routines."[2]


Sean Gandini and Kati Ylä-Hokkala met whilst Gandini was performing one of his street shows in London's Covent Garden. Ylä-Hokkala, a former Finnish national champion in rhythmic gymnastics was "looking for a way to use her skills outside of the rigidly competitive system"[3] of her sport. Prior to forming Gandini Juggling, both Gandini and Ylä-Hokkala worked for British-based new circus company Ra-Ra Zoo.


From 1991-1999 Gandini Juggling worked closely with British choreographer Gill Clarke (1954-2011). During this time they made a number of performances that merged principles of postmodern dance with juggling. Critic Mary Brennan noted of the company's first show nEither Either botH and... that it was "tuned into the deepest values of postmodern dance even as it sets out to celebrate some of our oldest entertainment skills"[4] and that, the "... group suddenly confront us with the whole dancey essence of what it is to-have objects/bodies moving in space, forming relationships with that space, with other bodies."

Regular performers in this period included Mike Day (co-founder of siteswap notation), Lindsey Butcher (founder of aerial dance company Gravity & Levity), Alix Wilding (co-founder of Feeding the Fish), and Ben Richter.

During this period Gandini Juggling also regularly presented their experiments in dance juggling at Juggling Conventions, such as the European Juggling Convention.[1]


In 2000 Gandini Juggling were commissioned to make a show for the Millennium Dome on London's Greenwich peninsula, as part of London's Millennium celebrations. at the same time they also built a large glass cube and, with musician and juggler John Blanchard, begun to explore bounce juggling within this.[5] They later went on to collaborate (in 2004) with John Blanchard and circus director John-Paul Zaccarini to make No Exit under the company name of K-DNK, supported by a Jerwood Award and London's National Centre for Circus Arts.[6]

In 2004 Gandini Juggling first appeared as part of the London International Mime Festival, presenting a double bill: Duet and Quartet.[7] Duet was Gandini Juggling's first narrative performance, exploring the relationship between a man and a woman. Quartet was a more formal choreography of juggling patterns.

Gandini Juggling's "fun and frothy"[8] Sweet Life was first performed in 2006. It was partly inspired by Federico Fellini's film La Dolce Vita, and it toured European city squares and other outdoor spaces for several years.[9]

Gandini Juggling returned to the London International Mime Festival in 2008 with Downfall. This was an exploration of light and dark, and contained a number of glow juggling sequences.[10] It also featured further experiments with the rhythmical sounds of bounce juggling.[11]


Between 2009 and 2012, Gandini Juggling were commissioned by England's National Theatre to make a series of performances for the venue's Watch This Space summer festival of street and outdoor performance. The first of these performances was Nightclubs in 2009, a large-scale show that was "an abstract and technically complex ensemble show which collected a group of markedly different performers and joined them by their unabashed love of spreadsheet juggling and mathematics."[12] This was followed in 2010 by Smashed, a Pina Bausch-inspired work "exploring conflict, lost love and quaint afternoon tea".[2] The original 30-minute outdoor version of Smashed was later reworked into a 60-minute indoor version for the London International Mime Festival.[13] Smashed went on to become the company's most successful work being performed over 300 times between 2010 and 2015 <INSERT REF>. For 2011's Watch This Space the company presented Blotched, and then in 2012 Twenty/Twenty, a celebration of the company's 20th year.[14]

In 2014 Gandini Juggling premiered CLOWNS & QUEENS at London's Shoreditch Town Hall, a show that was "full of sex, but it is never sexy, examining the nature of lust with an almost forensic attention..."[15]

For the London International Mime Festival in 2015 Gandini Juggling premiered 4 x 4 (Ephemeral Architectures), a fusion of juggling and ballet, at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden. 4 x 4 (Ephemeral Architectures) was directed by Sean Gandini and choreographed by Ludovic Ondiviela to the original composition Suspended Opus 69 by Nimrod Borenstein.


Year Premiered Title
1992 nEither Either botH and...
1994 Caught Still / Hanging
1995 ... and other curiOus questions
1996 Septet
1998 Septet/2
1999 Remembering Rastelli
2000 Big
2000 Cube
2000 Dome
2002 Don't Break My Balls
2002 Vivaldi Light Balls
2002 Quartet
2002 Racketeers
2004 No Exit
2006 Mozart Glow Clubs
2008 Downfall
2009 Night Clubs
2010 Smashed (outdoor)
2011 Blotched
2011 Motet (with Circo Aereo)
2012 Chinoiseries
2012 Twenty/Twenty
2013 Three Notes for Three Jugglers (composed by Tom Johnson)
2014 4 x 4 (Ephemeral Architectures)
2015 8 Songs
2015 Meta

Other collaborations[edit]

In 2011 with Circo Aereo Gandini Juggling co-produced Motet. This was directed by Circo Aereo's Maksim Komaro and was themed as a "history of juggling".[16]

In 2016 Gandini Juggling provided the skills ensemble for the English National Opera's production of Philip Glass's Akhnaten.[17] In the same year Gandini Juggling also worked with juggling company Plastic Boom to produce Water on Mars for the Edinburgh Fringe.[18]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Zetie, Ken (1993). "Evolution of the Group, Evolution of the Idea". Kaskade (32): 26–28. 
  2. ^ a b "Gandini Juggling". Gandini Juggling. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Marvel, Cindy (1992). "Challenging Traditional Notions of Juggling Performance". Juggler's World. 
  4. ^ Brennan, Mary (18 August 1993). "Mary Brennan samples a day of dance and performance at St Brides". The Herald. 
  5. ^ Gandini Juggling. "Juggling Cube". YouTube. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  6. ^ Blanchard, John. Silicon Drum Retrieved 2 April 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "LIMF Archive". London International Mime Festival. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  8. ^ Ellingsworth, John. "Gandini Juggling: Watch This Space Residency". Sideshow Circus Magazine. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  9. ^ Wilson, Thomas J. M. (2016). Juggling Trajectories: Gandini Juggling 1991-2015. London: Gandini Press. ISBN 978-0-9955024-1-3. 
  10. ^ Arratoon, Liz (28 January 2008). "Downfall Review". The Stage. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  11. ^ Gandini Juggling. "Bouncing from Downfall". Vimeo. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  12. ^ Ellingsworth, John. "Sean Gandini on Smashed". Sideshow Magazine. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "Going for the Juggler". Evening Standard. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  14. ^ Mistry, Anita (25 July 2012). "The Juggling Man - Sean Gandini". London Calling. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  15. ^ Gardner, Lyn (28 March 2014). "CLOWNS & QUEENS Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  16. ^ Ellingsworth, John. "Motet Review". Sideshow Magazine. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  17. ^ Maddocks, Fiona (13 March 2016). "Akhnaten Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "Gandini Juggling Co-Productions and Collaborations". Gandini Juggling. Retrieved 18 June 2016.