Thom Wall

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Thom Wall - Saint Louis Juggler - Performs at Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room - August 2013

Thom Wall (born February 9, 1987) is a juggler and variety entertainer based in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.[1]

Wall is known for his avant-garde performance style, cultivated through training at the New England Center for Circus Arts, lessons with mime Karen Montanaro, and training with long-time friend Curtis Carlyle. In 2009, Wall competed at the World Juggling Federation's "Winter Blitz" event. No judge had seen any of his creative five-ball tricks performed before, so his routine was deemed unscoreable. In 2017, the Smithsonian Institution called Thom an "elite practitioner of the craft of juggling."[2]

Thom is one of the last gentleman jugglers performing in the world today[3] - a performance style where relatable objects are manipulated in clever ways.[4] His work with mouthstick and balance have given him a notoriety in the circus world. In 2015, Dr. Salvador Calva Morales, chancellor of La Universidad Mesoamericana in Puebla, Mexico - home to Mexico's traditional circus school - was quoted as saying "...I dare say that [Thom] is the greatest balancer in the entire world."[5] In 2017, Smithsonian Magazine referred to Thom as "...an elite practitioner of the craft of juggling."[2]

In November 2017, Thom married fellow circus performer Chloe Somers,[6] who is credited with reviving and popularizing the old circus discipline of "bottle walking" in the United States.[7]

Thom is currently on tour with Cirque du Soleil's show Totem on their European tour.

Career Highlights[edit]

In 2014, Thom competed at the International Jugglers' Association (IJA) Senior Stage Championships with a traditional mouthstick juggling act. This act was awarded the bronze medal, making it the first time the discipline has been awarded a competition medal in the championships' 67-year history.

Thom was hired by Cirque du Soleil in April 2014 (to replace juggler, Greg Kennedy) in their touring show Totem. He worked for the company in a temporary position, performing shows in America, Canada and New Zealand before being replaced by Chris Chiappini in September 2014. Thom was then rehired by Cirque in February 2016 as a last-minute replacement for the Japan tour[8] - this was possibly the fastest re-integration ever into an Cirque du Soleil show, as Thom was given eight hour's notice before catching a flight to Tokyo.[9] After the Japanese tour ended in the Summer of 2017, he signed a full- time contract with the company as their permanent juggling act.[3][10] He is performing with the show in Europe through the end of 2018.[3]

In 2013, Thom was the first person to ever juggle six knives.[11] To date, he's the only person to accomplish this feat.

In 2014, Thom and Benjamin Domask debuted their new creation "The Dinner and a Show Show[12]" at the Kansas City Fringe Festival, where it received top honors.[13]

In 2015, Thom joined the Celebration Barn Theater's new performance ensemble in their creation of "Traveling Light."[14]

In 2017, Thom was the face of the American juggling tradition at the 50th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC, where he hosted panel discussions and performed a daily lecture and demonstration of the history of juggling.[10]

Thom Wall performs a "gentleman" juggling act.

In 2017, one of the glasses from Thom's mouthstick act was inducted into the Museum of Historical Juggling Props in Middletown, Ohio.[15] Museum curator, David Cain, reflected on the induction of this gentleman juggler's props by saying "Thom is one of the brightest stars in the juggling world. He has a wide array of skills but what he is known for few people (jugglers) do."[15]

Education[edit]

Wall attended Washington University in Saint Louis, where he earned a degree in Germanic Languages and Literatures.[16] He also speaks Spanish and Arabic,[17] and holds teaching credentials from Cambridge University.[3]

He also holds a Masters' Degree in Nonprofit Arts Administration from Drexel University.[18] His thesis revolved around the branding of nonprofit circus organizations in the United States.[19]

Thom was a member of the 2012 Professional Development Program at the New England Center for Circus arts, where he trained juggling and hoop diving.[11]

Community Service[edit]

Wall served on the Board of Directors of the International Jugglers' Association between 2009 and 2013. During his tenure on the Board of Directors, he helped found the a new international competition format,[20] helped implement eJuggle, the IJA's electronic magazine,[21] and started the IJA's annual Video Tutorial Contest, which has brought hundreds of hours of high-quality, free-to-access juggling tutorials to the internet.[21]

Wall is widely credited by members of the juggling community with helping turn the International Jugglers' Association around - when he was first elected to the Board of Directors, the organization was in the middle of a public relations crisis on the usenet forum Rec.Juggling. His work with online educational programs, global outreach, and benefits to new members through the new online magazine has brought the 70-year-old organization many new members, much new respect, and financial solvency.

His work with the International Jugglers' Association inspired him to pursue a master's degree in Nonprofit Arts Administration through Drexel University.[22] In a 2012 interview, Thom's primary interests in arts administration were cited to be strategic planning, PR, and marketing.[23]

International Recognition[edit]

In 2014, Wall competed at the Zelta Karlis[24] circus festival in Riga, Latvia. He was presented with the "People's Choice" special prize, given to the act found "...most pleasurable to the Latvian people."[25]

In 2015, Wall was invited to perform at the 3rd annual Festival Universario de Circo, circus festival held at La Universidad Mesoamericana, which is home to the Mexico's traditional circus school, in Puebla, Mexico. At the culmination of the festival, he was presented with the Crotalus Scholaris Medal - the highest award the university offers.[26] Chancellor Salvador Calva Morales stated that the award was to "indelibly recognize Thomas Wall's work as a juggler."[26]

In 2017, Wall was invited to teach a fifteen-hour masterclass workshop at the Periplo International Circus Festival in Guadalajara, Mexico. He also debuted his new one-man show "On the Topic of Juggling" at the event.[27]

Awards[edit]

  • Top 40 Jugglers of the Year 2017 (#20)[28]
  • 1st place, three ring juggling world championships (International Jugglers' Association, 2017)[29]
  • 3rd place, three ball juggling world championships (International Jugglers' Association, 2017)[29]
  • Top 40 Jugglers of the Year 2016 (#30)[30]
  • Crotalus Scholaris Medal - Universidad Mesoamericana (Puebla, Mexico)[31]
  • Top 40 Jugglers of the Year 2015 (#31)[32]
  • People's Choice - Riga International Circus Festival (Riga, Latvia, 2015)[33]
  • Top 40 Jugglers of the Year 2014 (#22)[34]
  • Top 40 Jugglers of the Year 2013 (#27)[35]
  • 3rd place, World Juggling Championships (International Juggers' Association, 2014)[36]
  • Best of the Fringe, "the 'Dinner and a Show' Show" (Kansas City Fringe Festival 2014)[37]
  • Judy Finelli Award for "Most Inspirational Juggler of the Year" (Humboldt Circus, 2013)
  • Top 40 Jugglers of the Year 2012 (#23)[38]
  • 2nd place, World Juggling Championships (International Jugglers' Association, 2012)[39]
  • Top 40 Jugglers of the Year 2011 (#31)[40]
  • 1st place, three ball juggling world championships (International Jugglers' Association, 2011)[41]
  • 2nd place, three-person team club passing with teammates Peter Kaseman and Doug Sayers (International Jugglers' Association, 2011)[41]
  • Top 40 Jugglers of the Year 2010 (#24)[42]
  • 1st place, three ball juggling world championships (International Jugglers' Association, 2010)[43]
  • Winner, eXtreme Juggling competition, four ball category (International Jugglers' Association, 2010)[43]
  • 1st place, three-person team club passing with teammates Peter Kaseman and Doug Sayers (International Jugglers' Association, 2010)[43]
  • 2nd place, three-person team club passing with teammates Peter Kaseman and Alan Thompson (International Jugglers' Association, 2009)[44]
  • 1st place, three-person team club passing with teammates Alan Thompson and Carey Wagoner (International Jugglers' Association, 2008)[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.thomwall.com - Thom Wall's personal page
  2. ^ a b Insititution, Smithsonian. "The Juggling Genius of Paul Cinquevalli". Smithsonian Magazine. the Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Lisenby, Ashley. "St. Louisan juggles his way into spot with Cirque du Soleil show". stltoday.com. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  4. ^ "Meaning and expression in juggling". Object Episodes. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  5. ^ Sabersinfin TV (2015-11-26), Transmisión especial desde el 3er Festival Universitario de Circo (tercera parte), retrieved 2017-11-21
  6. ^ "An acrobat, a juggler and a justice of the peace". The Brattleboro Reformer. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  7. ^ "Brattleboro to Latvia: Circus artist to compete". The Brattleboro Reformer. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  8. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d1wv2LnQ8w
  9. ^ CirqueCast (2017-09-27), Live Interview/Q&A with Acrobat David Resnick | Episode 22, retrieved 2017-11-21
  10. ^ a b "New England Center for Circus Arts: Former coach inks contract with Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem'". The Brattleboro Reformer. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Thom Wall juggles it forward". The Brattleboro Reformer. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  12. ^ "Dinner and a Show Show ⋆ Thom Wall". Thom Wall. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  13. ^ "2017 Fringe Festival". Fringe Festival KC. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  14. ^ "Barn launching 'Traveling Light' show". Sun Journal. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  15. ^ a b ""Thom Wall prop inducted to Museum" - Brattleboro Reformer ⋆ Thom Wall". Thom Wall. 2017-09-19. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  16. ^ "Thom Wall juggles it forward". The Brattleboro Reformer. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  17. ^ Holzman, Dan. "Drop Everything Podcast". IJA eZine.
  18. ^ "Thom Wall Juggles - DrexelNow". DrexelNow. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  19. ^ Lisenby, Ashley (May 31, 2017). "St. Louisan juggles his way into Cirque du Soleil". St Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  20. ^ "IJA Programs - IRC." International Jugglers' Association. Accessed August 22, 2013.
  21. ^ a b "eJuggle - Video Tutorial Contest 2013!" International Jugglers' Association. Accessed August 22, 2013.
  22. ^ http://www.reformer.com/news/ci_25236042/thom-wall-juggles-it-forward-performer-who-credits
  23. ^ http://www.drexel.edu/now/archive/2012/August/Thom-Wall-Juggles/
  24. ^ "::GOLDEN KARL::". festivals.cirks.lv. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  25. ^ "Brattleboro to Latvia: Circus artist to compete". The Brattleboro Reformer. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  26. ^ a b "Juggling in Mexico: Brattleboro circus arts teacher recognized at festival". The Brattleboro Reformer. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  27. ^ "Periplo Desarrollo Cultura AC". Periplo Desarrollo Cultura AC. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  28. ^ Luke Burrage (2018-01-07), Luke reacts to the Top 40 Jugglers of 2017, retrieved 2018-01-07
  29. ^ a b "IJA eNewsletter, July 2017 - IJA". www.juggle.org. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  30. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M22bYjTWJw0
  31. ^ "[1]." Brattleboro Reformer. Accessed July 23, 2016.
  32. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEZiK3vYUus
  33. ^ "[2]." Brattleboro Reformer. Accessed February 3, 2015.
  34. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24eM7XE69wc
  35. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lmHEHZNY5U
  36. ^ "[3]." St Louis Post Dispatch. Accessed July 23, 2016.
  37. ^ "[4]." Kansas City Fringe Festival. Accessed August 7, 2014.
  38. ^ "Top 20 of 2012 - Part 3." Luke Burrage. Accessed August 22, 2013.
  39. ^ "Championships Results - 65th IJA Summer Festival." International Jugglers' Association. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  40. ^ "Top 40 Jugglers of 2011." Luke Burrage. Accessed August 22, 2013.
  41. ^ a b "IJA Championships - 64th Annual IJA Summer Festival", International Jugglers' Association. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  42. ^ "Top 40 Jugglers of 2010." Luke Burrage. Accessed August 22, 2013.
  43. ^ a b c "IJA Championships - 63rd IJA Summer Festival." International Jugglers' Association. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  44. ^ "IJA Championships - 62nd IJA Summer Festival." International Jugglers' Association. Accessed August 22, 2013.
  45. ^ "IJA Championships - 61st IJA Summer Festival." International Jugglers' Association. Accessed August 22, 2013.