Under the Knife: Throws Up Juggling Club never drops the ball

Geneseo Throws Up Juggling Club is a great opportunity for a student looking to channel their inner juggling addiction. Started three years ago for students to juggle and play with others, it continues today with President Ray Hinton, a junior.

The club meets every Tuesday in Holcomb Cafeteria from 7-9 p.m. While the club doesn't exactly bring large crowds, there can be up to 10 people present on a good night.

"We basically get together and juggle," said senior Tim Ellis, former president of the group. "People learn and show off."

The club is open to jugglers of any level, including those with no experience. "I've taught people how to juggle with three balls within fifteen minutes," said Ellis. Ellis practices a form of juggling called diabolo. It involves juggling and manipulating cigar boxes, rings, balls, clubs and yo-yos, along with balancing, ball spinning and riding unicycles.

"We [jugglers] are just a bunch of big kids who like to play with toys and swear and throw stuff," said Ellis.

In the past, the club has performed for sororities, clubs, and Residence Life and Union programs. The acts can range from five minutes if performing solo and up to 20 minutes if the performer has partners and crowd participation. A mere five-minute act can take hours upon hours of practice to develop, Ellis said.

Throws Up travels to various juggling festivals throughout the year that take place in places as far away as Wisconsin, Ohio and New York City and Quebec City. On the group's itinerary for next week: Rochester Institute of Technology's annual "Juggle In" festival.

At the festivals, there is typically a daytime show that people buy tickets to, while at nighttime there's a "renegade." The renegade is open to anyone who wants to show off his or her juggling skills, whether he or she is talented or not.

Ellis recalled a performer who balanced a 10-foot pole in his hand while stripping down to just a sock. He said that the usual protocol for a renegade involves stripping off clothing.

YouTube is a prime hot spot to be discovered as a juggler. "We take cameras and film ourselves and put it on YouTube," Ellis said. "People will come up to us at festivals and say 'Oh my gosh you're the guy who can do that trick - you're fantastic!' It's a great way to be recognized and it's fun to film and produce the videos."

Ellis's girlfriend, a fellow juggler, has even received a job offer from the Discovery Channel after the company found her YouTube video.

For those who are talented, juggling can become a career.

"People start juggling because it looks like fun, but then they become talented and make money and perform," said Ellis.

After graduation, Dave Kaplan, the former president and creator of the Juggling Club, moved out to Los Angeles, where he did some street performances. Within 10 days, Kaplan made enough money to pay for a year of college tuition.

Videos of Juggling Club members can be found on YouTube by searching "Geneseo Juggling."