In any field, there are names of those whose contributions added to its glory. Similarly, in the field of juggling, there were and are many prominent performance artists that have helped this magnificent connection between sport and art to develop, thrive and find its place in changing societies throughout the world. Amongst the countless, here are our 15 most famous individuals skillfully juggling balls in Australia and the world – from the past to the present.
Dr. Reg Bolton (*1945 – 2006)
Dr. Reg Bolton was a celebrated juggler of his time and beyond. He was originally from Margaret, England and broke a world record for ‘joggling’ in 1988 – running the full marathon distance of 42.195 km while juggling three balls. Every marathon runner would know how remarkable this achievement is.
Famously known as ‘Dr. Circus’, he produced street theatre shows, developed children’s circus shows. He travelled the world performing his family shows, which were also directed by him. He wrote four books, including Circus in a Suitcase.
The Space Cowboy (*1978)
Chayne Hultgren, also called The Space Cowboy, is one of the best street jugglers from Byron Bay, Australia. He has performed in over 40 countries and holds 55 Guinness World Records some of which relate to juggling including the Guinness World Record for most chainsaw juggling catches on an electric unicycle. He also holds the Guinness World Record for the highest throw and catch of a chainsaw while juggling (3.59 m).
- Official Website: https://www.thespacecowboy.com/
Watch his profile on Guinness World Records’ official YouTube channel:
Anthony Gatto (*1973)
Anthony Gatto is a famous American juggler and circus performer. He was the first juggler to be awarded the Golden Clown in the 24th International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo in 2000.
He holds numerous juggling world records including the Guinness World Records for most clubs juggled and another one for most flaming torches juggled. For this particular record, his name appeared in the Guinness World Record 2021 book. He also holds the duration record for 7 clubs which he juggled continuously for 4 minutes and 23 seconds.
Watch this stunning juggling performance of Anthony Gatto when touring with the famous Cirque du Soleil:
Jason Garfield (*1974)
Jason Garfield is from Norfolk, Connecticut, United States, and known for both his juggling talent and unpopular opinions. He has participated in several juggling competitions, street performances and since 2004 he produces juggling events.
Juggling for him is more than just entertainment he considers it as a sport, too! Hence, in 2003, he founded the World Juggling Federation. A first of its kind for juggling. He has achieved several awards in juggling including Numbers Competition Winner in three categories Solo Balls, Clubs, and Rings at the IJA Summer Festival 2000.
- Official Website: https://www.jasongarfield.com/
Here’s a video where Jason Garfield is performing with 7 balls in his unique style:
Philippe Petit (*1949)
Philippe Petit is a highly regarded French street performer, an exceptional high-wire artist and a famous juggler. He achieved the unbelievable in 1974, when he did a tightrope walk between Manhattan’s Twin Towers. A movie has also been made on his incredible achievement — The Walk. He is also highly passionate about magic and juggling. His passion for juggling was such that it was one of the reasons why he got expelled from five different schools. This is how he expressed his passion for hire-wire walking and juggling: “I see three oranges and I have to juggle. I see two towers and I have to walk.”
Watch this news coverage on his historic tightrope walk between the twin towers from 1974:
Enrico Rastelli (*1896 – 1931)
Enrico Rastelli, an Italian juggler, is a significant name in the field of juggling. He was often cited as the greatest juggler who performed live at The Scala in 1928. His family was into a circus, and at an early age, he too started to learn various circus skills. Amongst all the skills he learnt, juggling remained his top choice. He was highly dedicated to juggling and with his strong diligence, he mastered it. He performed at the circus and theatres and with time his popularity grew.
Enrico Rastelli’s indistinguishable juggling proficiency is vividly captured in this video:
Delaney Bayles (*1998)
Delaney Bayles, an American juggler, is a Circadium School of Contemporary Circus graduate. She is one of the best female jugglers of the current time. In 2014, she was a three-time world record holder in joggling. She has also won several awards in juggling including IJA Teams Gold Medal 2019, and WJF Advanced Champion 2016. She has performed at Melbourne Juggling Convention, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and many more. As a performer, she aims to “translate feeling through motion”.
- Official Website: https://www.delaneybayles.com/
Watch this video of Delaney Bayles’ practice exhibition at World Juggling Federation 12 and witness her mastery of juggling:
Taylor Glenn (*1990)
Taylor Glenn is an American juggler who is popularly known as Taylor Tries. She is one of the most famous current female jugglers. She shares videos centred on juggling on her Instagram account and YouTube channel — Taylor Tries. Taylor started to juggle at the age of 12 and speaks of picking juggling back up again after years at the lowest point of her life in one of her videos about how juggling helps her depression.
She has a strong social media presence on both Instagram and YouTube where she shares juggling tutorials alongside her own raw experiences. Her popularity seems to be increasing day by day! This is how Taylor describes juggling — “It’s meditative. It’s calming.”
Kenny Cheung (*)
Kenny Cheung is a well-known Australian juggler. He started to juggle in 2008 and in 2016 he became the first-ever Australian juggler to juggle 8 clubs. He won a gold medal at the World Juggling Championships in Las Vegas.
In an interview with International Jugglers’ Association, he has shared that along with performing at events he is also passionate about teaching children. He mainly does traditional juggling and likes to push the limits in technical juggling.
- Official Website: https://www.kennyjuggling.com/
- YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/user/kennyjuggling
Watch Kenny’s remarkable achievement of juggling 8 clubs:
Xiong Yiliao (~600 BC)
Xiong Yiliao is a significantly distinguished name in the field of juggling. His story of juggling is extraordinarily rare! Ever heard of a warrior using the art of juggling in a war to divert the rivals’ minds? Xiong Yiliao was that warrior.
It happened in the battle between two Chinese states, Chu and Song, in around 603 BC. Xiong Yiliao was a Chu warrior. What he did in the war is forever to be remembered. He stepped out and started to juggle in front of his rivals. With his extraordinary skill, he mesmerised the rivals and diverted their mind. They were so mesmerised that the Chu army carried out an attack utilising the advantage Xiong had given them. Xiong Yiliao’s juggling story is extraordinary in every sense!
Earl Shatford (*)
Earl Shatford is one of the famous Australian jugglers known for his unique and innovative ways of juggling and has been juggling for more than 30 years. He was a performer at the Flying Fruit Fly Circus and he was also a guest performer at The Great Moscow Circus in 1994. He always strives to bring variety in his juggling performances such as juggling 7 rings with a head ball bounce. In 2016, he designed and made a prop, which he named Kara Box ‘Swearl’ trick.
He was trained by juggling legend Albert Petrovski in 1992. On his Instagram account, he shared a gratitude post where he wrote, “This was the man responsible for my juggling technique”. Earl was also a judge at the International Jugglers’ Association Oceanic Region in Melbourne in 2018 and he is mentioned in a history book of juggling — Juggling, The Past, and Future.
Michael Ferreri (*1996)
Michael Ferreri is one of the best jugglers of the current time. He is from Spain and holds 15 Guinness World Records in juggling including the most 360-degree spins while juggling four objects in one minute. He presented his first juggling act at the age of 12 at the circus — Cirkus Merano. His juggling journey began at the age of 17, and he was awarded the medal of Bronze at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris in 2014. He continued to win several more awards, including the Bronze Bear 2020 at the 13th International Festival of Circus Arts in Izhevsk in Russia.
For his incredible achievements in juggling, Michael is also part of the 2021 Guinness World Records book.
- Official Website: http://www.ferrerijuggler.com/
- YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/channel/UCXH0XWE4_F0un5Z5afxtWQQ
David Rush (*)
David Rush is again another one of the famous jugglers of the current time. He is an entertainer, author, speaker, and Senior Product Manager at a technology company. He is from Boise, Idaho, United States, and holds an incredibly number of Guinness World Records: 200! They include the record for the most juggling catches on a unicycle (blindfolded) and, for the most juggling catches on a Swiss ball in one minute (three balls), plus many more.
Here’s a link to a video of him showcasing his incredible juggling skill — https://youtu.be/zmClgBBhOlo
- Official Website: https://davidrush4stem.com/
- YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/c/DavidRushRecordBreaker
Gena Shvartsman (1983)
Gena Shvartsman is one of the best female jugglers. She was born in Russia and moved to the United States at the age of 8 and was taught juggling by her father. In one of her Instagram posts she has expressed what fuels her passion for juggling and that is: the challenging nature of it. She has performed at various circus shows and she won a gold medal at the World Juggling Federation Champions in Las Vegas and a silver medal at the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo. For her, juggling is “a never-ending art form”.
Here’s a video of her exceptional juggling skills shared on the official YouTube channel of World Juggling Federation:
Neils Duinker (*1985)
Neils Duinker, from the Netherlands, is one of the most famous comedy jugglers of the current time. At 12, Neils began his journey in the juggling field in a Rotterdam youth circus. He has been juggling for more than 20 years now and has done countless performances – performed at theatres, circus shows, corporate events, and the list goes on. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive arm rolls in one minute and the most shaker cups juggled.
He has a solid social media presence. Some of his YouTube videos have over a hundred thousand views. In an interview with International Jugglers’ Association, he has shared what his top accomplishment by far is in juggling. For him, that is living life in the way he dreamt of ever since his childhood. He further shared his contentment with what he does, and that he doesn’t wish to “do anything else!”
- Official Website: https://www.comedyjuggler.com/
- YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/c/NielsDuinkerJuggler
Is it possible to count the number of jugglers who added glory to the field of juggling? Absolutely not. That list is never-ending. This article comprises only 15 famous jugglers amongst the countless. Let us know in the comment section if you could spot your favourite juggler in the list? If not, mention who your favourite juggler is.
How do you want to start your individual juggling journey? Read about 7 Exciting Options to Learn How to Juggle in Australia.