May Balls


Various May Ball and other event committees seem to be of the opinion that having jugglers at their events would be quite a cool thing. CUJA often receives requests from event organisers wanting jugglers to provide entertainment. Often the organisers don’t know what’s possible, and newcomers can find performing to an audience a bit daunting. This is where we can help…

If you’re Organising an Event

CUJA does not generally organise groups of jugglers to perform at events, but we do maintain a mailing list of individuals who are interested in such opportunities. We have compiled a page of advice for those wanting to hire jugglers, which we recommend you read first. Then you should email for details of how to post to our mailing list. The advice can be found here.

If you’re Interested in Performing at an Event

CUJA provides an email list for people interested in juggling at May Balls and other events. The requests we receive from organisers wanting jugglers for their events are sent to this list. The list can also be used for discussions between people arranging groups to perform. To be placed on this mailing list, get in touch with the Secretary. You will probably find it useful to read our advice for event organisers, but the more important points, together with some additional tips, are given below.

More advice for Performers

In general May Ball organisers are looking for people to juggle continuously for and hour or two. This can be quite tiring, so be sure to insist on regular breaks. Also bear in mind that the Balls happen primarily at night, so make sure that you can juggle reliably in poor lighting conditions. With this in mind, fire clubs and glow equipment will be much more successful.

The most important thing to remember in any kind of performance is maximal effect for minimal effort. Keep to simple things which you can do reliably, and which will look almost as good to the average person. The secret is to find ways of making your performance more impressive without it being any more difficult. Some options include:

  • Using juggling knives or fire clubs instead ordinary clubs. These are not that much more difficult to juggle, but look much better.
  • Dressing up. You don’t have to go as far as wearing a special costume; just wearing something bright and colourful (perhaps a waist-cost), or making sure that you’re co-ordinated with any other people juglging will make your act look much more professional.
  • Getting the audience involved. If you’re entertaining a slow moving queue, you can get people to walk though four-count passing, or even stay in the middle while you juggle round them. There are bound to be some blokes who don’t want to appear chicken in front of their dates!

Occasionally, May Balls may wish you to put on a short show or routine. This will require a lot of preparation and co-ordination, and the overall effect may not be worth the extra hassle. If you are going to require music or lighting, make sure that the organisers know exactly what you require well in advance. At a previous May Ball, adequate lighting and a sound system consisted of a couple of blinding spotlights and a portable stereo which could barely be heard!