Saturday, February 26, 2011

And the Juggling takes over....

Following the Juggling Convention, which was a terrific experience.... borderline life-changing for the crew who attended, the Junior College has begun to learn their own juggling skills.

Year 9 Drama had their first lesson last week on balancing, and on spinning plates.  On Friday, they began to juggle.  While the task is hard at first, they totally rocked it.  By the end of the hour, most of the class had completed at least 3 throws and catches.  Well done!

At this rate, we will be ready to really rock out the Juggling Convention in 2012.

Dylan, totally keeping his cool during the process

Harder than Miri and Brad initially thought it would be

Hirini's unique style with scarves

Toyah focussing on 3 scarves

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

As Appeared in the Times Age Today

Kuranui clowns...with class

Class act: Kuranui College drama pupil Dan Carlisle juggles 
(blunted) knives for news cameras as part of the only secondary school 
group to join with about 200 circus entertainers.

Class Act: Kuranui College drama pupil Dan Carlisle juggles (blunted) knives for news cameras as part of the only secondary school group to join with about 200 circus entertainers. Photo / Supplied

A class of Kuranui College clowns - perfecting their high-wire hoopla, juggling, jostling and other death-defying acts of daring do - stole the show at the 19th New Zealand Juggling Convention in Levin at the weekend.

The 12-strong troupe, led by Kuranui College head of arts Juanita McLellan, travelled to the town last Thursday night and spent the entire weekend storming the big top as the only secondary school group to attend of more than 200, mostly professional, circus and juggling entertainers from New Zealand and abroad.

The students, who began a circus arts unit early last year, leapt before triple-somersaulting at the chance to rub elbows and oversized shoes with seasoned three-ring veterans, Ms McLellan said.
"We're the first class to have gone to the convention as a school trip and were far and away the most inexperienced - so the opportunity to learn from professionals just couldn't be missed."

The focus of the convention, she said, was the capture of new skills, tips and tricks, the enhancement of individual acts through actual performances and peer mentoring.

Ms McLellan said the Wairarapa troupe focused on juggling - balls, clubs, scarves, plates and knives - but also attended workshops involving a slack rope, firestaffs, devil sticks, and the "borderline burlesque of tissu" (aerial contortion using ribbons of parachute silk) among an array of specialist performance skills.

Some members of the group also passed on their basic juggling skills to children at Fairfield Primary School, which "consolidated what our kids were learning as they taught".

A comely Kuranui clownette was chosen to play "beautiful assistant" to a chainsaw juggler and another student honed his knife-juggling skills for network news cameras and viewing audiences throughout the country, Ms McLellan said.

The class had already, as part of their theatre form study, attended a Swedish circus last year, she said, and have also passed a studious eye over carnival legends Cirque du Soleil.

"Levin was very cool.
A privilege, without a doubt, and an immensely rewarding learning experience."

A quick lesson in juggling: Use only high quality balls; preferably weighing 100 grams each. Start with a single ball, and persist. Toss and catch without fault, then transfer the ball smoothly from hand to hand before moving on to two and three balls. Mastery of the basic art should take no more than 20 minutes although bowling balls, sharp knives and putt-putting chainsaws should never be attempted without professional assistance.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One News - Juggling Convention

Here is the One News report about the Juggling Convention:

One News Link

Watch for Zoe with the Contact Balls and Dan juggling knives.

Juggling Convention Quick Update

Well, after 4 hectic days of being mad and crazy, we are totally back!

The weather was WONDERFUL, we could not have asked for more.  Heading to Levin on Thursday, we arrived at 11:00am and set up the tents.  It was as much a comic routine as any other activity we did.

We also headed out to Fairfield School, and ran a Circus workshop, which was wonderful.  Jasmine and Oliver were huge hits, as was Dan (who scared the teachers with knives).  Our students all performed in the Renegade show, which showcases the performers in the Convention.  We heard Ukulele songs, Jasmines scarf routine, and Dan's knives.... later seen on TV1.

We even had the chance to Stage Manage the professional show, which was such a learning curve, but a great experience.  In the Fire Show, Anthony Faafoi demonstrated his skill with the flaming staff, similar to Samoan fire dance, impressing a lot of people.

In the Olympics, we took out 2 trophies.  Dan and Ryan (from the USA) won the 3 legged juggling race, and Anthony was the wheelbarrow in the winning trio in the Juggling Wheelbarrow race.

We will link some of the ol' links of the weekend as we find them, and as the thousands of photographs appear around the internet.

Dan Carlisle being filmed for One News

Jasmine's Scarf Routine in the Renegade Show

The Toss

Anthony in the Fire Show

In related news, Juanita McLellan has become a member of the New Zealand Juggling Association Committee, and will be helping to organise the 2012 Convention.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

School is rolling along....

Phew!  It is Week 3 already!  Crazy...

We are underway with the year, and things are progressing nicely.

Stage Challenge

The Year 13 girls are working on Stage Challenge at the moment.  They have a terrific concept, and will be choreographing the dance sequences to their chosen music at the moment.  They are currently taking names for people wanting to be in the chorus as dancers.  Later they will be asking for backstage and lighting crew.


We are working on our 15 minute Othello scene, and will be calling for extras shortly.  The competition is in April, and we will be performing in March at Kuranui.  The Senior Drama students are all competing to represent Kuranui at the Regional competition, so Shakespeare is the main focus in Drama at the moment.

Circus Troupe

We are also off on our camp at the National Juggling Championships on Thursday.  We will be heading out to Fairfield Primary School and teaching a workshop there as well.  On Saturday, we are running a public workshop teaching beginner juggling skills.  It should be fantastic.  Watch this space for updates.


The Senior Rockquest boys are seeking a vocalist for their band.  See Dom, Jack, James or Tom for details.  Ms Webster has also be auditioning for a junior band.  She hopes to put a Jazz band together this year as well.

Glee Club

We had over 35 people audition for Glee last week, and the first rehearsal is today at lunch.  They look to be amazing.  We have some very talented students in the school.  It is not too late to sign up for Glee..... in fact, over 50 showed up for the first rehearsal today!


The Visual Art students are working hard to complete the murals for the Turf area, which should be set up in the coming week.

There will be a lot more coming up, so keep an eye on the school notices or in Korero for details.... or on this blog of course.