Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dan Holzman

Name, how old are you, and for how long have you been juggling?

My name is Daniel Holzman, I am 46 years old, and I have been juggling for 33 years

At what point did you know that juggling was what you wanted to do, and would make up

a critical part of your life?

Four key moments in my development as a juggler that stand out pretty strongly in my memory are:

1) Learning to juggle from “The Juggling Book by Carlo”

2) Seeing Kris Kremo on TV when I was 14

3) Going to my first IJA convention in 1980,

4) Working my first gig with Barry as the Raspyni Brothers at the King Richard’s Faire in Kenosha, WI when I was 20.

To date, what is the most unusual thing or set of things that you have juggled?

One unusual set of props I use for a routine is a blowgun, battleaxe, and a head of cabbage. I also remember a very unusual job where we were hired to cut the clothes of a Playboy Playmate by passing knives around her.

You definitely need to give us a little bit more information about how that one turned out. Details!

This was for a variety/comedy show that was on the Playboy channel many years ago. The Playmate was dressed in cut away clothing that was held together by Velcro, the producer’s idea was for us to pass machetes around her, and hit invisible strings tied to the clothes causing it to be torn off piece by piece. Barry and I tried a couple of times without any success, we ended up just cutting the clothes off first, and then passing knives around the Playmate while she stood in the middle topless. Not a bad gig!

What has your juggling career entailed so far?

I’ve worked primarily as ½ of the Raspyni Brothers. We have done Renaissance fairs, revue shows, cruise ships, comedy clubs, colleges, TV shows, opening acts for numerous celebrities, street performing festivals, basketball halftimes, and corporate performances.

What would you consider your favorite venue to perform in having experienced so many different ones? Do you have to change your routine/material depending on where you are performing?

I have really enjoyed performing at the TED conferences in Montery. Barry and I have performed there 5 different times (our 2004 performance can be seen at The chance to interact with such a diverse group of intellectual and creative superstars is a one of a kind experience.

The answer to your second question is a definite yes, every venue has its own special requirements, and the ability to tailor your material to a specific crowd or situation is a very important one.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Winning two IJA team championships

Appearing three times on the Tonight Show (twice with Carson, once with Leno)

Performing for the President at Fords theatre in Washington, D.C.

Getting into the Guinness book of world records.

Doing my solo routine dropless in the IJA championships.

Receiving the Bobby May award, and the IJA Award of Excellence.

How many of each type of props do you juggle?

At my best I could do 7 balls, 5 clubs, and 6 rings. I don’t practice number juggling at all anymore.

How do you feel about the new push with young jugglers towards an emphasis on numbers juggling? Is it worth the time people put into it?

I think it’s great, the more young jugglers who put all their time into developing skills they will never be able to perform consistently on stage, while failing to learn how to make juggling entertaining to people who don’t care about juggling, the less competition I’ll have for jobs in the future.

Do you specialize in any auxiliary props or non juggling circus arts?

Tennis ball and can, Shaker cups, Golf ball bouncing on the face of a club, volcano ball, and a few other odds and ends.

Generally speaking, do you wear socks while you juggle?


At what types of venues do you usually perform?

Hotel Ballrooms

Anything amusing or unique ever happen at one of these shows?

Our show stays pretty loose, I would like to think something amusing or unique happens at every show we do.

Anything completely crazy stand out in your mind then? Aside from the Playmate incident of course.

We did a TV show that was shot on San Padre Island during Spring Break, the stage was set up on the beach, the college kids were already blasted out of their minds by 2:00 in the afternoon, and the wind was gusting at about 30 miles per hour. I remember being in the dressing room before the show wrapping the clubs in Gaffer’s tape to try to make them heavier so they wouldn’t blow around so much. The crowd welcomed us to the stage by chanting “You Suck, You Suck” I would like to say we were able to win the crowd over with our incredible wit and flawless juggling, but I am trying to make this interview as truthful as possible.

Are you a clown?

No, but I like good clowning. A few performers who come to mind are: Avner, Bill Irwin, and George Carl.

What makes up a standard juggling practice for you?

Hat, ball and cane, tennis can , cigar boxes, three balls, ect. I also like to work on tricks I plan to perform, for example I am currently working on a Cigar box knockout trick with a cactus on top, so, I will run through that a few times.

What is it that will make you want to pick up your props tomorrow and keep juggling?

I get inspired by thinking up unique show ideas, and watching great jugglers on the internet.

What goals are you currently working towards?

To finish out my performing career, and retire with plenty of money in the bank.

Which prop is your favorite to juggle? Any specific reasoning?

Tennis ball and can. I like it’s easy flowing nature, very little effort is needed because the props are so light (I use unfilled tennis balls)

Are there any specific jugglers that inspire you?

Anthony Gatto, Kris Kremo, Peter Davison, have all inspired me at different times, and in different ways.

I also like what Michael Karas, Wes Peden, Jay Gilligan, and the Peapot jugglers are doing to push the creative envelope of juggling.

Do you have any “claims to fame” in the juggling community?

Inventor of the Volcanoball, ½ of the Raspyni Brothers, Creator of the individual prop competition, public show director, and talking in a funny voice.

For those not as enlightened, what exactly is a “volcano” ball? How is it used?

It is an hourglass shaped tube that has holes cut out on the sides. There is a brief video of me demonstrating it on Youtube. I no longer make them, but I believe that Todd Smith still has some for sale

Where do you see yourself in terms of juggling in a month, a year, 10 years?

In a month, unless I get a gig too good to pass up, I will be at the IJA festival hanging out with my friends.

In a year I will be working as a professional juggler at corporate events, and working on new routines.

In 10 years I doubt I will still be performing, but I’m sure I will still love juggling, and be attending juggling events.

Art or Sport?

It can be both, neither, or a combination of the two

Balls, Beanbags, or Russians?

I started with green oranges, I was stoked to use silicon balls when they were first invented, now I use beanbags( I think they are called Gballz)

Gballz are fantastic, they sponsor me and are a great prop. Why did you make the switch from silicones to beanbags? A matter of feel, they way they look on stage?

When I was still working on 7, I got tired of chasing the silicones every time I dropped. I first switched to DX3 balls(is this the right name?) and then to the Gballz. I feel they are much easier for both practicing and performing then anything I’ve used so far. I still think Silicones are the best when it comes to bounce tricks, much better then the beanbags in my opinion.

I’m going to assume you mean “DX” balls and are just adding in PX3’s in the description. As for silicones being beater than beanbags for bouncing, I can see how you would feel that way. If there is one thing you would like the juggling community to know about you, what would it be?

I like to help people. I am always available to jugglers who are looking for advice, especially about performing and the crazy world of show business.

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