Whenever Darren and I are trying to make a decision, one of Darren favorite reasons to give for doing something is that it would be "more professional." For some reason, that always bugs me. With this post, I am going to try and explain(figure out) why that is. I am not trying to make the argument that it would be better to be less professional, I am only explaining why saying that plan A seems more professional than plan B is not enough of a reason to choose plan A.
Typically I think of two things when it comes to being a professional juggler. First I think of jugglers telling the same old corny jokes like blaming a drop on a sudden burst of gravity. Second I think of big stunt-like tricks like number juggling or danger acts. Now, there is a place for both those things in juggling, but I've always wanted to focus on different areas of juggling. When I hear professional, it kind of feels like I am supposed to pretend to be like the stereotypical juggler. To best illustrate how the idea of being professional can get turned into pretending to be something you are not, watch Cool Runnings. As Derice is trying to make the team more professional, Sanka reminds him the best they can be is Jamacan, so they don't need to try and by like the Swiss.
Even though acting more professionally doesn't have to mean acting like everyone else, it definitely involves trying to do the best possible job. When it comes to juggling I would rather do something different than do something good. Ideally, acts would be both different and good, but if I had to choose one I would pick different. I wouldn't just pick this when it comes to performing, I would also rather watch something new and different even if it wasn't as good. I have maintained for a while that removing all the drops from our show wouldn't make it significantly better. Even if we had 20 drops in a show, I still don't think that the drops would be the thing that an audiance member would remember from the show. Conversely, when we put something new in the show, we always have a few people come up after the show and say how impressed they are that we always have something new. I can't remember anyone ever saying something like "nice job, you had less drops this time than the last time I saw you." Obviously this all could be taken too far, too many drops could destroy a show, and obviously it is important to keep practicing and perfecting old skills. However, there is that old Chesterton quote, "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." I think thinking up and learning new things is worth doing even if they don't always turn out being all that great.
Finally, I think that being a "professional" implys being in another class from the amatuers and normal people. I think one of the coolest things about us is the lack of seperation from us and our audience. After our shows we amost always have people come up and try out our props. I don't think I have ever been to a show besides our own where a whole swarm of kids came up and tried to juggle afterwards. Even as a juggler, I would feel strange asking a performer I just saw to let me try something out. Now we always tell people to come on up to try stuff at the end of the show, but originally we just had people coming up and asking about props without prompting. I think this is because instead of coming across as professional jugglers we came across as just two guys who like to juggle, and sometimes, that can be a good thing. :)
I really like the picture found for this post, but it probably won't make sense unless I explain it. First off, it has an egg even though "kissin' an egg is no kind of style." Second, the egg is bouncing to show that dropping is not that big of a problem. Finally, it is just a sketch instead of a more professionally finished image.
The K in the DKers