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World Record Holder Comes to Chicago

It really all started when Philadelphia-based Luther Bangert wanted to share the beauty of juggling and movement in his work. He said, “it’s an endless fascination with just the permutations and possibilities within juggling.” You can always make it harder by changing the pattern, adding and subtracting objects, and incorporating movement. There’s the joy and exhilaration of “building new vocabularies but deepening the possibilities of movement choreography and dance.”

Bangert got his start in juggling when he saw his camp counselor balance a ladder on his chin while juggling three balls. He was particularly fascinated by the concept of balancing things on his face; only later did he get “carried away” with the juggling, and eventually adding in movement as well. He would go to perform in the Great Bombay Circus in India, perform in twelve countries, and currently teaches and performs juggling at the Circadium School of Contemporary Circus.

On top of that, he currently shares the Guinness World Record for “Most Things Juggled Whilst Sword Swallowing” (but he said he does not sword swallow anymore).

For the festival, he is performing Distillations, which he explains is a multimedia experimental juggling and dance piece. It’s his first solo full length show. During the pandemic, when there was a lot of downtime, Bangert could think more about space and scale with juggling. “Working with video projection throughout the show, I’m trying to contrast with the live performance,” he explained.

Thanks to an Iowa Arts Council Grant and the National Endowment of Arts, Bangert premiered the piece last May at an outdoor film series. For CCPAF, it’ll be his first time performing the work inside. The show is more high tech than he’s used to in his juggling performances but he explained that he was designing the show to fit in different locations.

For the festival, Bangert said he’s looking forward to sharing the show with people. “I hope that people come and see something they didn't imagine at all or see juggling done in a way that they would never have thought about,” he said.

Come and see Luther Bangert’s Distillations along with Dinder Bros Circus’ Don’t Try This at Home in the Double Feature on both Saturday March 11, 12:45-2:15 and Sunday March 12th from 2-3pm.


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