Celebrating just more than 30 years of performing together, the Mud Bay Jugglers’ act has more juggling than ever.
At their anniversary show Saturday, the trio will balance joking and singing while keeping things in the air.
“The group was known for silent performing,” said Harry Levin, who’s been with the jugglers since 1995. “We performed accompanied by music but no talking, no lyrics, no singing.”
But older jugglers, it seems, can learn new tricks: This time around, there’ll be a couple of full musical numbers in the show, which also features the Juggling Jollies and music by the Tune Stranglers.
Levin, who plays stand-up bass with the Stranglers when he’s not juggling, developed the musical numbers, including one based on the classic 1920s “Knock-Knock Song.”
“Our juggling style is so choreographed to music that it made sense,” he said. “Now we are choreographing words to the music, too.”
The touring jugglers are based in Olympia and perform about 40 times a year. The every-five-year anniversary shows are in Olympia, offering a relatively rare chance to see their work locally. The 25th anniversary show sold out.
“We’ll b e around here and there, but mainly we tour further away from home,” said Doug Martin, one of the founding members of the group along with Alan Fitzthum. “It seems to be one of the things that happens with small performing-arts groups like us: You end up getting more money and more work away from home.”
Saturday’s show is a benefit for Encore Arts, a nonprofit that connects young people with arts opportunities and provides small grants to youth arts organizations. Inspired by that mission, the jugglers are theming the show around generations.
“Children are what will change the world eventually,” Martin said. “They will be our future.”
And that theme fits close to home, too. One of the Juggling Jollies is Martin’s son Amiel Abadi-Martin.
“Probably the most exciting thing we’ve done in the last five years has been to continue to work with the next generation of jugglers,” Martin said. “It’s a multi-generational show.”
Although there’s a new generation in the spotlight, the Mud Bay Jugglers aren’t going anywhere.
“I love juggling as a collaboration, something you do with other people,” Martin said. “I don’t get tired of that ... juggling with my juggling partners is like a sport. It’s a game that always has new dimensions and new challenges. I picture myself doing it right up into my 80s,” he added. “I’m going to try.”