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Bounce -No- Bounce Balls

Where in the world am I today?: Mumbai then on to New Delhi, India.

Being in India has been great so far! My shows at the TTF & OTM Tourism Trade Show in Mumbai were a hoot and I was really interested to be in front of crowds in India because they seem to react differently than just about any other audiences I’ve performed for in the world. How? Well I felt like I was as much a curiosity as I was a performer. I gathered large crowds just about every show I did, but the spectators looked on with curiosity and reserve as opposed to the enthusiastic exchange I’ve encountered in other places in the world. I remember having this feeling when I first went to Japan too and over the course of about fifteen years and thousands of show in Japan I eventually figured out how to make my shows really work. Basically what it always comes back to is communication. If you can clearly communicate the basic rules of a game (ie your show) people will usually come along and play. I’ve based my career on this!

The other fun thing about my time in India (and this relates to the point above about communication) is that my employer, Derek Galpin from the CTC, is a guy I’ve worked for a number of times and he’s always pushing me to bring something new… The conversation usually goes something like this. What do you have that’s new for me this time around???

I’m well aware that this is coming before I even leave for one of these jobs and decided to swing by the local magic shop in Vancouver before I headed to India and picked up a set of Bounce -NO- Bounce Balls. I’d been aware of these from having seen other performers use them but had never really spent much time playing with them. I figured the six days of 5 – 8 shows a day would give me plenty of opportunities to play with these balls and experiment with what could be done with them while I was in India and I wasn’t disappointed.

The concept behind these balls is very simple. You have two one inch diameter black rubber balls that look identical – one bounces, the other hits the ground with a thud and doesn’t bounce at all. The simple presentation goes like this… Take the bouncy ball, bounce it a few times, then make the switch and hand the non-bouncy ball to the spectator to bounce… The expectation is that the ball will bounce and when it doesn’t, it gets a lovely reaction.

I had a lot of fun playing with this simple gag while I was in India because the rule of the game required so little explanation. I bounced the ball, I handed it to a spectator, they tried to bounce it, but it wouldn’t bounce. It was just a lovely bit of simple communication with a lovely unexpected outcome which played really well for as a crowd gathering bit.

I had made a note to myself a couple of months back to pick some of these up for the Piazza Sets that I do on Princess Cruises as this sort of gag would be ideally suited to that environment.

I’ve always sort of shied-away from putting too much magic into my show as I feel it’s a much different art form than what I’ve made a career out of, but I was surprised by how much fun I had with this little gag. As I left India I gave the set I bought to my employer because he enjoyed the gag so much too, so I’ll have to pick up another set when I get home, but I’ll happily make the purchase as I really did enjoy the fun of this simple idea and can see getting a lot of milage out of these as a crowd building bit in the right environments. Fun.

One Response to “Bounce -No- Bounce Balls”

  1. Hijinx says:

    The Bounce, No Bounce Balls … I’d love to try them but since I do so many kid’s parties I’m always afraid little Junior will get frustrated and toss the ball at a chandelier. But your post has given an idea … I may give it a shot. Thanks for an excellent blog! So excited to discover it today!

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