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Check out these Cups.

Where in the world am I today?: North Vancouver, BC, Canada

A few weeks ago when I was down in Seattle hanging out with Matt Baker he showed me the nicest looking shaker cups I’d seen in years. The cups are available from The Juggling Arts Website and as the website indicates they’re made out of Aircraft aluminum which is a nice buzz word I guess. The point that Matt made that struck me though was that the were very hard to dent. Matt’s cups were the blue color and it looked like the paint was a powder coating. No idea how long he’d had his cups, but they had started to chip a bit… I don’t think any paint is really designed to take the sort of abuse that throwing shaker cups around gives to the surface – but this paint seemed to be holding up fairly well. The most noticeable area of chipping was around the lips of the cups which take the bulk of the abuse if the cups get dropped.

Now I’ve got to admit that I’m not a hugely proficient shaker cup manipulator though I have posed for a few moves for my friend Todd Strong who writes for the Teach In column in Juggle Magazine as well as for use on his website, so I’m reasonably familiar with a few different prop maker’s take on shaker cups. After having a good look at the Juggling Arts website I also tracked down a nice comparative review on-line of three of the primary manufactures. Actually this website provides all sorts of information about the art of shaker cup manipulation, but this section was the part that caught my eye –

The Dube cups are taller and narrower than the other manufacturers, which makes them more similar to real cocktail shaker cups. It also makes it harder to do several moves, especially throwing two or more cups from another cup. They are also made of aluminum, which rubs off on your hands, and leaves the cups looking dull and defeated in no time at all.

The Jenack cups are wider and shorter, which makes some tricks decidedly easier. Unfortunately they too are made of aluminum, and although I can’t speak from personal experience, they don’t hold up as well as they should.

The Juggling Arts shaker cups are similar to the Jenack cups in shape, but are made from a metal alloy, which holds up much better. These cups haven’t been on the market for as long as the other two, so I guess the jury is still out, but they’re clearly the best of the three. The also cost more, but if you start out with aluminum cups, you’ll end up rebuying them, or getting alloy cups eventually. Plus, Dick Franco is now using these cups, so who needs my endorsement?

I’ve used the Jenack cups for years, but they’re apparently hard to come by these days, so that the Juggling Arts is making a cup that’s a similar shape and a bit more robust was exciting news to me as I may need to replace my cups fairly soon and I really didn’t want to go the Dubé route…

Anyway – for those who use shaker cups or are considering them as a prop, my recommendation would be to check out the cups offered by The Juggling Arts.

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