Artists of Note: Françoise Rochais

This week’s juggling inspiration is French juggler Françoise Rochais, who displays amazing talents juggling with batons. She is the only person I’ve heard of juggling as many as seven batons at once.

But more than that, she creates beautiful and unique acts incorporating other non-traditional juggling props like parasols and tennis rackets. Her distinguished style shines brightly in performances that exhibit not just impeccable juggling technique, but style and grace to go with.

Photo by Brian Miller © 2007.

If you haven’t noticed, jugglers aren’t always the most graceful bunch.

However, given the rise of contemporary circus acts seamlessly incorporating dance and fluidity into their acts — and a history of artists like Francis Brunn and Eva Vida elevating the art form with their elegance —  we might be in for a regime change.

For contemporary examples, look no further than Svetlana Zueva, Bekka Rose and Anni Küpper. There are so many more folks to include on this list that I might have to redact that ‘jugglers aren’t graceful’ line.

Nevertheless, it’s important for jugglers and circus artists in general to have role models with the poise, charm and amazing technical juggling skills Françoise possesses.

Françoise has an impressive track record of performing at festivals and events around the world. More recently, she has worked as ‘Francesca’ in the circus duo ‘Elastic and Francesca,’ exhibiting her physical comedy and clowning skills in addition to her juggling prowess.

To celebrate Françoise’s juggling, learn a simple baton twirl! Holding a baton (or stick) with your arm to your front and your knuckles upward, turn your wrist first inward, then outward, following the motion of the baton inside your arm, then outside. The more you practice it, the more natural and free-flowing it will feel. Just think “Françoise” as you twirl and you’ll be on your way to winning a juggling pageant in no time 🙂 For video guidance, see the ‘vanilla/chocolate scoop’ 40 seconds into this video.