What do you get when you toss together nine jugglers, 80 apples, and four crockery sets? “Smashed,” a tea party you’ll never forget, created by Gandini Juggling, the thinking person’s jugglers. Nine well-dressed, perfectly respectable young people take the stage and, under the guise of a quaint afternoon tea, engage in the dark art of juggling. Inspired by the work of Pina Bausch, the Gandinis display a virtuosic blend of skills, precision, and theatricality that leaves the audience breathless, while the performers remain as cool as cucumber sandwiches. Created in 1992 by renowned juggler Sean Gandini and champion gymnast Kati Ylä-Hokkala, Gandini Juggling is at the vanguard of the explosive contemporary circus scene. According to The Guardian, [“Smashed”] is as terrifyingly vicious as it is funny.”
Alexander Kasser Theater
Share your First Impressions of Smashed with Sean Gandini, Kati Ylä-Hokkala, and Arts + Cultural Programmings’ Executive Director, Jedediah Wheeler.
The Mathematics of Juggling: An Interactive Exhibit by Montclair State Students
Alexander Kasser Theater Lobby
Mathematics in Unexpected Places
Alexander Kasser Theater
Sean Gandini joins Montclair State University professors Mika Munakata and Ashwin Vaidya to discuss creativity in science and mathematics and the connections between mathematics, juggling and art. In this interactive experience, attendees will also participate in hands-on activities and conversation to discover the play and creativity in the sciences, then engage with multimedia and presentations developed by Montclair State University students during the Fall 2018 semester.
Formed in 1992 by world-renowned jugglers Sean Gandini and Kati Ylä-Hokkala, Gandini Juggling continues to be at the vanguard of contemporary circus, reinventing and reinvigorating juggling for the 21st Century.
Since their inception the Gandinis have performed over 5,000 shows in 50 countries.They continue to perform at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals and venues throughout the world. These venues range from Contemporary art museums in Franceto Opera houses in Germany, from theatres in Lebanon to tents in Argentina. Closer to home the Gandinis can be seen performing at the UK’s major outdoor festivals and theatre houses including London’s Royal Opera House, The Royal National Theatre, and in 2016 a collaboration with the English National Opera and Philip Glass.In creating their work Gandini Juggling collaborate with a wide range of cultural leaders, initially teaming up with the pioneering and influential dance artist and choreographer Gill Clarke. The Gandini’s continue to be influenced by a range of disciplines, which include amongst others, composers, ballet choreographers, fashion designers, computer programmers, sound designers, set makers and mathematicians. They have spent several seasons working with symphonic orchestras, choreographing juggling patterns lightly meshed to canonical classical works and have had music specially composed for them by leading composers Tom Johnson and Nimrod Borenstein.
In addition to performing, Gandini Juggling are very much in demand at leading circus schools. Teaching workshops, creating performances and supporting the next generation of circus artists Alongside this, Gandini publish their own books and DVDs, continuing to support the wider understanding of the beautiful possibilities of juggling, for jugglers and non-jugglers alike.
The Gandini’s have an insatiable thirst for making juggling pieces and a fiery desire to collaborate, communicate and provoke. They aim to reposition juggling as a versatile, engaging and malleable art form for our times by engaging in a complex dialogue with the audience, demanding the viewers’ engagement, transcending cultural barriers and stimulating imaginations. All whilst assuming a mutual maturity and imbuing the viewer with a questioning intelligence.
The Gandini’s journeys have always been countercurrent, an individual voice in the global circus scene, with quotidian risk-taking and fearless upturns. 30 productions and 23years later, Gandini Juggling are creating some of the most vibrant and challenging performance pieces in the world.
Sean Gandini is one of the world’s leading juggling creators. He has been devising,teaching, and enthusing about all facets of juggling for two decades. As well as runningGandini Juggling, he has taught at Britain’s two circus schools, Circus Space in Londonand Circomedia in Bristol. In addition, he holds international master classes on the neraspects of juggling. He was a guest teacher at the Laban Centre for ContemporaryDance and continues to teach master classes all over Europe, North and South-America.Over the last twenty years, Sean has toured and performed in 25 countries, organizedjuggling performances for the Millennium Dome 2000 celebrations, advised on a SalmanRushdie adaptation at the National Theatre, appeared in a Hollywood movie and madecommercials for Japanese and South African television. Within the company, Sean hasbeen involved in over 1,000 juggling performances and made six touring shows, to date.He is a regular contributor to all juggling magazines, appeared in the BBC2 programme‘The Mathematics of Juggling’ and has released numerous videos on technical aspects of juggling.
An ex-rhythmic gymnast, Kati’s juggling has a unique calm and precision which comes from decades of throwing whilst standing on one leg. For the last 21 years, with her partner Sean Gandini, Kati has run Gandini Juggling both as a company co-director and as an assistant director sharing the overall artistic vision of the company. As well as performing in all the company’s shows, Kati has worked as an assistant director on a number of past, present and future projects including Nightclubs, Smashed and CLØWNS & QUEENS, and the 4x4Ephemeral Architectures, Sigma, Spring and Wagner in the Garden.As a solo artist, Kati has performed in Ra Ra Zoo’s production “Gravity Swing”, “LacticAcid” (Generating Company), in a production of The Royal Opera House of “The BarteredBride” and at the International Jugglers Association Festival at Niagara Falls, USA. Katihas appeared in several television adverts including Anadin, Vodaphone, Uniqlo, Ribena, Take a Break magazine and on numerous television shows.Kati is equally talented as a teacher and a workshop leader. She has taught at L’Ecole National de Cirque de Montréal, L’Ecole de Cirque de Québec, The Circus Space and Circomedia in the UK, Académie Fratellini in Paris, Cirkus Cirkor in Sweden, Katakomben in Berlin and has held workshops in Canada, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Austria,Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela.
In The News
BRIAN SEIBERT, THE NEW YORKER: “Gandini Juggling”
If you’ve ever seen a production by Pina Bausch, you ’11 recognize the inspiration behind “Smashed,” part of Peak Performances, in Montclair, New Jersey. It’s a juggling show, and the performers are aces, but their civilized etiquette is a thin disguise.
CLAIRE SAWERS, THE LIST: “Avant-garde juggling upsets the apple cart”
The opening minutes of Smashed seem, at first, to set the tone for what’s about to follow: a very polished, über-sophisticated display of debonair juggling – in a string of complicated, gracefully choreographed configurations.
LYN GARDNER, THE GUARDIAN: “Smashed – review”
There is something rather glorious about having a juggling show that… is so clearly inspired by the work of the great, Pina Bausch, a woman who said balls to ballet. You can see it in the line of performers sitting facing the audience… But you can feel it, too: this is a show in which the tensions between mind and body, concentration and distraction, surface blandness and hidden emotion, mathematical patterns and chaos often threaten to explode, and do in a finale of smashed crockery, which is as terrifyingly vicious as it is funny.
ALASTAIR MACAULAY, NEW YORK TIMES: “Review: The Inspired Poetry of Gandini Juggling”
Even though Gandini Juggling owes much to many other artists, this British group’s work feels like a whole new genre. Here, juggling becomes flights of inspired poetry, musical choreography with strong dance elements, crazy-comedy surrealism, breathtakingly dexterous virtuosity, darkly absurdist drama. Gandini opens windows in the mind.
GWEN ORWEL, MONTCLAIR LOCAL: “‘SMASHED’ Keeps its apples in the air”
At Montclair State University, students are jumping rope, juggling balls and playing with yo-yos. And getting credit for it.
Programs in Peak Performances’ 2018-19 season are made possible in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.