The IJA Festival is excited to be welcoming these Special Guest performers — as well as many others — at the Cascade of Stars.
Thom Wall is an American juggler who specializes in juggling disciplines from the past. After completing a five-year tour juggling for Cirque du Soleil’s Totem (2014-2019), Wall now resides in Philadelphia where he researches circus history, consults for nonprofits, and coaches juggling and performance at Circadium: School of Contemporary Circus. When not at home, he’s performing his solo show On the Topic of Juggling on cruise ships and stages around the world.
Thom holds a Masters’ of Science in Nonprofit Arts Administration from Drexel University (2015), and was awarded La Medalla Crotalus Scholaris by the Mesoamerican University in Puebla, Mexico for his work revitalizing forgotten juggling disciplines.
Thom is the founder of Modern Vaudeville Press (2018), an independent publishing company which produces academic titles about the circus arts. In 2021, the International Jugglers’ Association honored him with the Excellence in Education Award.
Benjamin (St. Paul, Minnesota) is a circus and theatre director, performer, and clown. He tours the world performing (Tigerlion Arts, MOTH Circus, Busch Gardens, the International Jugglers’ Association.) Benjamin is a coach and teaching artist (Circus Harmony, Circus Juventas, Trenton Circus Squad). He is a roster artist with Minnesota based COMPAS (compas.org) and travels regularly to rural communities to teach circus and theatre. Behind the scenes Benjamin is a playwright (CLIMB Theatre,) Assistant Director (The Children’s Theater Company,) and Director/Producer (Mn Fringe, Orlando Fringe, The Curiosita.) He is currently a board member for the IJA and is the director of the Youth Juggling Academy. Managed by Afton Benson.
Jay Gilligan has performed in 38 different countries, touring solo work and collaborating with companies such as Spiegelworld, The Gandini Juggling Project, Cie Jérôme Thomas, Les 7 doigts de la main, Cirkus Cirkör, Cie Ea Eo, and Cirque du Soleil. He is the former head teacher of juggling at the Dans och Cirkushögskolan in Stockholm (2000-2019), Sweden, and has published a book about contemporary juggling titled “5 Catches.” His most recent work is the one-man off-Broadway show “REFLEX,” which is his magnum opus, an homage to a lifetime of looking at juggling as art. Jay also runs his own contemporary circus company in Stockholm, called Kapsel. For more information please visit www.kapsel.se and www.reflexshow.com
Aaron began juggling at the age of ten, learning from great jugglers such as Fritz Grobe, Michael Miclon, Morty Hansen, Michael Menes and Steven Ragatz. In 2011 he entered the École de Cirque de Québec in Canada to study circus more broadly. There he met his work partner and friend, Colin, with whom he developed a new discipline, hand to hand. Since 2015 Aaron has been traveling the world, most notably on tour with Cirque Eloize and more recently he has worked with companies such as Flip Fabrique, Theater A Tempo, GOP Variete Theater and more. Now a resident of Quebec, he is developing new projects that allow him to continue throwing and catching objects… and people.
Bow is a 22 years old juggler who specializes in poi juggling and all kind of object manipulation. He is based in Berlin, Germany and travels around the world to teach and perform. Online teaching for poi spinners and jugglers through Patreon being his main occupation .
Moritz and Julian
Moritz and Julian
Julian is 18 years old and started doing circus about 8 years ago in Germany. He has performed multiple acts throughout his career in several countries and festivals. Ever since he learned how to juggle, he stuck with it. The IJA will be his first time performing overseas.
Moritz is a 19 year old juggler from Germany who started practicing regularly back in 2017 and mostly focuses on technical juggling. He was featured on the top 40 jugglers list 3 times and broke several world records in the last few years. Lately, he focuses on performing as well as on the creation of new show concepts and the programming of LED clubs.
Together as a duo, they started practicing last year and will perform their act ´Cosmic Light´ at this year’s IJA.
Afro-American and Portuguese origin, Ricardo S. Mendes has several hats: juggler, dancer, video artist, model, director. Born in Portugal, he left his native land at the age of 17 to live in Switzerland, where he began his formation as an designer/ architect. During this period he discovered and developed a passion for circus arts at Lezarti’cirque in Saint-Croix, Switzerland, he then began to follow two courses at the same time, architecture and circus. In this school, he discovered several disciplines such as acrobatics, dance and juggling, which make his authenticity.
After graduating as a Designer/Architect, he trained at the Lyon Circus School and completed his formation at the National Centre of Circus Arts of Châlons-en-Champagne in 2020. His first creation “Mellow Yellow”, made with two other artists, will be released in April 2022. Inspired by his own identity, the mixture of cultures is a real influence in his work.
Passionate about video and the work of directors such as Wes Anderson, David Lynch and even Charlie Chaplin, Ricardo re-examines this medium through a direct link between the body and the image, the stage codes and the cinematography codes.