Jim's Diabolo Page


I was introduced to the diabolo when I first started going to the Illini Juggling and Unicycle Club. One member had a small, hard plastic diabolo that whistled. The only tricks that he could do were hop over the leg and a pseudo string climb. Well, I was not impressed. So for quite a few years I never had an interest in the diabolo.

It wasn't until I started my second wave of interest in juggling that I had a chance to see any good diabolo stuff. It was the fall of '95 and Fred Garbo did a show in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois. He had a great show, and when he did his diaoblo routine I was floored. I had never seen anybody do these kinds of tricks with the diabolo. I finally had seen somebody doing some really cool stuff with the diabolo and now I was interested in learning. So I picked up his video with his diabolo routine in it and started working on figuring out his tricks.

Shortly after that I started asking some of the club members about Fred and any other people who worked with the diabolo. They pointed me to a couple of IJA tapes where people had competed in the championships and had done diabolo routines. The first one I watched was Jeff Mason's '88 routine. I liked it and he had alot of good stuff in it. However, when I saw the '93 IJA tape with Fritz Grobe's gold medal routine I was knocked outta my chair. Talk about totally awsome, I loved this routine. I must have watched it a dozen or more times in a row. This got me hooked on learning the diabolo and also to eventually learn how to do two diabolos.

So I learned a number of different diabolo tricks and started working on learning two diabolos. I started getting successful in keeping two diabolos in the string for quite a few rotations, but I had the problem of not keeping them spinning fast enough. I had gotten some pointers from Peter Caseman (another great diaboloist from Madison) at the '96 Madfest festival. Finally after quite a bit more practice I can keep two diabolos going for quite a long time. I have now been working on two diabolo tricks. Some of them that I can do are over the leg, over the arm, sun to the front (I think that's what it's called), a suicide, and a few other tricks.

It's kind of funny reading the old info above. Mostly because I don't do much diabolo at all anymore, and the diabolo craze that has happened in juggling the last few years is unbelievable. The types of tricks that I can do with two diabolos now would be classified as beginner tricks. The tricks that single, double and three diabolo jugglers do these days is just mind boggling. I don't think I have the time to commit to working on some of the tricks that are done these days (too much work with other props to do :).

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