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Mills’ Gift

When I learnt to Juggle in 1994 one of the first tricks that blew my mind was a trick known as Mills’ Mess. It’s one of the most celebrated and beautiful three ball tricks that anyone with a fair bit of brain effort and trial and error can get going. Each of the three balls has different trajectories and involves a crossing and uncrossing of the arms. The balls seem to chase each other in an infinite flowing loop.

It was invented by Steve Mills in Central Park in New York between 1974and 1975 .

The story goes that Steve Mills did not know how to “teach” this pattern and while trying different methods of teaching this pattern with many proficient jugglers, they shouted ‘this is a mess.'” Mills did not know this was being called “Mills Mess” around the world for several years.

It’s actually harder to teach than to learn, then all of a sudden it clicks and you got it! I wish you to feel the joy of learning this wonderful pattern!

I found out yesterday that Steve passed away at 65. I still can’t quite believe it and like many jugglers we’re hoping that it’s one of his pranks.

I had the pleasure of meeting Steve on many occasions. He was a giant of a man,with intense eyes and a playful spirit. He loved my book Pearls of Juggling as it had an artistic approach he could relate too. We recently had a conversation about a book he was working on.

In these last years he had asked the juggling community to change the name of his pattern to Mills’ Gift as he didn’t feel it was really a mess. Going to be challenging to change the name of a pattern ingrained in hundreds of thousands of jugglers, it has a great sound to it. It is a gift though and a joy to perform it.

If you’ve learned to juggle the basic three ball cascade let’s celebrate Steve together, by learning Mills’ Gift.

Never too late!

And if you’ve got the 3 ball version going, go for the four or five ball version!

More info here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mills%27_Mess

If you’re interested in learning this three ball pattern, let me know and I’ll organise an online workshop.

Cheers, Anthony