Author Topic: [WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop  (Read 20490 times)

Sean

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« on: December 25, 2004, 04:53:39 am »
I wrote this message while waiting at the Crown Plaza hotel in Detroit along my long journey home. I am finally now posting this message from home. My first connection flight was cancelled because they couldn't find a flight attendant. My rescheduled flight on the next day was cancelled as well, this time because they couldn't find a plane. After waiting in the airport for the delayed flight for 14 hours and standing in line for a total of 8 hours to find out that I couldn’t fly home before Christmas I began the long journey home by taxi, train, and automobile. Add on the fact that I was wearing sandals and no jacket and the temperature was around -15 Celcius with snowstorms and you'll see that it was an all around good time. I have now made it home 3 full days after I began (without my luggage yet most importantly without my diabolo sticks).

I know many of you want to see videos. Unfortunately there is limited video footage that we have from the festival. I didn’t bring my old VHS camcorder beast with me because I was hoping to use Matt’s digital video camera. That didn’t end up panning out very well. We have some footage from the preliminary diabolo competitions that we used in judging but ESPN2 owns the rights to the video of those events so we can't release it. Perhaps we can work something out... but certainly not until ESPN2 has finished broadcasting their shows. Most of what we have on tape is on Diabology in better quality than we could ever release on the internet. I would highly recommend you all get a copy of it. Between the educational and freestyle DVDs, Diabology covers almost all of the current diabolo knowledge.

Don’t bother asking for footage of the diabolo final. No one has any footage of it but ESPN2. Video of the main events was strictly forbidden and we were all busy at the time anyway. I’ll see what Matt and I can arrange with recording that broadcast from TV and encoding it for you guys. We don’t get ESPN2 in Canada either.

Believe me, it hurts me more than anyone to not have good footage from the gym of the diabolists. It’s going to take me a long time to get over the fact that I didn’t have a video camera with me. If anyone bugs me about it one more time I think I’m going to cry. :)

Antonin and Eric's 1 Diabolo Workshop
Warning: Reading this report or seeing Antonin and Eric in person may cause the uncontrollable urge to give up all 2 and 3 diabolo tricks entirely in favour of playing with one-diabolo combos. Further, seeing these guys in person may greatly enhance your infinite-suicide-genocide tricks at the expense of bending or breaking every handstick you own.

The first workshop for diabolo was by Antonin and Eric. It covered techniques for improvising one-diabolo sequences. They began with their theory of dividing up all one-diabolo tricks into 5 categories:

1.   loops (orbits or suns)
2.   releases (throws)
3.   magic knots
4.   stick releases
5.   whips

They break down all their one-diabolo combos into these 5 components. They then stop their combo at one of these points and see if they can follow it up with a different type of trick – take it in a different direction.

They suggested experimenting with facing both forwards and backwards as much as possible for the sake of variety and interest. Most tricks can also be performed while facing the other direction if you keep in mind the side of the string you are using and the hand position.

They also explained that you must know which of your tricks speed up the diabolo and which slow down the diabolo. A good one-diabolo sequence ideally uses no time to stop and accelerate the diabolo. Even from the beginning they will use an orbit or sun trick to accelerate the diabolo. If they use a traditional acceleration technique they will do it while walking around the diabolo to make it a trick in itself. You must spread out your tricks that slow down the diabolo and surround them with many tricks that speed up the diabolo.

When they get stuck with no speed they will perform a trick in which they stop the diabolo in their hand and throw it back into a pattern in a ‘sexy’ way. This can be a good trick in itself.

Antonin and Eric emphasized that they only have about 4 or 5 really good one-diabolo sequences but that these sequences can be broken at different points and combined with each other in an almost infinite manner.

When they are working on creating new combos they will break down all their good sequences on a piece of paper and state how each sequence begins and ends. They then draw lines between sections that could be combined and finally write out new possible combos.

We then convinced them to have a little one-diabolo combo contest to see who could keep a one-diabolo combo going the longest without spending time accelerating the diabolo and without dropping. If I remember correctly, Eric clocked in at 1:43 before he started throwing some really crazy moves and dropped the diabolo. Antonin came in at 1:42. A classic finish. If these guys didn’t start trying to show off and pull riskier and harder tricks I think these guys could keep one-diabolo combos going for hours without stopping to accelerate their diabolo. It was one of the most beautiful moments in diabolo I have ever seen. Complete silence the whole time. Everyone’s jaw was on the floor gaping at the endless sequences. I have never regretted not having a video camera with me more than at that moment.

If you ever think that one diabolo is at all boring you need only spend a couple minutes with Antonin or Eric and you will be cured forever. These guys are quite simply the masters of this domain.

In the next report I will go over what was discussed about 3 diabolos in the workshops.

Thanks Antonin and Eric for opening my eyes to the possibilities of one diabolo. Thanks to all of you (Antonin, Eric, Priam, Baptiste, Trash, and Harold (a friend of Antonin’s from France) ) for making the week such a great experience and for putting up with my limited French skills. There’s nothing like taking in the Vegas culture (gambling, girls, and beer that is) with you guys. I hope we can hang out again at the EJC.

Sean

JiBe

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2004, 09:37:49 am »
Great report.

Thanks Sean.

el_grimley

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2004, 03:18:57 pm »
Some very intrestnig reading. Thanks sean

Graham
Its got to be going home time. At least going to the pub time.

seán_

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2004, 01:02:13 am »
Thanks Sean, great report

The thread on Yuffis video and active sun motion kind of ties in with this as does the Eric and Antonin video from the Diabology release thread

Martijn

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2004, 11:01:07 am »
Thank you for the report Sean :wink: Must have been a lot of work to write it all...
download Made in Taiwan at www.arjangroenendijk.nl

Luke Burrage

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Re: [WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2004, 11:14:40 am »
Quote from: Sean


A good one-diabolo sequence ideally uses no time to stop and accelerate the diabolo.


I agree with this for one-diabolo sequences... the longer the sequence the better, of course. But a long sequence of linked tricks isn't a good diabolo act, nor is a good diabolo act one long sequence of tricks. Breaking up the tricks is one of the most important things when choreographing any act, not only to let the audience to work out what is going on, but also to give them time to applaud.
Luke

Arjan

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2004, 04:17:05 pm »
Ok Luke I agree partly, for me a nice combo of tricks could be very nice, it depends on the type of public. If they are just random (so without diabolo knowledge) they will love throwing high and elevator tricks. But a public who understands diabolo a little, like some jugglers, will like a nice combo more then a high throw. But an act must stay intresting to look at for public. Also for jugglers.

Sean

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Re: [WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2004, 05:43:16 pm »
Quote from: Luke Burrage
Quote from: Sean

A good one-diabolo sequence ideally uses no time to stop and accelerate the diabolo.

I agree with this for one-diabolo sequences... the longer the sequence the better, of course. But a long sequence of linked tricks isn't a good diabolo act, nor is a good diabolo act one long sequence of tricks....

Agreed. The point that Eric was making when he emphasized this was that diabolo routines are too often made up of people standing there spending the majority of their time accelerating the diabolo and occasionally getting to throw in a trick. Both Eric and Antonin do work to put pauses in their routines, often in the form of catching a diabolo in a hand or as a long pause in a certain position where they stop and look at the audience. Their point being that pauses should be intentional and not dictated by the need to re-accelerate the diabolo. You should have the choice to either accelerate the diabolo when you want to or to accelerate the diabolo in an entertaining way in itself.

The practice of putting together 10 minute long one diabolo sequences is more of an exercise to practice and not one to perform. It is the skills that you gain from this type of practice that can be useful when applied to a performance perspective.

Certainly, as Arjan said, the audience appreciation of sequences of tricks seems to increase with increased knowledge of the prop. Some of us would appreciate a 10 minute long one diabolo combo of Antonin's or Eric's because the skill and difficulty involved would keep us interested. To some, and certainly to non-diabolists, this would become boring quite quickly. Regardless, I think we can all appreciate a well designed performance in which sections of activity are appropriately combined with pauses and less active moments.

Tony and Ryo are the masters at stopping after a trick, looking at the audience, and demanding applause - Trash as well - although Tony does so much more flamboyantly than the rest. :)

Sean

Erik

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2004, 09:59:41 pm »
Thanks for this nice report Sean ! I would like to add a few things.

Firstly, about the basic principles. Here they are :

1) throws
2) loops/wraps
3) suns
4) sticks releases
5) magic knots (that is to say a loop that involves both the diabolo and at least one of the sticks)
6) grinds (sticks, hands, everything else)
7) whips ("string throws")
8 ) grabs (that is to say taking the diabolo in the hand, or between the legs or wherever you want)

As you can see Sean, Ant and I have added three principles to the five we mentionned at WJF.

Here are a few examples :

- a genocide is a mix between a throw and a stick release
- satellites simply rely on throws !
- a stop over IS a magic knot that ends in a loop
- japanese loops use whips to make a magic knot
- what we usually call "the whip" is in fact between a throw and a "string throw"
- infinite suicide = stick release + loop

To quote Ant, I would say that a good sequence has to mix as many principles as possible.

Now I'll add a few things about what we called "key positions" during the workshop. If you take all your well- known sequences in diabolo, you will notice that there are positions where you can decide to change the unfolding of your sequence... And we often don't change anything, because we're used to do this sequence in a certain way and are too lazy to take the risk to change it  :P  But this time we won't be lazy !

Take all your well-known sequences and try to find what are the key positions in them. After this, you will have divided your sequences into small parts, like this :

KP0 / trick 1 / KP1 / trick2 / KP2 / ... / trick n/ KPn

(KP = key position)

Let's take a simple example. This is a combo that Ant and I often do :

Left magic knot, release right string (it undoes the magic knot and do a wrap), catch the right stick, release the left one to do an infinite suicide.

For this combo we have :

KP0 = diabolo simply in front of you
trick1 = doing the magic knot
KP1 = having the magic knot
trick2 = right suicide
KP2 = diabolo in front of you with a loop
trick3 = left suicide
KP3 = infinite suicide


This is one of the ways to split up the combo. If you split up all your sequences this way, you will get several key positions and tricks/little sequences that allow to go from a position to another.

Note that these positions depend on your style of diabolo, and therefore are different for each diabolist. Nevertheless, some positions are key ones for almost everybody. Having the diabolo simply in front of you is the most basic key position. But it is a bit useless, because if you use this position only to change the unfolding of your sequences, you will have the feeling of doing several tricks one after another, which is not really improvisation. Therefore, you have to find key positions a bit more complicated.

Once you have found key positions, you can try to write them on a paper. Put each key positions in a circle. Then draw lines representing every trick or small sequence that links two positions. You will get a huge graph in which you will be able to travel easily. Normally, you should be able to see on this graph your well known sequences : they are particular paths linking a sequence of key positions. But you do not have to follow these paths only ! Remember that you can choose to change the unfolding of your sequence at each key position.

Let's get back to our example. I start the same way. I do a magic knot, and I get into KP1. Usually, I would do a simple right suicide. But I change my mind and decide to do right suicide caught behind the back. I found myself in a new position, which is a loop behind the back. If I look the paper on which I wrote all my positions, I can find several lines starting from this point. I choose one and go to another position. And so on...

So put the music on and improvise. Consider each position as an opportunity to change the unfolding of your combo. And that's it !

This is it for the theory. Of course, things aren't that easy in the real life. As Sean said, the lack of speed is a huge problem. Hence the need to know combos and tricks that give speed to the diabolo. Simple ones : infinite suicide, satellites... I have 2 or 3 combos that I use to give speed to my diabolo. It is less boring for the audience to see these tricks rather than see me giving speed in the most simple way.
So don't hesitate to do "speed combos" between to complicated sequences. And if you are really stuck, don't hesitate to take the diabolo in the hand ! It is not shocking as long as it is done in a sexy way. And moreover, there are lots of tricks to be done with the diabolo in the hand. Using this kind of trick is not only useful, it creates a nice breakdown in your sequence.

Another problem for improvisation is the lack of inspiration. You think that you have done all your combos, and really don't know what to do next. In this case, you can't face the audience doing nothing ! So use silly tricks to keep on moving while thinking of what you're going to do next. Everyone has some and don't do them that often. Examples : infinite suicide, satellites... (and these ones also give speed !) allow you to stand and think of what you're going to do, without doing nothing.
Remember that doing simple tricks in the middle of a sequence also gives time to the audience to take a breathe and creates a nice breakdown.

To finish with, here is a tip that diabolists don't use very often, and it is a pity ! Antonin well underlined this point during the workshop : move your body. Turn, jump, walk, move.
Remember that every trick can be done facing the audience or not. And there are tricks that are nice to see when you do not face the audience (body satelites for instance). So don't hesitate to turn while playing diabolo. It opens new possibilities. Take one of your well known sequences, interrupt it in the middle, do a U-turn, and see what happens. You'll probably find something new. Matt Hall did this with one of his combos during the workshop, and he created a really nice combo by adding U-turns in a combo he already knew.

Now train ! Put the music on, and train alone, I mean not in front of an audience, because if you fear dropping, you won't dare improvising. Begin a combo, split it up, make U-turn... And enjoy :D
Renegade is an attitude.

Punkerpanda

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2004, 11:23:33 pm »
*bows down to erik*
wow, thank you so much. that was one of the most informative writing about diabolo i've ever read. hehe, comes to a good time too. i'm trying to come up with a nice routine...and it's proving to be quite difficult

Sean

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2004, 01:22:52 am »
Welcome to the "One Diabolo Combo School of Eric and Antonin". Take your seats and pay attention. Please take notes. A quiz will be held on Monday. :)

Excellent explanation of your theory, Eric. Thank you. Definitely one of the most useful and interesting pieces ever written on the diabolo.

Sean

Matt

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2004, 04:52:51 am »
Dear Erik,

I believe the phrase is "La classe!"  You, Antonin, and the rest of the MFP are great not only because of your skills, but more because of your willingness to share your skills and teach those who ask for your help.  

I deeply appreciate the time you spent showing me the one trick on the last night of WJF.  Baptiste, Trash, and Priam all did the same with other tricks throughout the entire week (Priam for the week before as well).  

The Diabology DVD could have just been the freestyle part, but you guys put in the instructional DVD as well.  Excellent.  The new standard in diabolo has been set.  

Thanks again for everything.  I hope to have improved by the next time we meet.   :wink:  I'm going to keep working on my excallibur and 3 diabolos as well!

Matt Hall
Many Thanks to Sean for all his work and inspiration.  Respect to the MFP!

seán_

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2004, 08:06:37 am »
Thanks Erik and Sean for kicking this thread off.

I'm very excited by all this and think shall be devoting more time to 1d now and taking the ideas put forward here to my 2d as well.

On the whole idea of breaking up the flow and taking the diabolo in hand it seems counter-intuitive but is something well worth looking at especially for performing as Luke points out above.
Quote from: Luke Burrage
Quote from: Sean


A good one-diabolo sequence ideally uses no time to stop and accelerate the diabolo.


I agree with this for one-diabolo sequences... the longer the sequence the better, of course. But a long sequence of linked tricks isn't a good diabolo act, nor is a good diabolo act one long sequence of tricks. Breaking up the tricks is one of the most important things when choreographing any act, not only to let the audience to work out what is going on, but also to give them time to applaud.


and GbH (Guy Heathcote) has thoughts on breaking up sequences whilst performing to build relationships with an audience and to allow for aplause etc. in this thread on performing

So anyway now I head of to produce my own set of key positions and possible linking tricks. :) (and also to look at ways to stop being so static whilst diaboloing)

Monregi

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2005, 01:23:03 pm »
What is an u-turn?

seán_

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2005, 01:25:46 pm »
Quote
Remember that every trick can be done facing the audience or not. And there are tricks that are nice to see when you do not face the audience (body satelites for instance). So don't hesitate to turn while playing diabolo. It opens new possibilities. Take one of your well known sequences, interrupt it in the middle, do a U-turn, and see what happens. You'll probably find something new. Matt Hall did this with one of his combos during the workshop, and he created a really nice combo by adding U-turns in a combo he already knew.


To turn or to walk around the diabolo/trick. I think is what is meant by u-turn as it is used above. Or maybe it could mean change the combo at a given point but to head off in a different direction of thought. Both definitions work but I'd go with the first one.

AsIm

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2005, 06:28:46 pm »
:O omg you guys are sooooooooooooooooooooooooo awesome,
*i bow down to MFP*
Yes i am a Goth :)

Arjan

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2005, 11:27:36 pm »
Everybody drop your second or third diabolo and start working on 1!
I have been inspired by Antonin and Eric at the convention in Ypres, and now I want to jam 1 diabolo all day long!!! Really, 1 diabolo stuf rules!

I might in the future going to write down in key positions... seems a very long job thoug.

Twilite

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Combo
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2005, 04:16:20 pm »
I've been diaboloing on and off not seriously for a few years now, but have started doing it properly in the last month or two.
I've learnt all the basics I know of and have started playing with finger grinds and things like that, but now I'm stuck.

I wanted to start working on some combos, and read around. I read the combo-building thread, that was really well written and very helpful.
The problem is, having never seen any combos I can get my head around, I'm completely lost for the kind of things I should be going for. It's like having the concept of music explained to you, then being asked to compose a song, having never heard one. I know what combos are and how to build them, but I have nothing to base mine on.

I'm wondering if someone can help me out with a beginner combo I can learn so I have a little inspiration to work from?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Curiosity may have killed a whole cat, but Schrodinger only killed half...

ming

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[WJF] Eric and Antonin's 1 diabolo workshop
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2005, 04:40:57 pm »
The way i think about it when i start building combos is to start with one trick and see where that leaves you when you finish it and then think what trick can i do from this position. so for example do a normal figure 8 sun(when you do a sun in front of your body then one behind you in the same direction to take off the wrap), now when the sun is coming down in front of you you're back to open strings and this is a perfect point to stick your leg in for an orbit.
if you watch most combos they're normally lots of simple tricks done together
hope that helps
emmet

ming

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fundamental positions in diabolo
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2005, 06:05:56 pm »
the last thread about combos got me thinking (a rare thing). I think there's a group of positions that are fundamental to diabolo ie open string, crossed strings etc, and that some tricks have can only be done from certain positions but if these positions were mapped out then we could use this as a notation system for combos with tricks being the transitions between these positions.
similar to siteswap, but without numbers, all the tricks that return you to the same position could be grouped together in the position and all tricks that change the position could be group into what they change it into, thus providing a way to note combos.
is this making sense to anyone?
emmet