Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Thomas Leuenberger aka Baldrian, who is the world's slowest juggler. Courtesy Baldrian
Thomas Leuenberger aka Baldrian, who is the world's slowest juggler. Courtesy Baldrian

It’s all up in the air for Baldrian, the world’s slowest juggler

Part of Swiss Days Dubai this weekend is a performance by Baldrian, the world's slowest clown, who says taking it slow greatly improves the quality of life.

Not the fast show

The one who lives slowly, dies later: that’s the motto of the Swiss clown Thomas Leuenberger, who calls himself the world’s slowest juggler. Going by the stage name Baldrian, Leuenberger will perform at Swiss Days Dubai at Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, on Friday.

“My shows are relaxing yet expressive,” he says. “The ultimate goal is to reduce the pulse of the audience. My show is recommended for everybody who needs a little relaxation. In slowness lies quality, quality of life, quality to live.”

Slow and steady

Leuenberger took up juggling 30 years ago and says it all began when he began playing with a few stones on a holiday. Rapidly tossing objects into the air wasn’t enough; he wanted to “create an act that would delay the effect of gravity”.

“The Swiss are comfortable people; also I’m not the fastest. This is very convenient for me,” he says. “It is a decelerated pace. You will see me juggling with 14 objects and without stress.”

The performer uses balloons filled with helium, which helps them resist the pull of gravity.

“I show that going slow can be spectacular and, at the same time, healthy,” he says.

“I begin with ordinary juggling balls and indoor kites. One of my props is a 14-metre helium-filled snake. Helium helps with the deceleration and the audience can actively experience this when I make the snake fly over their heads in the theatre.”

Swiss legend

Leuenberger has received several awards, including the prestigious Swiss performance award, the Prix Walo, in the comedy category in 2000, when he was performing as one half of Duo Flügzüg.

He has also won the Silver Lion at the International Circus Festival in Lausanne and first place at the International Cabaret Festival in Koblenz, Germany.

“I have played solo on stage for four years and I do everything myself now,” he says. “I build my own props, develop new acts and songs, and also handle the back office.”

Easier said than done

What might look simple, he says, requires a lot of practice and a little bit of luck. “It takes enthusiasm and perseverance. At first it was a hobby, but I continued to teach myself.”

Baldrian has done more than 2,000 shows and is looking forward to his Dubai performance.

“My highlights were several television appearances and the colourful circus life in the Swiss National Circus Knie, the Christmas Circus Salto Natale and Circus Roncalli in Germany,” says Leuenberger. “I think a highlight about my Dubai show is that it will be in English.”

• Baldrian will perform on Friday at Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, at 8pm. For tickets, visit www.swissartgateuae.com

aahmed@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National