Salerno at Newcastle Empire
Salerno was one of the originators of the “gentleman juggler” style where the performer dressed in evening wear and juggled the everyday articles that you might find in a home of the day.
He appeared at the Empire Theatre, Newcastle in the week of 30 September 1895 – as this advertisement from the Gateshead Guardian shows:
“The great continental juggler and equilibrist” is mentioned briefly a week later in the Gateshead Guardian and Newcastle Suburban Press – but there’s hardly a surfeit of detail about “the clever company”:
That’s all the local material that I’ve found – but there were two good articles about Salerno in JUGGLE magazine in the Spring and Fall 2009 editions (I’m agnostic about IJA politics, but I like the magazine). The article in the Fall edition concentrates on a prop that’s very rare these days: Alan Howard (in wonderfully florid prose that would fit into most of the publications I normally read for this blog) writes: “The Salerno ring balance involves a pole that is placed on the juggler’s forehead; atop the pole is a ring in which a billiard ball is coaxed to revolve, thanks to the impetus generated by the continuous up-and-down motion from the juggler’s knees”. He juggled four balls with this all in place, including a shower where the balls passed through the ring.
Salerno’s nearest rival in the gentleman juggling style was Kara, a German citizen who was caught in Paris at the outbreak of the first world war. He was interred for the duration and had no access to props or practice space but on his release Salerno offered to share his equipment so Kara could get back on his feet. Kara learnt the Salerno ring, and later mentored Bob Artur, who performed as Caral, and the routine passed to him. Caral in turn handed the routine onto Jeton, who is still performing it today. These four are the only known performers of this intriguing prop. The full article from JUGGLE is on Jeton’s website.