# Observations from the siteswaps DVD

## Table of Contents

These are notes I took whilst rewatching the interviews on the Gandini Siteswaps DVD.

# Paul Klimek⌗

Invented siteswap in 1981

The search was motivated by wanting to know how many patterns were possible.

Once there were numbers, everything went much faster than with ladder diagrams.

Paul called it Quantum Juggling. He thinks the system is so ‘simple’ that everyone comes up with the same system eventually, which explains why multiple people invented it around the same time.

# Bruce Tiemann⌗

Bruce credits Paul Klimek, even though he developed something very similar.

In Bruce’s system every number was 1 higher than in current siteswap notation

“Real juggling” starts at 5, because you can’t just wait when you throw one too high. It has to be done ‘correct and clean’ for it to be work and all. This thought caused Bruce to realize you could fix for a too high throw by putting low throws underneath, thus inventing siteswap.

Siteswap was not just ‘descriptive’ but also ‘creative’, it led to new patterns.

Bruce remembers people being offended that the pure beautiful artform of juggling had been reduced to soulless numbers

Bruce published a paper on siteswaps in 1989, which was probably the first public disclosure.

You can think of tricks like `42`

without knowing the whole scheme. But without siteswap, nobody would have come up with `771`

# Sean Gandini⌗

“Siteswaps has become this extremely important aspect of juggling.”

Siteswap started spreading because of the internet.

Siteswap is like the period table of juggling, Sean guesses that in 1000 years from now it will still be around.

Musical notation is culturally dependent, but siteswap is immutable and determined by mathematics.

Musical notation is centuries old, jugglers only have had a few decades to play with notation.

There are numerous people who worked on juggling diagrams like ladders, but only very few made the leap to numbers.

Multi Hand Notation is underrated and might be needed when 3 hand juggling or odd rhythms becomes more popular.

The DVD tries to not have an aesthetic bias, so it doesn’t try to prevent patterns that include ‘odd’ sub patterns like `11`

, or lot’s of `0`

’s or `2`

s etc.

# Mike Day⌗

Mike day’s original ladders look like causal diagrams, rather than more standard ladders.

When Mike discovered `534`

it was very hard to learn, but now it is regarded as easy because so many people are exposed to so many of these kinds of patterns with different throw heights. Widespreadness of the system makes the tricks easier to do.

Mills Mess State Diagrams was invented by Mike Day to figure out how to reverse Mills Mess

“What are you trying to encapsulate in a certain notation? If a notation tries to incorporate too many ideas at once, it becomes less useful because it is harder to focus on what you’re trying to accomplish.”

# Adam Chalcraft⌗

Juggling ‘generators’ (aka stack notation or propswap) can help explain how many unique siteswaps are possible.

# Colin Wright⌗

Mike, Adam & Colin (the Cambridge group) discovered siteswap after the need to describe mills mess.

“Describing juggling is very hard, because in juggling, as in dance there are very few things you’re not allowed to do. The sheer freedom of juggling is the difficulty, because there is such scope, how can you pin it down. Do you describe everything to the last twitch of the eyebrow and the last shuffle of the feet, well of course you don’t. So how do you simplify?”

Charlie Simpson who was one of the first to publish about ladder diagrams^{1}, is better known as Charlie Dancey, the author of the Encyclopaedia of Ball Juggling.

Colin confirms that the original Cambridge ladder was a causal diagram.

Predicting the existence of `5551`

was their eureka moment.

There are infinite tricks between shower and half shower. To describe these tricks, you need to simplify them. And everyone in the 80s ultimately came up with the same system: siteswaps.

Art inspires science and science inspires art. Without juggling, no siteswap.

`45141`

feels very different from `56252`

as a juggler, but as a mathematician you’ll see them as very related.

# Denis Paumier⌗

Body Move was inspired in part by a book called “Psychojongleur”, which I can’t find.

Denis' motivation to use letters to describe the holes was to not confuse them with siteswaps.

Different layers of a trick can be compared to music notation where each instrument gets its own score. Denis proposes the layers: Tempo, siteswap, body move, inside/outside, shape (exact hand positions), other movement (dance), position on the stage.

# Martin Frost⌗

Causal diagrams were rediscovered by Martin to help him work out passing patterns like 7 club 3 count.

In normal siteswaps there are no hurrys.

Martin dislikes ladder diagrams because they are harder to read because of all the extra information.

Multi hand notation is only useful if you can only communicate with numbers and syntax, and not with drawings.

The causal diagrams did not only help in creating the patterns but also with remembering them.

# Allen Knutson⌗

Allen prefers to write states with `x`

and `-`

instead of `1`

and `0`

to not confuse them with siteswaps.

State diagrams help identify prime patterns, in which each node only gets visited once.

Allen credits Jack Boyce for being the first to come up with states.

Antiballs appear when a ball does a negative siteswap. Jugglers don’t like to juggle those.

The amount of balls in an orbit is sum of numbers in that orbit divided by the length of the pattern. So in `561`

there is a `6`

orbit and a `15`

orbit, and they both have 2 balls.

The math goes deep…

Allen wrote the first siteswap simulator software.

# Charlie Dancey⌗

Juggling notation was a requirement to write the Encyclopaedia of Ball Juggling.

He invented the ladder diagram to work out a bounce juggling trick. Ladder diagrams are spaghetti for passing, which is why he used causal diagrams for the Compendium of Club Juggling. They are easier to read.

# References⌗

Obviously the Gandini Siteswaps DVD(2006), but other than that: