Lasers, 3D printed props part of Mark Nizer’s juggling show at Ferst Center

Award-winning juggler Mark Nizer is currently touring with his latest 4D Comedy show, which is billed as the only live 3D show in the world. His amazing skills, custom props and showmanship are set to dazzle his Atlanta audience on Saturday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m. at the Ferst Center.

Nizer’s work seems to be firmly based on an appreciation of the past and the traditions and pioneers of the juggling world, but he also builds on those foundations to move juggling into the future with amazing technology and showmanship for today’s demanding audiences.

Nizer during the course of his career has drawn inspiration from a tradition of juggling greats like W.C. Fields who started his career as The Great McGonigle in vaudeville. Mark has also been inspired by the likes of Francis Brunn with his flamenco-charged showmanship.

Nizer’s own skills have taken him from street performances, to performing on college campuses, to being the opening act for talents ranging from Bob Hope to Barry Manilow. You may have seen Nizer on any number of TV shows or comedy specials. He’s also competed in countless international juggling competitions and exhibitions.

This latest show from Nizer incorporates lasers, lighting effects and all sorts of technology and engineering feats that Georgia Tech students should particularly appreciate. He’s actually invented many of his own juggling props like the dazzling Laser Diablo, working hard to bring the excitement and amazement inherent in a well done juggling act to a whole new level. As part of the act, audience members are even encouraged to bring their cell phones and iPads to be part of the show.

Mark is very clear about making the distinction that what you see during a juggling act doesn’t come from any sort of tricks, sleight of hand or rigged equipped. Where magic acts carefully guard their secrets, jugglers put everything out in the open, relying on carefully planned movements, amazing coordination and an unfailing muscle memory developed over countless hours or years of practice. Some of his more difficult works have taken him up to seven years to perfect. He will be performing a new act, Genesis, at the Ferst show that has taken three years to get ready and involves his own custom 3D printed props. Nizer is looking forward to performing these new feats in front of an Atlanta audience, including some of his cohorts within the rather extensive Atlanta juggling community.

Nizer freely admits that with the comedy aspect of the show he was lucky to have mentors that taught him how to write and develop jokes and routines. That this too was a craft that had to be honed and practiced over time.

Though he’s done college gigs for years, his current show is aimed at all ages and he strongly encourages families and children to attend. Young people and juggling have always seemed a natural fit. What kid growing up hasn’t tried to juggle tennis balls or do soccer ball tricks? Nizer says that YouTube now allows kids to see acts and moves that they can easily practice at home. He’s been amazed at the talent he’s seen demonstrated by kids coming up, many working out juggling moves that no one ever told them were incredibly difficult, but still they worked it all out.

After decades as a performer, Nizer continues to build on traditions and the long history of his craft and works to push it to amazing new heights. He continues to reinvent the art for a new generation, incorporating cutting edge technology and showmanship to keep it fresh and inspired. Nizer loves what he does, considering himself very lucky that he gets to perform on stage for appreciative audiences. His performances remind anyone that ever picked up and tried to juggle as a kid, just how really cool juggling can be.

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