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Takeaway Patterns

Author: Sean Gandini
Credits: Kaskade 52

These are a group of fun 3-object two-person patterns. I will describe them as ball patterns but obviously they work for all the standard objects. The basic concept behind take-away patterns is the replacement of hands within a juggling pattern. That's it. One person juggles, the other takes some or all of the pattern away. Hence the name "take-away".
The first bunch of patterns are just cyclic replacements. By this, I mean patterns that repeat in nice concise loops, like pop music. You juggle for three beats, I juggle for three beats, then we start all over again.
In traditional group juggling these cycles tended to be quite straightforward. Cycles of 2, 3 or 4 throws. We have pushed it further by generalising. Our generalisation is that on any given beat there can be a replacement; so the replacing need not happen as neatly or as regularly as described above. But more of that later.
A word on positions: Contrary to the Kama Sutra and for simplicity's sake we will limit ourselfs to a simple number of positions. Obviously you can extrapolate at will.
In an idealised scenario the balls stay in place and the hands weave around them. This is easier said than done. There is a tendency to give the balls to the taker. In this respect a clarity of counts is very useful. One of the most common drops on take-aways is not being sure if the other person is taking or not, "the hovering hands". Help your partner by being as clear as you can.

Side by side.

Let's assume that the two jugglers are standing (sitting, lying) side by side. Illustration 1. Our jugglers are called Rachid and Shamira. In the simplest possible scenario Rachid juggles 3 objects. At any point Shamira can replace either of Rachid's hands. If one thinks of the 3 balls as independent from the hands, then any landing ball can be caught by any of the free hands. Think for a moment of a juggling pattern as floating in space. There are two points where the hands meet the balls, it is at those points that the replacing can happen. For simplicity's sake we shall begin by replacing right with right and left with left. By this I mean that a ball thrown from a left hand will always be caught by a right hand and vice versa. Whether this hand is mine, yours, the pope's or a zebra's is unimportant. This restriction is purely for simplicity and to provisionally limit the amount of patterns involved. As we shall see later we can lift the restriction to generate a whole other family of patterns.

3/3 Out
Let's start by learning 3/3. The notation 3/3 means that each juggler catches three times. So we get a 6 beat cycle that goes:

For simplicity's sake we will also refer to the two closest hands as inside hands and the two further-away hands as outside hands. (Illustration 1).
Rachid starts with 2 Balls in the Right Hand and 1 Ball in the Left Hand. He throws the first ball from his right hand to Shamira's outside hand. (Illustration 2). She then takes the second ball with her inside hand (Illustration 3) followed by the third ball with her the outside hand (Illustration 4). Three catches in all.
Rachid then does the same, his outside hand followed by his inside hand followed by his outside hand (Illustrations 5,6,7). And so on ad infinitum (or not).
This pattern is quite instinctive to most westerners. Remember that you always take away from the outside hand first. If you colour code the balls you will always end up with the same balls in the same hands in the same order. So if you start by taking a mauve ball with your outside hand, both of you will take the mauve ball as your first ball with your outside hand. Now what could be easier? You take the balls and you give them straight back.
Although this pattern is easy to do without counting I would encourage you to start by counting it. The more you count now the easier it will be not to count later.

3/3 In
Same idea only the inside hands take first. This is a lot harder. You have to reach right across your partner. The colour coding works as well. As you learn this pattern you will find that there is a pleasant weaving that begins to happen between the inside hands. (Illustrations 8, 9, 10)

5/5 Out
This is very similar to the above but one waits longer between takings. The extra wait is what makes this pattern slightly tricky for most people. On the other hand one has longer to steady the pattern. This is a very useful pattern for learning odd counts. Needless to say the initial colour coding is no longer valid.

5/5 In
Included for thoroughness. Same as 3/3 in but with two extra juggling beats.

2/2
Now things start to get interesting but tricky. What is odd about this one is that once the pattern gets going you end up catching your own first ball. It really helps to slow this down as much as you can. Take each throw one at a time and count it out loud. Note that both jugglers do slightly different things. One does Inside Hand followed by Outside Hand whilst the other does Outside Hand followed by Inside Hand. This pattern is not symmetrical. By this I mean that you get a different pattern if Shamira starts from the one you would get if Rachid started. (Illustrations 11-15)

1/1 Out
Outside hand to outside hand is what is usually called a share. It is simply a shared 3 ball cascade. This is one of the most common 2 person juggling patterns. (Illustration 16)

1/1 In
The other 1/1 pattern, Inside hand to inside Hand, is wonderfully different and seldom seen. (Illustration 17)

4/4
I think by this point it becomes self-explanatory. This is more of the same. The two jugglers do different things. The second version reverses the jugglers' roles.

11/11
Medicine for the counting ill.

Asymmetry
We've been doing patterns of the a/a variety. Needless to say we could go on forever although perhaps this would be pointless. I would nonetheless recommend playing with some different counts: 6/6, 7/7, 8/8… 134/134 great for taking turns at cooking the evening meal. But needless to say the two numbers don't need to be the same, so:

3/2
Rachid catches twice followed by Shamira catching three times. If you practised 2/2 and 3/3 then this pattern is a cut and paste between the two. Contrary to all the other previously encountered patterns this pattern cycles through its 2 states. By this I mean that the second time you go and grab the balls you will begin with a different hand. It takes ten throws(or catches) to get back to the beginning.
So for example Rachid alternates between Right, Left and Left, Right, between Inside/Outside and Outside/Inside. Shamira alternates between R L R and L R L, O I O and I O I.
I think that by now you can work these things out, but here are some other fun combinations:

2/1
One version of this pattern is a real standard although it is usually done one juggler behind the other. The juggler juggling the 1 ends up throwing it back and forth to herself.
The other version is rather delightfully unexpected and gives some interesting hand weaving.

4/3
Straightforward.

5/3, 4/2, 11/3 and so on ad infinitum.

More Complexity
Let's go further by adding one more segment.

3/3/2
Rachid does 3 catches, Shamira does 3 catches, Rachid does 2 catches and it starts all over again with the roles reversed, Shamira does 3 catches, Rachid does 3 catches Shamira does 2 catches and we are right back to where we started. The pattern has three segments and two jugglers so each juggler will end up doing every part of the pattern. This pattern can hurt the mind.

3/2/1
I found this particularly difficult to learn.

2/2/1 and 2/1/1
These are total brain melters, monitor how long it is before you can have a conversation at the same time.

5/3/1, 2/3/1, 11/2/124 or 2/1/2/3 or 4/17/2/124
Needless to say you can add as many segments as you desire.

Different Positions (Illustration 18)
Some of these positions are illegal in some countries.

The above is an extract from the leaflet for the Patterns video which contains all of the above plus a lot more and is available from Gandini Video Productions at £17.50 + £2,50 p&p.