Unicycle performance!!!

Hi everybody!!!

I need your help makig an uni performance (one person) !!

My skills:
Trials: pedal grab, 50 cm jumps, 1m drop down
Free: level 6 + Walk the wheel one footed

The place:
It would be in a spare time place, with cinemas and restaurants, the performance is focused in to the people eating at those restaurants ( Planet hollywood, pizza hut, burguer king … ) all of these in the “street” i mean the audience is gonig to be outside the restaurant at the “terrazas”.

I would like you to tell me anythig you think could work!

I dont know if making a trials structure with palettens would be a good idea, or a free performance whit music…

But any ideas like jokes, gags, free/trials rutines, videos, pics…

Im sure that im not the only one that would appreciate this information!!!

Lots of thanks!!!


mp3 files also acepted!!!

Re: Unicycle performance!!!

there are some good stuff in this thread

i still wish mikefule would write ‘the complete unicycle guide’

Re: Re: Unicycle performance!!!

I suspect that if he did, the thousand page guide would quickly become best seller and be made into a made-for-tv movie.


Re: Re: Re: Unicycle performance!!!

If this is about beer, I wholeheartedly (sp?) agree! (Except for the assumed typo.)

Klaas Bil

I think that quote is from the Strong Bad e-mail “Property of Ones”

Re: Re: Unicycle performance!!!

Thank you for the compliment, but…

I know more about writing than I know about unicycling. All I do is ‘middle distance’ cross country, easy MUni, and the most basic of freestyle skills. I’m competent and experienced, but not highly skilled.

The stuff I wrote about performance on that thread was extrapolated from my experience of a Fool/dancer with a Morris team. My ‘performances’ on the unicycle, such as they are, are much briefer and more improvised than that. I use the unicycle as a prop, rather than doing a unicycling show.

The main point, though, is that the public will be interested by a good performance, rather than by a display of skills. Style over content, every time, for a general audience.

Any of you work as unicyclist???

Sure, some of u are skilled unicyclist, but i was wondering if any work unicycling, doing exhibitions and that kind of things???

I know lots of people that are professional jugglers but no one unicyclist, well… some of them use a giraffe with clubs as a big end but thats all!

If you are one of those or even if you have seen one, please… telling me the costumes to wear, music to uni with, tricks to do, any joke… WOULD BE GREAT!!!

Anyway gonna do the performance… so i would tell you i how your sugestions have work, also i can post pics and vids if u want!!!

You have 5 days to help me!!!


:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

( im from sapin so dont be afraid telling me your secrets!! i dont represent any danger for you!!! dont you think???)
Any way you can always use the PM method!!!

We have a clown in our club who showed us something he does that we now do at parades and it always gets a good reaction. Ride around “out of control”. Flailing arms about. Leaning violently this way, that way, front, back. Saying “whoooooa!” Do this rideing towards someone and their eyes get real big. Be sure not to ACTUALLY be out of control. Nothing pisses off an audience like making them bleed.

My doctor told my I had to lose 5 pounds quick!

So I cut my bicycle in 1/2.

That is a good one M Mud. I will use that as my own.:slight_smile: --chirokid–

I find people are much more impressed by me doing other things on the unicycle than they are by me just riding. Juggling, poi and silly stuff on a unicycle. There was a woman at glastonbury who did a whole act based on the fact that she could unicycle in stilletos and put on makeup whilst riding the unicycle and it got a much bigger crowd than some of the more technical acts.

One thing that could go down well, would be to wear two or three layers of clothes in contrasting colours. Have a tape recorder playing some stripper music (I’m not sure where you’re from so I don’t know what would be right in your country, here I think it’s something called “the stripper” but I can’t remember who it’s by). Then ride round shouting that you’re the amazing unicycling chippendale (or whatever male strippers are called there) and that you’re going to strip, live, in the street, whilst riding your unicycle. Then proceed to seductively remove your clothing, except you’ve got another layer underneath.

Have a whistle with you and blow that lots and shout a description of what you’re going to do while you’re trying to get people’s interest up. Like if you’re going to jump over something, ride around telling everyone to watch for your death defying leap, try it a couple of times and fail, then get people to clap you while you’re going for the third try (which you succeed). If you’ve got people’s attention, take your time and talk to them really loudly. Whatever you’re doing, big it up, if you’re riding a giraffe, it’s always 10 feet tall, if you’re jumping off something or gapping from one place to another, you’re going to jump 5 feet down / 2 metres across.


I may repeat myself a bit here, because it’s easier to write than read, edit, reconsider and rewrite…

There are two types of juggler: the juggler who demonstrates a series of technical accomplishments; and the juggler who entertains the crowd.

There is some overlap. However, a good entertainer can keep the crowd going for 5 minutes with a simple three ball pattern and some amusing patter. On the other hand, a good juggler can have the crowd walking away with a vague impression that the juggler was quite clever.

Apply these principles to performing on your unicycle.

So, here’s the show I wouldn’t do, even if I could:

  1. Produce unicycle. 5 seconds.
  2. Sidemount to one footed. 5 seconds.
  3. Idle briefly one footed, then reverse in a circle, one footed. 15 seconds.
  4. Still stand to seat out in front. 5 seconds.
  5. Two footed, ride figure eight, seat out in front. 15 seconds.
  6. Transfer to seat out behind, continue figure eight. 20 seconds.
  7. Drop seat and seat drag in circle, to still stand and jump dismount. 15 seconds.
  8. Kick up mount to hopping. 10 seconds.
  9. Wheel walk idle, then wheel walk off to applause. 15 seconds.

I make that some very clever technical skills, and with good transitions, 95 seconds. I would be very impressed to see it - but I’m a unicyclist. Joe Public wouldn’t know what he’d seen. You’d be tired - and you’d have a long time left to fill.

Here’s a short set piece I might do when out with the Morris:

  1. Produce unicycle. Stand expectantly. Milk applause. 15 - 20 seconds.
  2. Indicate by gesture an intention to mount. 5 seconds.
  3. Position unicycle for standard freemount. 5 seconds.
  4. Freemount, passing right over the unicycle and landing ‘surprised’ in front of it - without dropping it. 5 seconds.
  5. Look surprised. Await applause. 10 seconds.
  6. Repeat 3 - 5 inclusive. 20 seconds.
  7. Position unicycle with exaggerated caution, ready to freemount: 5-10 seconds.
  8. Freemount into jerky, exaggerated idle. Milk the applause. 15 seconds.
  9. Relax into controlled idle. 5 seconds.
  10. ‘Lose control’ and do large jerky idle. 5 seconds.
  11. Catch audience’s attention with gesture. Hold their attention. 10 seconds.
  12. Pull foot up onto crown and idle one footed. Milk the applause. 10 seconds.
  13. Explain, “This isn’t as difficult as it looks. It’s when you take your foot off it gets difficult.” As you’re doing this, casually remove foot from crown and idle with your foot hanging free. Replace foot on crown. 10 seconds.

And so on. Already, we’ve used up a lot more time than in the first ‘show’ and - importantly - used up a lot fewer tricks.

Now, I’m not saying this is the perfect unicycle show, and I’m not saying you should slavishly follow my sequence, my timings, or my presentation. However, look what we’re doing:

(Note; the following numbers do not correspond with the above sequence!)

  1. You’re presenting the unicycle to the crowd.

  2. You’re giving them time to notice it’s a unicycle, and to start to react to it. They’re starting to wonder what’s going to happen. You’re building anticipation.

  3. You’re introducing the idea of you actually riding the thing.

  4. You’re giving them time to react to the idea. They’re wondering, “Can (s)he really ride it?”

  5. You’re building up the anticipation for the first ‘trick’ which is simply getting onto the unicycle. This is a trivial thing for you, but it is a skill that (almost) no one in the audience will ever possess.

  6. You’re getting the laugh with the failed mount - but without making yourself look like a klutz. It will be obvious that you deliberately failed, but the audience plays along with the ‘amusing fiction’ that you couldn’t do it.

  7. You are using the clown’s ‘rule of three’: once to make the joke; once to establish the pattern; the third time to surprise. In this case: fail; fail; succeed.

  8. You are already well into the performance, and all you’ve done is jump on the unicycle. This is a skill that took you hours to learn and weeks to perfect. Why waste it in the first 1 second of the performance?

  9. The idle is the first ‘clever skill’ - not all unicyclists can idle. If you can’t idle, you will be very very limited in what you can achieve as a performer. You will be restricted to zigzagging about waving your arms. But just because the idle is a ‘core skill’, it doesn’t mean that your crowd will take it for granted. Make something of it. Vary the rhythm and speed of the idle; introduce contrast.

  10. You’re causing humorous surprise when you control the idle, then suddenly ‘lose control’. You’ve got the crowd wondering… how good are you?

  11. You’re giving the crowd time to see that you’re about to do something clever… building anticipation…

  12. And the one footed idle is the first really clever skill… and you’ve now established that you are, indeed, a skilled unicyclist.

Already, you’re well into the show, the crowd is interested and laughing WITH you, not irritated by your shouting and loud music, not intimidated by the fear of being run over, and wanting to see what you’ll do next.

Also, you’ve hardly used any floor space. Keeping it confined to a small space minimises the risk of people encroaching on your ‘stage’ and presenting an unforeseen hazard.

So the ‘show’ I’ve started to sketch out starts with simple stuff - trivial stuff - it builds the anticipation, and uses your material slowly as it builds to a conclusion.

Now what about if you have few or no freestyle skills, and you’re a trials person?

Apply the same principle: introduce; build expectation; give ideas time to settle in peoples’ minds; do the easy stuff first; don’t squander skills and energy iin the first minute or two; don’t assume that the stuff that would impress you as a unicyclist will impress them as humble members of the public; keep the audience ‘on side’, willing you to succeed, but laughing with you.

So if your best trick is to jump over a 2 foot barrier? (For example.)

The very last thing you want to do in your show is jump over a
2 foot barrier. What’s left to do after you’ve done that?

So you can ‘gap’ 1.5 metres? Same principle: it’s your best shot, so keep it in your shot locker until the end.

If you can easily jump over a 2 foot bar, what can you find that’s six inches high? Maybe a model bus (Evel Knievel style!) or a row of Action Man dolls.

Or can you recruit members of the crowd (preferably kids of about 8-10) to help you. Spend a LONG time setting up the bar. Use a metre long ruler/yardstick to measure the height.

Will you have a friend to do your announcements?

Traditional joke before a clever trick… “And now… can I have a roll on the drum… and a sandwich on the piano…” (May not work in some dialects of English?)

Build up the tricks. If you have one big trick you can usually but not always do, leave it until last. Build up the expectation. Is there a bit of equipment you’ll need? Leave it on display. Let 'em wait to see how you’ll use it.

So that’s enough on structuring a show.

More follows…

Part two…

Presentation? You can do a lot of shouting, or you can keep it quiet. Shouting is more obvious. It CAN alienate an audience. Quiet presentation, lots of body language and eye contact, draws them in.

Gestures: big and slow. Hold poses for a second or two. Give people time to respond.

To attract and hold attention: make eye contact with one person in the front row. Lean slightly forward. Raise your right index finger, with the back of your hand towards you, and raise your eyebrows at the same time. Open your eyes wider. Hold the pose for a moment, then make a small but positive inclination of the head towards the person with whom you’ve made eye contact.

Now, keeping every part of your body and arm still, rotate your head slowly and smoothly, scanning the audience for someone else ‘friendly’. Find about 2 friendlies, acknowledging them with a slight nod of the head. (Eyebrows still up; eyes still wide.)

And from here, use open handed gestures to indicate the unicycle, or the obstacle to be jumped, etc.

(All this is hard to describe. Practise in front of a mirror, and see what works.)

A general rule is that you hold the crowd’s attention better with clear, precise, slow movements, and you get better results if you isolate parts of your body. So hold everything still except your head and the arm that’s moving. Move your hands with a little bit of a flourish, but not too much.

When you speak, speak no louder than is necessary for your target audience to hear you clearly. Speak more slowly than you normally would. Don’t let the volume ‘tail off’ at the end of sentences.

Milking applause is easy. If the crowd’s on your side, a direct request for applause by word or gesture will usually produce the goods.

I prefer a slightly ironic, self deprecating style. It’s less intimidating for the crowd, and leaves the door open for a graceful recovery if things go wrong. Present yourself as a noisy smart Alec and you may get the wrong sort of applause if a trick or stunt goes wrong.

Working the crowd. A crowd is not a single entity for a street performer. It is a group of individuals, and a group of sub groups. Look for families, couples, school parties, groups of girls, pairs of old ladies…

If there are only three people taking an interest in the performance, those three are your audience. If there are ten watching, there may be 3 ‘sub audiences’ of 3, 3 and 4 people. If the crowd naturally subdivides into small sections, you can hawk the same few tricks and gags around the crowd, using them several times, instead of simply broadcasting your material to the world at large in one big wasteful explosion of talent.

Remember, however good you are as a unicyclist, you only have so many skills, so many tricks, so much energy; however complex those skills, the crowd will tend to lump them all together as ‘clever things on a unicycle’, so a whole series of Level 8 skills is no more entertaining than a show made up of Level 2 and 3 skills, presented well.

Good luck.

Stuff that works in parades…

I haven’t done many shows, but I’ve done quite a few parades, and my experience there matches what others have said. Gimmicks, patter, and charisma are worth far more than technical skills.

We can’t help you with patter and charisma, but we can give you some pointers on gimmicks. But, patter and charisma are still critical - so think about them.
Here’s some examples:

I like juggling clubs on a unicycle in a parade. Audiences think it’s kind of cool. However, for maximum impact I always drop some clubs. Preferably all of them. Then I ride around and pick them up (while on the unicycle), one at a time. It’s important to drop all three because then there’s lots of build up (if they don’t start counting then I sometimes hint that they should). On the third pick-up I always get a huge round of applause. That never happens with just juggling.

Okay, picking up clubs while on the unicycle is actually hard for some. Here’s some other things that aren’t. Riding out of control towards the audience (previously suggested but it does work well). Sneaking up behind people. Sitting in an empty chair, grabbing a drink, chatting with the crowd. Picking up a child and riding around with them. Etc.

My new experimental parade trick is making balloon animals on the unicycle. It just might be brilliant. We will see August 16th.

So, lots of possibilities, but you’ve got to find the gimmicks and patter that work with your charisma.

Good luck.

Re: Stuff that works in parades…

Where will we see August 16th? The Issaquah Chapter of the Dawson Fan Club wants to know…

Re: Stuff that works in parades…

Many years ago, when I used to dress as a clown in Parades (hope I never do that again, makes me look just like Tom :D), I decided to carry a very pretty artificial flower. My goal was to pull it out periodically and give it to some lady along the parade route. The Gimmick, I cut the stem of the flower really short, then filled one of my pockets with a bunch of drinking straws. I would then place a straw over the stem of the flower before offering it to the lady, being careful to always hold the flower close to the base with the straw extended below. When the lady reached for the flower, she would take the end of the straw and I would then ride away with the flower, leaving just the straw in her hand. The crowd would roar with laughter!!!

I would make eye contact from across the road with my intended target, having a look of total sincereity on my face as I rode up to the lady. She would feel so special, almost any lady loves to get a flower. Then, when I left her with only a straw, I would get a great laugh from the crowd, but I hated the look on each of the ladies face. After doing this for 1/2 the parade, I decided to never do it again.

I guess I’m too soft hearted. The crowd loved it, but it was at the expense of someone besides myself. I can still remember dreaming this gimmick up and being so excited to try it. Those ladies just had such sad looks on their faces, I just couldn’t continue the act. Never have done it again. Only that one parade! --chirokid–

I like the flower gag. If you dreamed that up yourself, then you are a talented updreamer.

To soften the impact on the victim, you would need to offer her something as a consolation. Consider this:

Assuming you are right handed, you offer her the flower with your right hand. She takes the flower. You exit to the left keeping the flower head, and leaving her with the stalk. As you exit left, you turn almost full circle. You look surprised/whimsical and give the whole audience chance to see what’s happened with the flower.

Now you continue the turn until you’re facing the victim again. You produce some small but genuine token with your left hand, and thank her quietly with a friendly wink and smile.

The advantages:

You get the laugh from the crowd.

You repair any damage to the victim’s sensibilities.

You are seen to be courteous, which makes other members of the crowd less nervous of you.

The disadvantage: it costs you in ‘tokens’ (smaller flowers, nice chocolates, etc. This means you can only do it so many times.

It may be too expensive for a parade gag, but would be ideal as a one off in a set piece show.

I love it.

Re: Re: Re: Unicycle performance!!!


Over the weekend there was a festival on in my town. I didn’t know anything about it, until my friend (Mark) and I both went down on our unis to get some films for the cameras.

We couldn’t find any street entertainment, but on the way home, we found a clown in the back of his car. We stopped to talk to him. He was quite old, and he’s showed us some diabolo and stuff. He wasn’t really good, but he could do it.
He said that he knows he’s not really good, but he is entertaining.

He said he was once working in a super market with this guy who was really really good with a devil stick, and the crowd started booing him. After the guy with the devil stick had finished, the clown came out with a spinning plate, and was telling jokes and just messing around, and having a good time…

He said that the other guy with the devil stick was too good, and not enjoying it enough.

It don’t matter how good you are, as long as you enjoy it!

Good Luck,


You have resurrected this gimmick for me. Now, to come up with a nice consolation prize for the ladies??? Hummmm! --chirokid–