...Keith Leaf grew up in the circus,
but ran away with a normal family ...


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Biography for Keith Leaf – Amazing Fire Juggler (1970 – Present)

        Just like the great-but-not-yet-late sword swallower Johnny Fox, Keith Leaf grew up in the circus, but he ran away with a normal family in NY. This, unfortunately, was before he learned any circus skills. In 1978 during the Third Avenue Street Fair, he volunteered for a juggler who had Keith stand in front of him. The juggler tossed balls and then knives around young Keith, forming patterns that captivated seven year-old and made him long to learn how to juggle. This longing persisted unfulfilled for almost a decade, which is one of the reasons Keith enjoys teaching children today: giving them opportunities he would have like to had himself.

     In high school, Keith would try to juggle anything. He juggled eggs behind his mother’s back, knowing that if she saw, he would get in trouble. He still had not met any other jugglers and had little inspiration. Finally, almost another decade later, on a trip around the world, he met some street and fire performers in New Zealand. They took him to his first juggling festival. There he caught the ‘juggling bug,’ pun intended, and has never stopped. Back in the US, he went to the 50th Anniversary Intentional Juggling Festival, where he learned how to pass clubs with other jugglers and experienced the incredible possibilities of partner juggling.

    He finally decided to go to college in California and for many years was bi-coastal, splitting his time between NY and Cali. A late bloomer, Keith graduated from Cabrillo College when he was thirty, with a degree in philosophy/religion. ‘Kids stay in school’. While at Cabrillo, he founded the Juggling Club, served as its president for four years, and was an active member of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Circus Society, now defunct. Next, Keith began traveling the US as an itinerant juggler, going from one festival to the next, meeting and learning from fellow jugglers and performing along the way.

    Keith’s circus education and training includes participation in all the Motionfest Performing Art Festivals in Baltimore. He has completed the Coney Island Side Show Workshop, participant in numerous juggling nights at S.F. Circus School, and worked for the National Circus Project, teaching and performing in schools for many years. He has taught workshops in fire juggling at the International Juggling Association Festival and has taught unique passing patterns at regional festivals. Keith also teaches circus arts at many summer camps, schools and after school programs, as well as to his own daughter 7 year old stilt walker C.C. Bellini.

    Over his career, Keith has achieved many awards. He was four clubs winner at the Lincoln Nebraska Festival; diabolo high toss winner at Millbrea Regional Fest; five ball winner at the Millbrae, Davis, Lincoln Festival; first place winner of the Karamazov look-a-like contest at the International Juggling Festival in Buffalo; and three quarter winner and runner up at many festivals, such as the Philly Fest where he placed in the category of one-footed juggling.

    Keith debuted as a public performer in Key West Florida at Mallory Square. Now a long-time and popular entertainer (See Past Performances), object manipulator, and variety performer, Keith has appeared at prestigious venues throughout North America and afar. His amazing comedy and fire juggling routines captivate audiences of all ages. He lives in East Hampton, Long Island—with his daughter, her mother, their dog Phoebe, two cats, a hamster, and land hermit crab—where he shares his passion for juggling through teaching and performing.