The following article first appeared in the fourth-quarter 2007 issue of JUGGLE magazine, the official publication of the International Jugglers' Association. The publisher has kindly given permission to reproduce it here.
Flats with shaker cups involve releasing the top cup of a two-cup nesting stack, so the top cup flies straight up and down, with no flip. While the top cup flies free, place the just-emptied cup that remained in your hand to nestle into the third cup, which you hold in the other hand.
Begin with the black cup in your right hand, and the white cup in your left hand. Place the striped cup so it nestles inside the black cup. Both hands use the standard, shake-hands grip to hold the cups, with the mouths of all three cups pointing up.
There are three basic moves to each beat: a flick, a pass, and a catch. The flick is how you release the top, nested cup in the two-cup stack so the just-released cup flies straight up and down as a Flat. The pass is transferring a cup from one hand to nestle into the cup that is in the other hand. The catch is a simple catch of the cup that you toss up as a Flat. Notice that you catch the descending cup with your empty hand, not with another cup.
Both hands alternate the beats. It takes six beats to complete a full cycle, which returns all three cups to their original positions.
First Beat: Bring you right hand straight down, and then swing your right hand straight up briskly enough so the striped cup slides up and out of the black cup. Ideally, the striped cup flies up and down as a Flat, with little or no spin. Don't let go of the black cup. While the striped cup is in the air, move your right hand over your left hand, and drop the black cup into the white cup. Bring your empty right hand back to the right side of your body, and catch the falling striped cup with your right hand.
Second Beat: Use your left hand, holding on to the white cup, to flick the black cup straight up and out of the white cup. Place the white cup into the striped cup, which is in your right hand. Catch the black cup in your left hand.
Third Beat: Swing your right hand down and up to release the white cup from the striped cup. Pass the striped cup from your right hand, so the striped cup nestles into the black cup, which is in your left hand. Catch the white cup in your right hand.
Fourth Beat: Swing your left hand down and up, so the striped cup slides up and out of the black cup. Use your left hand to drop the black cup into the white cup, which is in your right hand. Catch the striped cup in your left hand.
Fifth Beat: Release the black cup from the white cup with a quick down-and-up swing of your right hand. Put the white cup in the striped cup. Catch the black cup in your right hand. (see illustrations)
Sixth Beat: Flick the white cup straight up and out of the striped cup with your left hand. While the white cup is in the air place the striped cup in the black cup. Catch the white cup in your left hand.
This completes a full sequence of the pattern. The cups are back in their original positions. Repeat the first beat to begin a second cycle.
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