Anthony Gatto

 1982 Most Spectacular


Anthony Gatto’s Bio from his website:


Born in Manhattan New York in 1973 Anthony Gatto was destined to forever change the face of the juggling world. Early in his childhood his family moved to Ellicott City , Maryland and it was there at the age of four that Anthony picked up his first ball to embark on a most incredible journey as a professional juggler. Coached by Nick Gatto an ex vaudeville entertainer and member of the famous Los Gatos acrobatic trio Anthony seemed to have a profound feel and understanding of object manipulation. At age 8 Anthony entered his first international juggling competition only to walk away with a gold medal.


From there he made an appearance on the television show "That's Incredible". It was on this television show that he was noticed by a talent agent that would later bring him to Paris to compete at the Festival Mondial. Anthony was just nine years old. Again he came away victorious having won the gold medal competing against all types of circus artists.


Anthony was offered numerous contracts from America to Australia and by age ten Anthony was playing the Flamingo Hilton on the famous Las Vegas strip. It was the only time such a prodigy had been a featured act in the glamorous shows of Las Vegas.During these years Anthony made periodic appearances throughout Europe even performing at the Royal Command Performance for her Majesty the Queen Mother. In addition he competed in circus festivals in Italy , Belgium , and Mexico and earned the gold medal at all of those festivals.


He performed steadily and practiced diligently while growing up. During his late teenage years Anthony broke every major juggling record that existed and continued breaking his own records consistently. Even to this day Anthony holds all of the meaningful juggling records. In the year 1998 Anthony performed in Branson Missouri where he met his wife Danielle who was then a professional dancer. They were married in 1999 and just six months later Danielle joined the act and added a new flair as Anthony's assistant.


One of the highlights of his career came in the year 2000 when Anthony competed in the Festival International Du Cirque De Monte Carlo. This is the absolute most important competition in the circus world and no juggler had ever taken a gold home. This pressure did not seem to faze this amazing juggler. Once again Anthony's ability would lead him to victory and he walked away with a gold.


Since then he has continued to play the worlds top venues including Lido De Paris, Tiger Palast, Wintergarten Varieté, Monte Carlo Sporting Club and many many more. With all of his accomplishments and uncanny ability Anthony has been dubbed as "The World's Greatest Juggler" and to this day he continues to push the limits of human ability and lifts the art of juggling to unreachable standards.



Following Article Published in March 1983:


Anthony Gatto A Tiny Tower Of Juggling Talent

Proving at age 9 that nothing is impossible!


By BiIl Giduz, editor

Davidson , North Carolina


Anthony Gatto's January jaunt to Paris will be recalled by entertainment historians in the future as the launching pad for his professional juggling career. A few people around his Ellicott City, Maryland , home have seen him perform at corporate parties, and several hundred IJA members watched in astonishment as he won the 1981 Juniors competition and placed second in the U.S. Nationals this past summer.


Actually, millions of television viewers have already seen him during an often-rerun appearance on "That's Incredible." But in Paris, knowledgeable and influential circus and nightclub managers from around the world saw Anthony win a gold medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain (International Circus of Tomorrow).


The contract offers began pouring in, and unless fate intervenes cruelly, they won't stop until Anthony himself does. His father, trainer, and chief cheerleader, Nick, accompanied Anthony to Paris while his mother, Barbara, stayed home to take care of the rest of the family and mind the pipe shop.   "I'll miss him; he's only nine years old. I'm not ready to let him go," said Barbara before he left.


She couldn't have known at that time that Anthony would win, but her comment bespoke the terrible knowledge that her son would be leaving home for good.  That motherly emotion hints at an aspect of Anthony that the entertainment world knows, and cares, very little about - that besides being a phenomenal juggler, he's just a mother's normal son.


But after four years of practice in dad's pipe shop in the local shopping mall, it is time for the 4'3", 60-pound "wunderkind" to take his place among other world-class juggling entertainers.   He shows signs of surpassing them all. An aunt of the great Rastelli, upon seeing Anthony perform in Paris , said Gatto was more accomplished than Rastelli at that young age.


She and 6,000 other spectators witnessed him demonstrate mastery of five clubs, control of seven balls and rings and combinations of balance and juggling appropriate for the classiest big tops of the world. He received a standing ovation and several curtain calls from the audience, and was interviewed on a popular French television show by host Michel Drucker.


He was the only American competitor among the more than 30 entrants, and the only Western performer and only juggler to win one of the five gold medals. Other winners were three Chinese performers and a Mongolian contortionist.

Before the week was over, Anthony had flown to Hollywood to film another segment of "That's Incredible," been interviewed for a "People" magazine feature and flown off to Australia for an 11-week all-star circus tour.


It's a totally different view of life from that of a mother who sees a child bringing her flowers, playing on the living room floor with his brother and nursing to health an injured turtle he has found squashed in the road. As all child-stars do, Anthony now finds himself uprooted from the familiar environment of a family, pets, and schoolmates, cast into the lifestyle of a profes­sional performer. Adjusting to the lifestyle will probably be a far more difficult task than keeping all those objects aloft and in balance, but those close to him have no doubts he'll make the adjustment successfully.

Hardly old enough to see over the dashboard of mom's car, Anthony Gatto already juggles as well as the pros.

Hardly old enough to see over the dashboard of mom's car, Anthony Gatto already juggles as well as the pros.


His career manager, Guy Theron, a from Reno , Nevada , a former circus star himself, calls Anthony "one of the best jugglers I've ever seen, an 'enfant prodige'.   Theron, who has also booked Dick Franco, predicts that Anthony will be better than Franco. Theron said, "He enjoys his work, and that's very important."


Theron said he would like for Anthony to begin his career by appearing with circuses in Europe , because he says the sophisticated audiences on that continent will appreciate his skill more than American crowds. "In Europe , they watch the circus like they are watching the Bolshoi Ballet," he said.

Anthony's path to stardom was paved by his parents, both of whom were professional performers before settling down to civilian jobs in Ellicott City . Beginning at age 18, Nick performed until 1968 as a juggler and one of three acrobats comprising "Los Gattos," a troupe that appeared in Broadway shows and twice on the Ed Sullivan television show. Barbara performed on the flying trapeze for two years in the New York City area with "The Leonardos. ' ,


Barbara remembers the family passing clubs in the kitchen of their home and baby Anthony coming in to say, "Me too!" They told him he was too young, and gave him a paper cone to practice balancing on his nose. Anthony soon progressed to balancing a broom on his nose in the pipe shop, where people would protest, "That kid's going to get a flat nose!"


When he was five, he learned to cascade three balls. Since then, he has practiced at least two hours a day after school in a small 10-by-25 foot area between a glass display case and the back wall in Nick's pipe and tobacco shop. The ceiling is only 10 feet high, fragile objects surround him and people always gawk, but these less-than-ideal conditions haven't slowed Anthony's progress a bit.


Aside from natural talent, Anthony has an able coach. A professional performer himself, Nick has been able to direct his son's practice toward saleable tricks. As a former physical education instructor in the Baltimore YMCA, Nick knows the value of a strict physical regimen.


People passing by might wonder at Nick's strident instruction. He expresses his disappointment when Anthony falters, painfully urging him, "C'mon, honey, c'mon! Line' em up good! Come on now, concentrate! That's no good! I wanted you to finish the last two tricks with no misses and you've missed them both! That's no good!"


Anthony shows no resentment toward his coach. When asked if he ever gets mad at Nick, he said, "No, I get mad at myself for missing, not him." Anthony was apparently born with extraordinary powers of concentration and an inner calmness that have facilitated his rapid development as a juggler.  Unlike most children his age, he can sit quietly through a two-hour meal at a grown-up restaurant. Before performing recently for a Westinghouse Corporation Christmas party, he sat alone behind stage, passing an hour's time before his act largely in silence and immobility.


On stage, he seems almost dazed, ritualistically tossing balls and clubs into the air with small hands and following their flight with wide, steady eyes. He goes straight to work, never smiles, and only recognizes his audience with an awkward and nervous-looking bow at the end of the act. Nick claims that Anthony's calm demeanor aids his juggling. "You have to keep your emotions under control," Nick says. "If your adrenaline starts flowing, that 12-ounce club in your hand becomes nothing, you get too strong and make mistakes."


His detached behavior in front of audiences caused IJA'ers who watched him at the Cleveland and Santa Barbara conventions to wonder about the personality behind the

face. Nick says people often ask him if Anthony is happy.


"They think I force him or something, but he's actually a very warm and compassionate little boy," Nick said. "I've been working with him strictly on juggling technique and skill. I never want to teach him something he doesn't feel. One of these days he'll find his own style."


Theron, also, doesn't worry about Anthony's lack of charisma on stage at this point. "What we are looking for at this point is skill. What kind of personality can you expect from a child?" Theron asked.


How skillful might Anthony someday be? With every wishbone he pulls, shooting star he sees and birthday candle he blows out, Anthony wishes to someday juggle 11 balls.  He has in mind to outperform his idols, Enrico Rastelli and Sergei Ignatov, to become the greatest juggler. Nick bets he can do it. With all due consideration for his fatherly bias, he said. "I've been around great athletes all my life. but I continue to stand in awe of Anthony."


What delights Nick most is how quickly Anthony learns new tricks. After he learned to juggle four rings. he learned immediately to do it while bouncing a ball on his head. A few minutes later, he could bounce the ball from his head into a four-ring-one-ball cascade pattern.


Anthony can keep the spoon balanced while he sits on the floor and rolls over.

Anthony can keep the spoon balanced while he sits on the floor and rolls over.

The routine he performed in Paris is outlined here:


Anthony shows the Paris audience his "Big Trick".  (Agnes Barrat photo)Begin with five balls, including single tosses under each leg. Five balls overhand above the head. Five ball half-shower. Five ball cascade to four all juggle while bounding one on his forehead. Five ball cascade to neck catch and back into five ball cascade. Five ball cascade to three in one hand, two in the other, back to cascade and switch three to the other hand.


 Toss four balls to Nick and keep one bouncing on the forehead. Nick gives him four rings. Juggle four rings with ball still bouncing on the head. Pull down four rings over the head, still bouncing ball. Take rings back off, go into four ring, one ball cascade.


Get three rings. Seven ring cascade finishing with pull-down of all seven over the head.


Balance pole topped by duck caricature on his forehead while juggling five rings. Toss rings up to catch on the duck's bill.


Juggle seven balls. Five ball cascade while balancing billiard cue with three pockets attached. Juggle three balls and toss them into the pockets.


"Big Trick" - Balance pole on head, hold mouthstick topped with a ball in a cup, spin one ring around one leg, juggle six rings.


Three club routine, including single, double and triple spin back crosses, puts on head, over the shoulder, overhand juggle above the head, two-and-one splits, kickups.


Three clubs with ball bounce on forehead into four object juggle. 


Four clubs with fifth balanced on the forehead, drops the fifth down into a five club cascade.



Anthony shows the Paris audience his "Big Trick". 

(Agnes Barrat photo)

he symbols of world-renown - Anthony with his Paris medal.

Nick Gatto, Anthony's father, uses his personal experience to coach his son.

(left) The symbols of world-renown - Anthony with his Paris medal.

(Above) Nick Gatto, Anthony's father, uses his personal experience to coach his son.

He did five clubs for the first time in April 1982. Three months later, he put together three straight runs of over 70 seconds to win fourth place in the IJA five club competition. His favorite trick to practice currently is seven balls. As Nick explained, "He's always liked numbers."


Nick continued, "He can't stand still. He has to continue to make progress or he'll be just another juggler. By the time he's 11 or 12 he'll have to be doing nine balls. He's practically doing eight rings now. "


Anthony's extraordinary balance gets attention in practice, too, with daily workouts at keeping increasingly short objects perched on his nose. He stands beneath a teaspoon with steady grace, squats to the floor, rolls over and stands again without losing control of it. A calendar in the pipe shop is marked with great moments in Anthony's juggling career. December 16, 1982, proclaims with a big exclamation point that Anthony made 70 right-handed tosses of seven balls.


Father and son look to the future in a big way. They practice up to 12 rings by having Anthony toss them to his father rather than trying to catch them himself. Nick explained, "The hardest thing about juggling large numbers is releasing them from your hands cleanly, so we're working on that with this exercise." Stretching it to the limit, Anthony holds nine rings in one hand and attempts to release them one at a time in an even-paced sequence. His small hands are a serious impediment to juggling large numbers at this point, but Nick feels it is best for Anthony to use full-sized props.


Nick tells all who ask that Anthony will be the greatest. He won't stop at being just another Dick Franco, Francis Brunn, Sergei Ignatov, Kris Kremo or Rudy Cardenas, Nick says. He wants Anthony to be the highest paid juggler in the world. "You have to earn a lot of money to get respect as an artiste, and the reason we can command more money than anyone is that he already does more than all the better jugglers around - seven rings, five clubs and the big finish trick. "


Nick points to Anthony's meeting with the late Bobby May after Anthony won the Juniors competition in Cleveland in 1981. May, whom many cite as the greatest American juggler of all time, autographed Anthony's first-place certificate with the prelude, "To the king." But don't forget that this superstar is a little boy. He craves Snickers bars and pizza just like everyone else. He picks up polished stones for Christmas presents because he can get them at two for a quarter.

In he confines of his family and home, he aggravates his older brother Robbie and laughs with glee as he and Robbie tie their socks together and hop around chasing each other through the house. He kids sister Vicky's boyfriend, saying, "Last time you made apple dumplings they tasted worse than spinach!"


Neither he or Robbie have ever missed a day of school, he has a girlfriend and likes bike riding and swimming. He helps grandmother Florence crack and cut up pecans for cookies and falls asleep in the car when he's tired. Normal kid stuff. Ask Anthony why he's become such a good juggler and he replies, "I don't know." Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up and he replies, "An animal doctor and a juggler." Only half right, one would suspect!


Customer's in Nick's pipe shop are often startled to see Anthony practicing in back.

Customer's in Nick's pipe shop are often startled to see Anthony practicing in back.



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