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Juggler entertains youth

POSTED: August 1, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Mark Watkins Dawson Community News/

Juggler Todd Keys was the final performer of the Dawson County Library’s summer reading program.

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The Dawson County Library treated local kids to Todd Key's world class juggling show as part of the national Summer Reading Program. The program holds free events and encourages kids to check books out from the library.

"We offer six free shows over the summer and Todd was our finale," said Tracey Walker, programs coordinator.

"It usually ranges from things like jugglers ... to story tellers, to musicians, something that highlights the arts in some form," she said.

The program pulls performers from across Georgia, many of which are well known in their field.

"I've been all over the world for juggling. This is just a niche of some of the things that I do. I really like doing [library shows], in fact, these are some of my favorite things to do," Key said.

Traveling to 14 countries and more than 50 military bases, Key has performed at venues including the White House, with Cirque du Soleil and at Renaissance festivals.

As a comedic juggler, Key engages his audience through jokes and stories and uses his traditional theater training as a foundation for his shows.

"I went to school for theater and it's impossible to make a living as an actor. I found this kind of as a niche of performance theater and in this niche you can make a living," Key said.

Living in Buford, he performs for libraries across the nation as part of their programming.

Beyond providing entertainment for children, the program seeks to reinforce the importance of reading.

"There's been a lot of research that has shown that if kids don't read over the summer, they digress," Walker said. "So, when they start school back, they are starting at a lower level than they ended last year with."

The program draws support from county funding for the library and donors and supporters in the local community.

"We've had really good numbers in the past few years. A lot of members of the community have come out to show their support," Walker said.

This summer, county commissioners visited each week to introduce performers.

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