Originality in casual performances

What are your thoughts on people who mainly perform other people’s tricks during performances, as opposed to trying to create a completely original one?

I ask because I’m generally one of the former. I’ve been yoyoing on and (mostly) off for several years, and never really had the time to create a completely original trick routine when I do casual performances like a local fundraiser or something. I generally do tricks I learned from other people’s performances or tutorials I see online. I do have a few original tricks, but the majority comes from elsewhere.

Learning a trick from a youtube video is easier for me and a lot faster, and generally much more impressive looking than something I could create myself. Although if I do get a trick down, I’ll try to add my own touch to it as well, or incorporate its elements into other tricks.

I’m not referring to actual competitions though, as that would probably be frowned upon.

So what are your thoughts? I’m not trying to pass anything off as my own but it is hard to give credit for tricks you perform. Some of my favourite yoyoers have amazing tricks that I just have to learn and show others though.

In the end we are all using somebody’s elements when we’re doing tricks. However if I were competing, I would probably refrain from…let’s use as example…the Gentry Stein combo you got when you ordered your shutter. It’s slick-looking but at the same time I feel like I’d be trying to impersonate somebody. On the flipside, when working on his trick I decided to rip it apart and “steal” some elements…I mean, I got inspired by some of the elements and am using a couple for a combo I’m working on right now.

In yoyoing, there is no stealing, just inspiration :slight_smile:

i think it depends on the performance.

for years, players have said that “tricks aren’t created or destroyed - just discovered”. you might be the first to “find” a trick, but once you release it into the world, it’s out there for everyone. that said, a huge component of yo-yoing is developing an original style, and it could be argued that you aren’t doing much for the art of yo-yoing if your performances don’t express your own personality or “spirit of exploration”.

if you went to see a magician/comedian/musician who exclusively does material that other people came up with, it would feel kind of lame and stale. on the other hand, most people in the audience would have no idea, wouldn’t care, and might really want to see the classic schtick like “sawing the lady in half” (or yell out for “freebird”). when i do my small shows around town for non-yoyoers, i take time to go through the classics they associate with yo-yoing, and then later get into my own stuff.

i think if the performance “comes off” as though you came up with the tricks you’re performing when you didn’t (i.e. in a freestyle or performance for other players), that’s really weak. but if you’re just showing off yo-yo tricks to people who you hope to draw in, doing other peoples’ material is just like playing other peoples’ songs on the piano. people like to hear a well-crafted song, regardless of who wrote it. there’s no “stealing” in yo-yoing, but there is trying to “take credit” for material which others discovered. probably no one will ever call you on that, so it’s a judgment call. it’s about how YOU feel about your performance.

i’ll grant you, i’m someone for whom essentially all the value of yo-yoing is found in discovery, and i can’t remember the last time i took time to learn someone else’s material (beyond basic elements here and there).


Dang Ed, that’s well put!

Agreed. I stopped learning tricks at about skin the gerbil, and haven’t learned another trick since. Granted, doing so has no doubt hindered my progress, but it means that it’s even more satisfying when you discover a new element for yourself. :slight_smile: I really wanted to five my own style, and I figured that the best way to do that was from the ground up.

Still, each to their own. Yoyoing means different things to different people, so do what makes you happy.

For local fundraisers and demos, I don’t see a problem at all. However, if you take to the worlds stage with a Shutter doing black hop combos to “Razor Sharp”, expect a few sour looks. :stuck_out_tongue:

I ordered a shutter and mine didn’t come with the gentry trick :rage:

Great answer, a lot of the stuff I try to learn comes from my favourite yoyoers; the guys that got me into it in the first place. I suppose it’s my way of honouring them, just like, how you said, people cover songs from artists they like.

So (for me) this raises the question: You’ve combined 2 elements together. How would one really know if it’s really original? Or if you thought you created an element and messed with it only to find that same element on a tutorial on another website.

I don’t see a problem with using other peoples tricks when it comes down to performances for non yoyo players. If you have two yoyo players do the same trick there will be a noticeable difference. Difference in speed, body language, and the motion of a technique. It’s the way you do a trick that counts. We all throw a trapeze! ;D

Casual performances they probably don’t matter, but if you copied a lot in a competitive performance it’s probably wouldn’t turn out too well

I think about the same thing. I combine elements to make tricks and combo’s; of my creation. I (as well as many) create certain movements or combo’s inspired from many players in general. I talked to and asked a lot of pro’s these types of question’s and most of them give me an answer along the lines of
" It doesn’t really matter, as long as you know that it is special to you, then it can be what ever you could create. Yoyoing can mean different things to others, but what it means to you personally; is what matters. At the end of the day, it’s all just about having a great time :D"

Good point. I essentially look at everything like this: We have these trick lists, and some “key tricks” as seen on the Sport Ladder…all containing many important key elements we should all know. We aren’t bound to just these sport ladder tricks though, we are here to mess with the tricks, mutate them, rip elements from them and build something new. Think of it this way: you’re given a bucket of basic Legos, typical 2x2 and 2x4 bricks. You can build things but you’re limited by just those 2x2’s and 2x4’s. Down the road you acquire more sets with more variety of brick shapes and types. Now you’re able to create more complex things since you have a bigger variety of Legos to work with. And sure, you can build what the instructions show you, or you can just do your own custom creation. The yoyo ladder tricks are like pre-made Lego sets. Some have more elements than others and the more you learn the more complex and unique you can make your trick/combo.

I still have yet to actually create some crazy mount from the ground up, I primarily work off of the mounts I already know (Trapeze, Bucket, Wrist Mount, Double or NOthing, Houdini…you get the idea). It’s just from there we can go off different paths.

I honestly don’t know why it’s a big deal about originality in like a galant show performance, half of the people there can’t even tell what your doing half the time with the string. Nevermind, if the people can tell what’s original or not, your lucky if they can figure out how I just did that brain twister.