Give & Take 


a hand painted folk bus with wonderful as it's destination

The bus to wonderful 

dave pointing to a cigar box

Dave Gillies ~ Founder

by Eric Geoffrey

We’ve often heard Dave say “Being a teacher is not like being a gardener: you don’t always know how those seeds are going to grow, or if they do, if it’s because of what you did.”  

Perhaps Dave was always more of a gardener than a teacher, having been lured away from teaching by the myriad joys of performing.  Having tended the Give & Take garden for over  40 years, the Give & Take community has grown in decidedly wondrous ways under his care.  Throughout this time he has nurtured a rich cast of characters, largely due to his generosity of spirit and passion for creating something beautiful.  

Dave chose the name Give & Take right from the start because he recognized that the sweetest moments in any performance were the ones that involved interactions with the audience and created a true connection.  The performance style of Give & Take has never been “Look at me! See what I can do!”, but instead, says “Let’s discover what we can create together”.  It is a true dialogue, with the performers facilitating the conversation through their skills, and every show has its own character because of it.

The title for Dave’s biography will be something along the lines of “Who starts walking on tightwires as they approach their 70’s?” as it alludes to his un-suppressible spirit that has always defined the presentation of his shows, as well as his continual exploration of craft.

Dave did discover tightwire walking later in life, and it has become his happy place, feet in the air, heart afloat, more akin to the birds than the rooted beings of the earth. He has spent an increasing amount of time each year pursuing the art and technique of tightwire walking and rigging in many exotic places around the world,  often in relation to water.  There is a profound peace to be found in such a literal balance aloft in the gentle breezes of imagination.

Recently Dave has stepped back to admire his flourishing garden from his perch upon a tightwire, and cordially invites you to visit his personal webpage ~

dave balancing a stack of cigar boxes in the woods
a tight wire walker with a balancing pole and moai in the background

Passengers on the bus

oil painting of the give and take jugglers at the mercer museum folk festival

Nick Gregory ~ principal partner for 30+ yrs.

I grew up in Wayland, Massachusetts with a large playful family. I loved anything to do with a ball. Soccer, tennis, marbles or jacks. Shooting hoops, tether ball, step ball, football, baseball, ping pong. Or just catch and snowball shenanigans with my sisters.

Temple University gave me a full scholarship to play tennis and I ended up in the theater school.

My influences were the Fantasy Jugglers of Harvard Square, the Swiss clown Dimitri who played several musical instruments at once, and Bill Irwin. I thank an old girl friend for sharing everything she learned from Hovey Burgess in a Circus Arts class at Sarah Lawrence College.

I like our dogs Taj and Tuku, walking in the Wissahickon woods, making music, living in the co-op city of Weavers Way, and I love being married to Mu. I look forward to more years of advancing the art of playing catch.

smiling nick holding up his hat

Erica Sabin ~ The Epiphany

The Academy of Music, The Opera Company of Philadelphia’s 2007 season, the festive opening scene of Verdi’s Rigoletto: counts and countesses, dancers and jugglers… juggler is impressed by dancer, dancer joins Give & Take.

In preparation for this epiphany, Erica studied dance and theater for two years at Fredonia State University in New York near her native Buffalo (she is a Sabers fan, sorry about that), danced with Sankofa African Dance and Drum Ensemble while studying at SUNY Brockport, and attended Edna Manley College in Kingston, Jamaica on a full performance-based scholarship. (You can ask about her recipe for ackee.)

Erica was graduated cum laude from SUNY Brockport with a BS in Dance and Political Science, and received the Political Science Outstanding Student Award as well as the All American Scholar Award.

In addition to her work with Give & Take, Erica currently performs with Samba Productions and The Bistro Romano Dinner Theater. She recently choreographed an impressive solo piece for the Influx Dance Series. Look for her in the background of your favorite Bollywood film, or in San Diego.

tight wire performing balancing sideways

Kiva Ford -

Kiva was raised on a small sheep farm just outside of Milford, New Jersey. He enjoyed the team sports of soccer and baseball, but living a mile from the nearest road, he spent a lot formative time outside, and in the woods finding wild mushrooms, especially that finest of edible fungi, the elusive morel.

Kiva has been a friend of Devin Bird since the 2nd grade. Devin introduced him to juggling in 1999 and he has been hooked ever since, learning the ins and outs of performing with Give & Take and their associates and alumni.

After graduating from Salem Community College with a degree in Scientific Glass Technology, Kiva was invited to work for a major pharmaceutical company in the custom glass shop, where his main responsibilities were fabricating custom glassware for Research and Discovery Chemistry. He also enjoys working in his personal glass shop and creating artistic glass sculptures and goblets.

Kiva also likes playing the bass guitar, listening to rock and roll music, being with friends, and enjoying every day.  Kiva admires Homer Simpson, Groucho Marx, Arthur Rimbaud, and the world-renowned master of lampworked glass, Cesare Toffolo.  He lives in South Bend Indiana, runs the scientific glass department at Notre Dame University, and recently became a father.

kiva looking at a show

John O’Brien

John joined Give & Take as an apprentice in 1990 while being home-schooled. Several years later he said to Dave, “We should get a website,” to which Dave countered, “What’s a website? We just got a fax machine!” Thinking he was merely indulging this up-and-coming computer geek, Dave acquiesced, “ Oh, sure. Why not?”

In the fall of 2002, John went on extended hiatus to attend the University of Coloado at Boulder. Six years later he finally returned from the foothills of the Rockies having earned a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in Electrical and Computer Engineering (2006), and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (2008). Among his accomplishments: being selected for a 2005 NIST SURF internship where he worked on the atomic clock; and receiving a graduate research fellowship from Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials—now Nuvotronics—for electromagnetic design and development of microfabricated radio frequency systems (Si Pak and PolyStrata).

John then took a position with an aerospace company as a Communications Systems Engineer to design computer networks for satellites. In early 2013, John moved on to the latest chapter upon accepting a job at the University of Pennsylvania, in the Network Engineering, Research, and Development group, which has a very appropriate acronym.

When he isn’t tinkering with computers and electronics, John loves to take pictures and fly airplanes.

diabolo chinese yoyo performers at street fair

Devin Bird

Devin is an artist with a broad yet peculiar vision. He is both fun loving and a bit enigmatic. Smiling, whistling, driving a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle, he pursues the extraordinary and impractical.

As a young boy he saw Give & Take performing at the Mercer Museum Fair in Doylestown and soon became an apprentice with the company as part of his home schooling. In addition to juggling and riding the unicycle, he sings, writes songs, and plays drums and hammered dulcimer. He is skilled as a blacksmith, and does specialized metal and woodworking for the Smithsonian Institute. His atelier/salon in Bucks County is a favorite haunt of musicians and artists.

Devin is a dual citizen of both the United States and Great Britain and he has lived in five different countries. His secondary education was obtained in Europe studying at Le Petit College d’Art in Lyon, France, Design Academy Eindhoven in Holland, and University of the Arts in London. He loves boats, puns and being impulsive. He admires Buster Keaton and Bill Irwin.

ball juggler playing with audience at a festival

David Cousin -

Juggler David Cousin is a holder of 5 world records in juggling. He has performed professionally for both children and adults since 1980. The formerly Philadelphia based juggler relocated to California, performing both locally and internationally. His comedy juggling show consists of audience involvement, interaction, and music.

As a member of the Give & Take Jugglers David opened for John “Cougar” Mellencamp on concert tour, performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra in their children’s concerts and for the Philadelphia Flyers’ holiday parties.

He was featured in a national television special with Dick Clark and on Evening Magazine. He has appeared in a commercial for Showboat Hotel and Casino and made several television news channel appearances.  He resides in Southern California. 

juggler balancing a club and styling

Keith Eveslage -

Since being inspired by a magic set at age nine, Keith, of The Keith Show!, has had an interest in learning cool tricks and funny stunts. A few years later, after learning to juggle, he added useless skills to his repertoire. In 1982, at the age of 15, he was first paid to perform for a birthday party. People were delighted. Keith was amazed, thinking, “My skills now have a purpose!” 

Keith began street performing at Philadelphia’s Newmarket while still in high school. He performed with Eric as a member of the Give & Take Jugglers at a wide array of malls, colleges, and high schools, while continuing to perform solo at parties. He continued to squeeze a few street performances in at Harvard Square while studying theater at Emerson College in Boston. 

After honing his chops with two to three performances every night for four months at the famous Key West sunset celebration, Keith moved west. Based in San Francisco since 1990, he has continued to sharpen his skills by performing from street to stage. Keith has had the opportunity to study with some of the world’s top performers by attending workshops and seminars in juggling, circus related skills, movement, comedy writing, and overall performance. Even with twenty years experience in engaging audiences, The Keith Show is an ongoing work and is constantly improving.

keith holding 3 green juggling balls

Thien Phuc

Thien and Dave met on the street in Philadelphia on July 4, 1976.  They worked together busking at NewMarket for three years, learning a great deal from the experience and from each other. Phuc (pronounced “Foo”) is currently doing the cruise ship circuit and raising a family in Daytona Beach FL.

two fire jugglers street performing

Page Richards

One of Dave's greatest joys as a teacher and mentor is to have a student or apprentice learn, be inspired, and exceed him. No one did this more than Page. As a young performer Page contributed to the success of the troupe not only with her formidable juggling skills,

but also with her insights into the art of performing. Her

observations such as “make it good and it will make a space

for itself" continue to shape the artistic choices of the company.

Page is currently teaching poetry and theater at the University of

Hong Kong and working with the HKU Guild.

b&w club jugglers playing with a hat

Alexa Cox

Alexa worked with us while she completed her studies at Project Learn and Girls High.

3 jugglers posing in front of a banner

Peter Gerber

Peter, who can do five clubs with back crosses, came from his native Bavaria as an exchange student to study and perform with us for one year.  Peter is currently married with two children and is a physician in Bavaria.

performer balancing a rose on his nose

Stephen McMenniman

Fifth grade student Stephan McMenamin excelled at club passing and after fifteen years discovered what it was that Dave liked about Bob Dylan.

Tom VanVoorhees

Tommy apprenticed with us while getting through Abington Jr and Sr HS. Now managing a cheese shop in Oregon and bringing up son Oliver.

Joel Shepard

Another one of the fifth grade prodigies, Joel performed with the company for several years, then left to find more excitement jumping out of airplanes in defense of our country.

Matt Baum

Matt of Doylestown, expertly coached by Elsa, did many shows with us while at Central Bucks West.

Visit the archive of historical G&T photos, or get in touch for an upcoming event!

elementary school assembly program family entertainment fair festival carnival circus show community performance Cub Scout banquet blue and gold dinner country club holiday event party library programming summer reading series performer book celebration Interactive walk around entertainment ambient presences  circus workshops school residency programs tightwire instruction circus aerial silks trapeze tightrope Philadelphia Pennsylvania New Jersey Delaware Maryland  tight wire high wire New York carnival 

© Copyright 2024 The Give & Take Jugglers


logo of the give and take jugglers

This website makes use of cookies. Please see our privacy policy for details.