It is with great sadness that I bring the news of Yukihiro Suzuki (known onstage as YukkiYoYo) passing away on the 27th June 2012. My heart goes out to his friends and family and I thought it might be fitting to share a few thoughts here…
Around 2000 when internet videos were starting to really open my eyes to the wider yo-yo community I came across a few videos of a ridiculously talented boy doing things with two yo-yos that I didn’t know we’re possible. I’d watch them over and over hoping some of it might rub off.
In 2002 I watched Yukkis worlds freestyle, it floored me. It was the most raw freestyles I’d ever seen (and possibly will ever see). Such style and energy.
A few years later in France I had the pleasure to meet Yukki in person, I remember being genuinely nervous meeting someone who I had admired and watched for years. Yukki struck me as a humble, kind and generous person. I spoke to him about circus school and performing, at the time I was in a similar position to him, although I was just starting out at circus school.
I remember Yukki talking about originality, being true to yourself on stage and finding your personality in the technique. Sometimes a slightly abstract concept but with Yukki you could really see this ideal on stage.
Yukki had the rare insight and abilities to combine a supreme understanding of technique with a truly unique aesthetic, provoking emotion like any great piece of art. Yukki was a true Yo-Yo Artist.
The world is a worse off place without Yukki, so many audiences robbed of seeing such a talent, ideas the world will never see, such style…. Gone.
I recently performed with the energetic Jon Udry, in Somerset.
I’d been having problems with my Yo-Yos, every six months or so I switch to a new pair of Yo-Yos and it takes a while for them to break in.
Occasionally I get a set which are a little sharp on the edge, this means that they snap strings. If I throw a Yo-Yo hard (easily getting up to 50,000 RPM) and the string were to snap and the Yo-Yo hit someone, it would hurt. A lot. Even if it doesn’t hit anyone it would leave me on stage looking rather foolish.
So as you can imagine it’s something I’m rather careful to check. In over a decade of performing with Yo-Yos I’ve never snapped a string on stage. When I get a new set of Yo-Yos I can tell very quickly if it’s going to snap strings.
But at this gig I realised as I was setting my props, that I might have picked up the wrong set at home. This understandably worried me a bit, I double checked and realised it was fine I had the right pair so I set my props and waited to go on.
Onstage when I pulled out my first Yo-Yo it had a bit of a tangle in the middle of the string, bit odd. I figured that it was just a twisted string and all I needed to do was to pull it free. That didn’t work but I though it probably needed a little force so I put the loop on my finger and pulled harder. Bad idea. Instead of the mess of string neatly disappearing it held fast, knotting up.
At this point I was behind on my music and not thinking clearly, instead of changing to the back up Yo-Yo I had in my bag I decided to carry on and see how it went. Probably not the best idea I’ve ever had, as the knot was only just big enough to fit in the gap of the Yo-Yo and could easily have jammed up entirely, making me look even more foolish.
Thankfully I somehow managed to get through the routine, I’ve no idea how.