I’ve never attended an IJAfest, and have not seen too many championship videos so feel free to disregard my opinions.
I find it not hard to imagine that a diabolo act might fit easier in a classical stage act.
Last summer I worked in a show which lacked some tempo. To improve this I offered to make a fast juggling or a fast diabolo act. I have little skill in diabolo, but decided to go along with that one anyway. The following applies especially to one diabolo play: There are plenty of easy tricks that are visually large, it is easy to look at your audience while performing simple tricks, it is relatively easy to do sudden direction changes and to make large movements or motions on stage.
A similar flashy act with toss juggling would probably have resulted in some form of speed juggling with glittering clubs, which required a lot more from my attention and skill, even though I have thousands of hours more experience with juggling than I have with diabolo.
I’d imagine the “flashy” act I had would do well within the criteria of a stage competition, except perhaps on the “skill” bit. I can imagine since it is relatively easy to make an exciting diabolo act, more performers get incentivized at an earlier age or stage to get their act straight, good costumes and tight choreography, etc.
Young jugglers in circus often get pushed into speed or bounce juggling. Their whole juggling practice is formed around making exciting work, and this will show in their performance attitude as well.
Young jugglers in the convention scene might be more tempted to go for interesting and clever patterns. Even if they find music and a costume to match this, by the point of them doing something original they might not be a perfect match for the “classical” stage championships requirements.
Not only at IJA fest. Last year at Demain, I’m sure you know two diabolo players competed. Guillaume Karpowicz did his amazing original act, unique style, and technical finale and won “just” a special prize. Flashy diabolo player ChihHan Chao performed an exciting act which fitted the mold better, showed a single novel technique, and even though he had some fumbles managed to take home a golden medal, no small feat! But which act would the jugglers like better? Something that fits to the dubstep music, or something that took years of research and dedicated practice?
Ok I’m sidetracking, a lot. I’ll post this here anyway, so that we have something to discuss about. But altogether:
Yes, I believe that classical stage act criteria favor diabolo players, and I believe that the majority of jugglers are not too interested in these classical criteria which might be the source of the frustration against diabolo players.