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Juggling

Updated on December 01, 2016
Photo by Dani Simmonds
Photo by Dani Simmonds

Juggling is the art of throwing up and catching and keeping in movement a number of objects at the same time. 'Juggler' is the English form of the Latin joculator (jester), whilst jongleur, which was used in the Middle Ages of a strolling singer or minstrel, is the French equivalent.

The Greeks and Romans were no strangers to sleight of hand, and among the latter the so-called acetabularii performed wonderful tricks with tiny pebbles, whilst ventilatores (knife-throwers) and pilarii (ballplayers) were professional entertainers in imperial days. Massenet's pathetic opera, Le Jongleur de Notre Dame, gives an idyllic picture of a wandering juggler in the great monastic days. Jugglers today may juggle with balls—it is quite a feat to keep more than five in the air at the same time, or with plates, Rastelli used to keep ten plates up at once, or with indian clubs, top hats, umbrellas, cigar boxes—the list is endless. Cinquevalli, perhaps the most famous juggler of all time, kept up a tea-pot, a cup, a saucer and a lump of sugar. Rudy Horn juggles on a unicycle, and others have performed on horseback or on a wire.

How to Juggle

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