The art of contact juggling has as of now, widespread popularity owing to its mesmerising illusory effects.
It comes under the art of freestyling which includes cardistry, skateboarding, pen spinning etc. All of them require patience and deliberate practice to develop the skills necessary to leave your audience in a daze with your performance.
It involves balancing a clear ball made out of either acrylic of glass on the body as it rolls around, giving the illusion that it is free to move on its own. Its allowed to roll along the arms or spin in one or both palms, presenting the audience with a wide variety of illusions.
What Kind of Effects?
When it is allowed to roll on the arms, it looks like the ball is making an effort to climb on its own. When the user runs his hands across the orb, motioning it to come towards him, the orb responds by remaining in its position. This happens as it rolls along the fingers, and since its transparent, its hard to pick up on what is actually happening, hence the effect. Artists call this effect the “Isolation”.
When spun or simply held in the palm, the ball is made to look as thought it were floating in mid-air. To deepen the effect, the user motions his fingers over and about the orb to make it look like he has let go of it. It has a captivating effect and amazes the audience.
Using multiple orbs casts an entirely different illusion. When both are spun on the palm, it seems as though the two orbs are orbiting each other in harmony. Adding three or more orbs strengthens the overall effect. Keeping one stationary, while the other revolves around it gives us the illusion of a planet orbiting around a star.
Some artists use four or more orbs to mimic the movements of caterpillars, as it dances across the sky. Many try to balance it on their heads and shoulder and allow it to roll along them with such precision that the whole process ends up looking natural.
And probably the most persisting illusion is how the artists make it look so simple, while maintaining perfect poise in their performance, fooling everyone into thinking it is a fairly attainable set of skills. Of course, they will be surprised that it is not once they decide to try it out themselves.
- Mesmerising performances can be put on display
- Overall, its a good exercise as it involves a lot of movement
- A neat set of tricks you could bring to a party
- Ball may develop scratches if not handled properly
- Skills can take a while to pin down
- Coloured versions can be slightly expensive