Juggling – From Antiquity to the Middle Ages

As with dance, so with juggling—the moment that the performer finishes the routine, their act ceases to exist beyond the memory of the audience. There is no permanent record of what transpired, so studying the ancient roots of juggling is fraught with difficulty. Using the records that do exist, juggling appears to have emerged around the world in cultures independent of one another in the ancient past. Paintings in Egypt from 2000 BCE show jugglers engaged in performance. Stories from the island nation of Tonga place juggling’s creation with their goddess of the underworld—a figure who has guarded a cave since time immemorial. Juggling games and rituals are pervasive in isolated Inuit cultures in northern Canada and Greenland. Though the earliest representation of juggling is 4,000 years old, the practice is surely much older—in the same way that humans were doubtlessly singing and dancing long before the first bone flute was created.

This book is an attempt to catalogue this tangible history of juggling in human culture. It is the story of juggling, represented in art and writing from around the world, across time. Although much has been written about modern jugglers–specific performers, their props, and their routines–little has been said about those who first developed the craft. As juggling enters a golden age in the internet era, Juggling: From Antiquity to the Middle Ages offers a look into the past—to the origins of our art form.

Thom Wall

ISBN – 978-0578410845

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Tambien disponible en Espanol!

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Juggling – or – How to Become a Juggler (annotated edition)

The fully annotated edition of Rupert Ingalese’s 1921 “how to juggle” manual.  This book covers basic juggling technique, tricks with hats and canes, practice methodology, and more.  It’s an interesting look at the state of juggling pedagogy in Britain’s music hall era.

Rupert Ingalese, with annotations by Thom Wall

ISBN – 978-1733971201

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Body Talk – Basic Mime

Body Talk–Basic Mime covers the basics of mime in a workbook format that can easily be accessed by professionals and drama students interested in learning more about body movement and language. It should be required reading for any theater participant looking to incorporate elements of mime into their routines.

Mario Diamond

ISBN – 978-1733971218

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Circus Games

With over 100 games organized for optimal use in cooperative movement based settings, this is a must have for every circus school, teaching artist, and arts education program! Games are organized by age, number of participant, energy level, and social/emotional learning outcome, and also includes special notes for working with a variety of populations that may require adaptation or modifications to each game.
Compiled by Lucy Little

Exclusively Available at the AYCO Web Store

Pottery in Motion

Judging by the books already available with the words “Plate Spinning” in the title, there is a good chance that you picked this up because you are a working parent trying to balance your home life with a busy career. If so, I can’t help you. This book deals with plate spinning in the strictly literal sense. Unless you are interested in spinning ceramic plates on sticks, I won’t waste any more of your precious time, save to say, best of luck with the kids and the job.If you are actually interested in spinning actual plates on actual sticks, then this is the book for you (but if you end up struggling to balance your home life with your busy career as a plate spinner, then don’t say I didn’t warn you).
Sam Veale
ISBN – 978-1733971232

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Juggling: What It Is and How to Do It

Juggling: What It Is and How to Do It is the result of six years of work by former Cirque du Soleil juggler Thom Wall. This book teaches learners of all ages how to juggle – one of the world’s oldest artforms. With a kind demeanor, humor, and enthusiasm, Wall explains the process of juggling through four different modalities, bolstered by the latest physical education research.

In a moment where people are spending more time at home, pursuing new hobbies and skills, Juggling is a timely and accessible primer that a middle-schooler can hit the ground running with, or that families can enjoy together. But make no mistake, this book isn’t child’s play. With guest chapters by some of today’s modern juggling masters, Juggling provides a wealth of content to span years of study for even the most serious adult learner.

Thom Wall
ISBN – 978-1-7339712-5-6

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Mongolian Contortion: an ethnography inquiry

This ethnographic research proposes an introduction to the performance art form Mongolian contortion by examining its theories and functions before and after the establishment of the Mongolian State Circus in 1941.

Through qualitative research methods it further investigates different repercussions that lead to the transformation and decline of Traditional Mongolian Contortion in Mongolia and the West in recent years. By examining the genesis and history of body flexibility prior to the establishment of the Mongolian State Circus, it explores parallels between Mongolian folk dance and folk acrobatics and the establishment of Mongolian contortion as the international “brand” we know today. It discusses the categorization of different styles within Mongolian contortion, discovers the development of aesthetics and how religious symbolism is incorporated in contortion performances.

Lastly, it examines the numerous challenges contortionists with traditional aesthetics and presentations, a style referred to in this paper as Traditional Mongolian Contortion, face and proposes solutions for the safeguarding of this art form.

Mariam Ala-Rashi

Monograph / no ISBN

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Artistes of Colour: ethnic diversity and representation in the Victorian Circus

We live in a society that places an increasing value in ethnic diversity and cultural identity. However, the contribution that performers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds made to the development of the circus in the nineteenth century is very often overlooked and largely forgotten. Pablo Fanque and Miss La La may be notable names of the period but there were many others besides. Using contemporary records and images, this book explores the wealth and depth of talented black and other ethnic performers, and the contribution they made to the success of the nineteenth century circus. These are iconic figures who should be drawn in from the margins of history and given the recognition they deserve.

Steve Ward, PhD
ISBN 978-1-7339712-7-0

Release: February 2021