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. Ingalese’s manuscript provides an interesting look at the state of juggling pedagogy in Britain’s music hall era. Annotations by juggler and circus researcher Thom Wall bring insight and context to Ingalese’s descriptions and instructions.

Rupert Ingalese, with annotations by Thom Wall

ISBN – 978-1733971201

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Body Talk – Basic Mime

Body Talk: Basic Mime covers the fundamental skills of mime in an easily accessible workbook format. Diamond brings over 40 years of teaching and performance experience to Body Talk, which includes rich photography illustrating various mime techniques.

“[Body Talk: Basic Mime] should be required reading for any theater participant looking to incorporate elements of mime into their routines.” – Midwest Book Review

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 participants, 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. Find more info about the project below.
Compiled by Lucy Little

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Pottery in Motion

British juggler Sam Veale’s Pottery in Motion is the first of its kind – a straightforward book that provides aspiring plate spinners both the specifics of the props (such as plates, sticks, and rack) and comprehensive instruction on the skill of plate spinning itself. This small but detail-packed guide appeals to individuals looking to learn plate spinning and provides the knowledge to take it to a performance-ready level, just add practice.
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 teaches learners of all ages how to juggle – one of the world’s oldest artforms. With a kind demeanor, humor, and enthusiasm, this authoritative manual explains the process of juggling through four different modalities, bolstered by the latest physical education research.

Juggling is an accessible primer that a middle-schooler can hit the ground running with, or that families can enjoy together. The result of six years of work by 2021 International Jugglers’ Association Excellence in Education award winner and former Cirque du Soleil juggler Thom Wall and featuring guest chapters by some of today’s juggling masters, Juggling provides a wealth of content for even the most serious adult learner.

Thom Wall
ISBN – 978-1-7339712-5-6

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Contortion and Practices of Body Flexibility in East Asia: Mongolia, China, Japan

Contains the monographs: China’s Bending Bodies: Contortionists and Politics in China; Mongolian Contortion: An Ethnographic Inquiry; and The Kakubei Jishi: The Rise, Fall, and Restoration of a Japanese Folk Performing Art.

This compendium comprises three individual research studies that examine contortion and practices of body flexibility in East Asia, namely China, Mongolia and Japan. It explores the performance art forms Chinese contortion, Mongolian contortion and the Kakubei Jishi lion dance of the Niigata prefecture in Japan which utilizes body flexibility. Common points of discussion in these research studies are the investigation of the history and genesis of these art forms and how they developed in various political and social dynamics. This work further offers vast knowledge about crucial elements such as the artist’s training processes, their training environment, the development of aesthetics, symbolism in costuming and body movements, religious themes, mythology and natural phenomena, and costume designs. This compendium includes data from a wide range of literature, material evidence, oral history, current media reports, and considers recent work in anthropology, archaeology, and political history. It, therefore, offers the interested reader, the scholar, the contortionist and contortion practitioner a substantial treatise about contortionism and practices of body flexibility.

ISBN- 978-1-958604-04-5

By Mariam Ala-Rashi

Edited by Thom Wall

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

In a society that places an increasing value in ethnic diversity and cultural identity, the contribution that performers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds made to the development of the circus in the nineteenth century is often dismissed and largely forgotten. Using contemporary records and images, Artistes of Colour explores the wealth and depth of talented black and other performers of colour, and the contribution they made to the success of the nineteenth century circus. Ward draws iconic figures from the margins of history and gives them the recognition they deserve, illustrating what the BBC calls “a field of study that has been overlooked far too long.”

ISBN 978-1-7339712-7-0

By Steve Ward, PhD

Edited by Helen Gould and Thom Wall

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Circus Training Journal

What’s measured is managed! The Circus Training Journal is the result of a year of collaboration between Thom Wall and Rebecca Starr, head aerial coach at Circadium: School of Contemporary Circus. This undated journal, which spans three months of daily training, tracks workouts, nutrition, goal-setting, and more. Heavyweight groundwood paper optimized for ballpoint and pencil.

By Thom Wall and Rebecca Starr

Consulting editor: Sarah Baker

ISBN: 978-1-7339712-9-4

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The ABC Tour

Ever felt like a challenge? For juggler and comedian, Jon Udry, the ABC Tour — 26 letters, 26 shows — seems the perfect way to shake things up.

What started as a silly idea he believed would take two to three months to complete, ended up being a mammoth three year project that included some of the toughest, most brutal and most enjoyable performances of his life. From attempting to juggle while wearing roller skates and the unexpected discoveries of performing at a Naturist’s Resort, to the challenges that came with working in rainforest conditions covered in ants or in snowy conditions at -10°C, Jon tells the full story from A to Z.

By Jon Udry

Layout and Design by Ben McCabe

ISBN – 978-0-578-41085-2


The Contemporary Circus Handbook

The Contemporary Circus Handbook: A Guide to Creating, Funding, Producing, Organizing and Touring for the 21st Century is a guide to creating theatrical performance shows, built on interviews with dozens of creators who have made shows—big and small—throughout their careers. The author’s circus background is used as an example of practical steps for any performing artist to navigate: from applying for funding, building a team, planning workshops and residencies, and includes many compelling examples of the characteristics of successful shows. These lessons are applicable to circus, dance and theater as well as most performing arts.

Whether it’s your first foray into creating your own major endeavor—or you’ve got a couple of creations under your belt—you’re sure to find advice to improve your process and bring your dream show to life.

By Eric Bates

Edited by Kim Campbell & Thom Wall

ISBN –978-1-958604-03-8


Opulence & Ostentation: Building the Circus

Since the foundation of the ‘modern’ circus in the eighteenth century, the circus has been presented in defined spaces. Initially, performances were given in the open air and, over a period of time, these spaces first became enclosed and then later roofed. Temporary wooden structures often became semi-permanent until, in the nineteenth century, many permanent stone-built buildings were erected solely for the purpose of presenting circus. This phenomenon spread from the UK across Europe and beyond, creating a style of circus architecture that has never been repeated. The purpose of this book is to examine what caused these buildings to be constructed and their design and architecture. Examples of key structures will be explored in detail, some of them still surviving today and still being used for circus performances. The book will also look at the developments of contemporary circus architecture and raise questions as to the future of the circus building.

By Steve Ward

Edited by Thom Wall

ISBN – 978-1-958604-02-1