CirqueClub /// Top 5 Juggling Acts


The year: 1984. The groundbreaking new spectacle: Cirque du Soleil. Amidst the mindboggling array of creative performances, a juggling act. In an instant the ancient art of juggling is thrust back into the spotlight and its fascinating history revived.

Today Cirque du Soleil is proud to juggle back through time with you, featuring a retrospective of the most unforgettable juggling performances of the past thirty years.

Most of us know that ‘juggling’ (technically known as ‘toss juggling’) refers to the art keeping two or more objects up in the air without letting them stop or drop. We’ve seen breathtaking examples of it during Cirque du Soleil performances, but the unique history of juggling carries us back to exotic scenarios from far earlier eras.

The first signs of juggling were discovered on a wall painting in the Egyptian tomb of an unknown prince, between 1994 and 1781 BCE. In the depiction, a group of women can be seen tossing small round objects in the air. (Perhaps this is the true origin of the modern reference to those capable women who are able to successfully ‘juggle’ their career, family, and social life!)

Throughout the next millennia, juggling would continue to pop up intermittently in various parts of the world—from China to Greece, India to England—with some fascinating impacts.

Chinese warriors during the Zhou Dynasty juggled their way out of battle by impressing their enemies with their skills. (Seems they figured out how to toss their differences aside!)

Things got particularly fragile during the Roman Empire, when one Roman’s gravestone proclaimed that he was the first to juggle with glass balls. Had he been born a bit later, during the fall of the Empire, his epitaph may have read differently—it’s during this time that juggling became viewed as a witchcraft-like art, banished to the streets where jugglers would perform for pocket change. Little did they know that on the cusp of the next millennium Cirque du Soleil’s founder, Guy Laliberté, would follow directly in their footsteps with his fire-eating feats!

Not until the creation of the first modern circus in the 1700s did jugglers begin to regain their star-like status. They became staple acts of vaudeville and variety shows, forcing them to hone their skills and develop specialties as they tried to out-toss, and thus toss out, the competition!

We can see the results today in the breathtaking juggling acts that punctuate many Cirque du Soleil performances. From an ancient tool of war to a modern-day art of wonder and delight, juggling has become a highlight for circus-goers around the world. What it will become over the next centuries is still up in the air!

{ SOURCE: CirqueClub | }