close× Call Us: 07792 012395

All the way from Astrojax to Yo-yo (so not quite A to Z, but if you can think of any more prop definitions or something wonderful that begins with the letter “Z”, please fill in the comment form at the bottom of this page! The Juggling glossary contains a little description for each of these wonderful props, and also some useful links to my Tricks Pages and also a link to my Shop, if it is an item I currently sell (UK only) where you can buy them. Enjoy!

This Juggling glossary contains simple descriptions of props you are likely to find if you attend a Juggling / Circus Skills Workshop as well as some Skills Toys you may have used in your childhood!  Juggling in a general sense can refer to all forms of object manipulation such as diabolo, devilsticks, spinning plates etc, so it is more than just the art of throwing multiple objects in the air at the same time!

Astrojax

Astrojax – A toy that contains 3 balls on a string. One ball is fixed to each end of the string and the middle ball is free to slide between the two end balls. This skill toy allows you to do a combination of juggling, yo-yo and lasso tricks. It was invented in 1987.

Astrojax Tricks Page : Astrojax Products

Walking/Balancing Ladder

Balancing an Object – The secret to balancing any object is to watch the tip of it. The bottom part of the object tells you absolutely nothing about which way it is going to fall, so ignore it! Picture on the left shows 3 Jugglers balancing a club with a pint of Guinness on top (taken at EJC – Co. Cork).

Balancing Objects Info Page  :  Balancing Ladder Tricks page

How many balls are you ready to learn to Juggle?!

Ball Juggling -The most common form of juggling is taking 3 balls and learning a pattern called “the Cascade”.

How to Juggle : Juggling Ball Products

Bar Flair - Flairco Bottles and Shaker

Bar Flair – The practice of bartenders entertaining their guests while mixing drinks (such as cocktails) using bottles, cocktail shakers etc.  Flair can include juggling and flipping the bottles, catching in the shaker cups etc. This skill became popular when seen on the 1988 film  “Cocktail” starring Tom Cruise and on Britain’s Got Talent where the Bar Wizards made it all the way to the Grand Final in 2007.

Bar Flair Tricks Page

Beach Flingo in action! Find out more by clicking on the link

Beach Flingo – A game where you pass a small ball between yourself and a partner using a bib that is made of trampoline type fabric. Very addictive and you can use these bibs to play volleyball or for a massive group game of keepy-uppy’s!

Beach Flingo Tricks Page

Oddballs Bouncing Balls

Bounce (Floor) Juggling – The art of bouncing balls off the floor in various juggling patterns.

Bouncing Balls Tricks :  Bouncing Balls Products

Catch-it Cone

Catch-it Cones –   This is a toy that many of us would have played with in the 1980’s! As seen on the animation on the left, you click the trigger which propels a ball high in the air, then you catch it in the plastic cone.

Catch-it Cone Tricks Page

Cigar Box (single)

Cigar Box Manipulation – Three rectangular shaped boxes which resemble cigar boxes but are much more solid. They are usually padded at the edges with a felt-like material. The basic tricks involve holding the two outer boxes, trapping one box in the middle (known as the home position) and then manipulating the middle box in various directions. W. C. Fields popularised this prop, and it gained popularity in the UK when Kris Kremo performed expertly with them on TV’s The Generation Game Christmas Special in 1993.

Cigar Box Products : Cigar Box Products

clubs-anim

Club – One of the main juggling props. It consists of a handle and a body. You throw from the handle so that the club completes one or more spins before you catch by the handle once again. Referred to as  pins  or skittles by our American buddies or  torches if they are set alight!

Club Juggling Tricks : Juggling Club Products

Flare One Piece Deluxe Euro Club

Club Rolling – When you roll a club on the floor, it will roll in a perfect circle. This allows many fantastic and interesting patterns to be created with 3 or 6 clubs.

Club Rolling Tricks : Juggling Club Products

Juggling Clubs

Club Swinging – The swinging of two clubs around the body, arms and legs. This is a form of Contact Juggling as the props stay in contact with the performer at all times.

Juggling Club Products

Ewan Colsell demonstrating Contact Juggling

Contact Juggling– a form of object manipulation where one or more objects stay in contact with the body (hands, feet etc) at all times. The most common form of contact juggling is using a ball (usually an acrylic or stage ball). This was made popular in the film Labyrinth. Other props you can contact juggle with include Poi Spinning, Club Swinging & Pen Spinning.

Contact Juggling Tricks

Yoho Flowerstick/Spinstix in action

Devilstick (also known as devil stick, rhythm sticks, lunastix etc) – This consists of 2 handsticks (coated in rubber/silicone) and a larger stick in the middle which is manipulated in hundreds of different ways. Flowersticks have tassles on the end which allow it to move a bit slower in the air (making tricks easier to learn).

Devilstick Tricks : Devilstick Products

Funtrix Diabolo

Diabolo – A large hourglass shaped object which can be spun and caught on a string between two handsticks. The name is derived from a Greek verb meaning ‘to throw across’. Multiple diabolo’s can be spun on a string, and the possibilities for this prop keep on expanding every year with new people pushing the boundaries!

Diabolo Tricks : Diabolo Products


Feather Balancing – One of the easiest objects to balance as they move so slowly in the air. Peacock and Ostrich feathers are ideal.Try balancing on your hand, finger, chin, nose etc.

Balancing Objects Info Page

Fire Accessories

Fire Juggler/Juggling – Many of the Circus Skills props featured in this glossary have versions with wicks you can soak in fuel (such as paraffin) and light on fire. The main fire props include Fire Poi, Fire Staff,Fire Devilstick, Fire Diabolo, Fire Clubs and even Fire Balls (you may need kevlar gloves to be able to juggle these)

Steve the Fire Juggler for Hire
UnicyclesGiraffe – Tall unicycle (usually between 5-6ft) where the pedals & wheel are connected by a chain. It can actually be easier to ride than a normal sized Unicycle as long as you aren’t scared of heights!

Unicycle Tricks  : Juggling on a Unicycle Tricks page

Glow (Devilstick)

Glow Juggler/Juggling – Many of the Circus Skills props featured in this glossary have versions which you can light up. The more expensive glow props will even let you programme light sequences! Most common glow props include Glow Poi, Glow Balls, Glow Diabolo, Glow Devilstick, Glow Rings, Glow Clubs & Glow Staff.

Steve the Glow Juggler for Hire


 

STA60469

Hat Manipulation/Juggling – Throwing and catching one or more hats using hands, feet, body and head. Tricks usually finish with the hat being thrown or placed back on the performers head.

Jitter Ring aka Gyro-Ring

Jitter-Ring / Gyro Ring – The Jitter ring is really just 5 little tops of slightly unusual design which are strung onto a metal ring so that they can freely spin. The discs can spin up to 1000 rpm! Makes a very pleasing rattling spinning noise.

Jitter-Ring Tricks Page

sunrise-kendama

Kendama – Traditional Japanese toy which consists of a ball on a string, a spike and several different sized cups. It bears some resemblance to the classic cup and ball game but is much more difficult!

Magic Tricks (book with deck of cards)

Magic – A whole genre of skills where you could make things appear and disappear and baffle your audience so that they don’t have a clue how you did it! Most famous Magician in the UK during the 1980-90’s was Paul Daniels. My current favourites are Pete Firman and Penn & Teller.

How to Use Magic in your Juggling Act  :  Magic Products

How many balls are you ready to learn to Juggle?!

Numbers Juggling – The quest to learn to juggle more than 3 objects such as balls, rings and clubs.

Number Juggling (a Guide to Juggling 3+ objects) Article

Oidz - can you make the noise?!

Oidz / Powerbuzz Magnets / Magnetic Sizzlers

This prop is basically 2 very strong oblong magnets that create the ‘oidz noize’ when they collide in mid-air! Oidz are made from a naturally occurring metal called hematite (which is a type of Iron Oxide) which is highly polished and magnetised.

Oidz Tricks Page

DSCN0804

Parasol – The rolling of an object such as a ball, coin, juggling ring or box on an Oriental parasol (which looks like a very delicate umbrella).

Pedal Racer

Pedal Racers / Fun Wheels – Fun toys with wheels that are great for learning balance.

Pen Spinning

Pen Spinning – If you have ever been bored at work/school & started turning a pen (or pencil) between your fingers, then you have been pen spinning! Lots of skilful tricks can be learned. This is a form of contact juggling, as the object stays in contact with your body at all times. This is bizarrely the most visited page on my website!

Pen Spinning Tricks Page


Plate Manipulation– the manipulation of plates all around the body with hands, arms, feet and body.

Steve the Plate Spinner! Photo courtesy of NorthantsNews. No resale.

Plate Spinning – The art of spinning a plate (or bowl) on a stick (or pole).

How to Spin a Plate : Plate Spinning Products

poi_anim

Poi Spinning – Poi is a weighted object (such as a ball or beanbag) suspended from a rope or chain. You hold the other end of the rope/chain and can swing the poi in many different directions. This originates from the Maori people of New Zealand where  poi simply means ball.

How to Spin Poi : Poi Spinning Products

Steve juggling rings back in the days when he still had a full head of hair!

Rings (Juggling) – Flat circles of Plastic with a hole in the middle. A common item to juggle with and is considered easier than club juggling when it comes to learning with more than 3 as the rings are so thin that they are less likely to collide with each other and they are easier to stack/hold in your hands.

How to Juggle Rings  :  Buy Juggling Rings

Rola-Bola / Teeter Board

Rola Bola (aka Balance Board, teeter board, bongo board, rolla-bolla etc) – This consists of a round tube (such as a PVC pipe) and a board that is strong enough to hold your weight when placed on top of the tube for you to balance on. It is like a one man see-saw! Once you master the basics, then you can learn to juggle on top of the rola-bola to add a bit of danger and excitement to your performance!

Rola-Bola Tricks Page

Juggling Scarfs come in lots of different bright colours

Scarves (Juggling) – A square of fabric (such as chiffon). This can be the ideal way for a child/beginner to learn the basic tricks if they are having problems learning using juggling balls. This is because the scarves float gently in the air, and you have more time to put your hands in the right place to catch them (and you can catch any part of the scarf)! Simple tricks include blowing the scarf back up in the air, letting the scarf land gently over your head!

How to Juggle Scarfs  :  Buy Juggling Scarves

Shaker Cups

Shaker Cups – Shaker cups are also called nesting cups, as they are cups that are designed in such a way so as you can catch (nest) them inside each other. They are designed in such a way as not to stick or wedge themselves together when caught, so the inside cup is ready for release again. This is possibly the noisiest prop in a jugglers performance bag, as they are made from metal and make a huge noise when they clatter together!

Shaker Cups Tricks Page

Cup Stacking Challenge

Speedcups (aka Flashcups) – 12 brightly coloured cups which can be stacked in a variety of different patterns and sequences. There are Sport Stacking competitions where people compete against the clock or another person. The patterns are usually with pyramids of 3, 6 or 10 cups.

Buy Speedcups / Flashcups

a very happy Toothbrush Twirling Chief Executive!

Toothbrush Twirling – Using a rubber/silicone devilstick handstick, you can hang the toothbrush from the stick and twirl it round. You can use multiple toothbrushes on one stick and have a stick in each hand. A fantastic & extremely silly activity that is a great warm-up at the beginning of a Circus Skills workshop. A toothbrush with an angled head is best! Toothbrush can also be spun on the finger, but it is best to wet your finger and the toothbrush first to give it a bit extra grip!

The Ancient Art of Toothbrush Twirling (tricks page)!  :  Buy Silicone Devilstick Handsticks

thumb-unicycle-ewan

Unicycle – Looks like a bike but with only one wheel and no handlebars! Most likely heckle if you are riding a unicycle will be  “where’s the other wheel”. You can always reply  “it’s on back order” unless you are two tyred of such puns!

Unicycle Tricks  : Juggling on a Unicycle Tricks page
Walking/Balancing LadderWalking/Balancing Ladder – An extra wide ladder which you can balance on, and then learn to walk along the ground moving the feet of the ladder (one step at a time)! You can also balance on the top rung (one leg at each side of the ladder) and start juggling while walking along.

Walking Ladder Tricks Page

voltige_walking_globe_thumb

Walking Globe – Large ball that a performer balances on top of. Various gymnastic and juggling stunts can be performed while the ball is kept moving. You have to walk backwards to roll the ball forwards!

Yo-yo

Yo-yo – Pocket-size toy that consists of a length of string attached to a flat spool. The spool moves up and down the string allowing you to attempt several well known tricks such as  walking the dog and cat’s cradle. The yo-yo has been around since the time of the Ancient Greeks.

Yo-yo Tricks page  :  Yo-Yo Products

 

So there you go. As complete a list from Astrojax to Yo-yo of all the Circus Skills and Juggling Props I can think of. If you know of any more, feel free to leave a comment on the bottom of this page and I can add it ASAP!

 

Why not hire Steve the Juggler to teach you some of these skills?
Circus Skills Workshop page

You might also enjoy reading about the Physical, Social and Educational
Benefits of Juggling and Circus Skills

Print Friendly, PDF & Email