Contact Juggling - Contact Juggling (also known as Dynamic Manipulation, Sphereplay, Orb Rolling, etc) is a relatively new form of juggling where balls are rolled over the hands and body instead of tossing them in the air. Source: ContactJuggling.Org
Have you ever met someone in a chance encounter and couldn’t wait to see her again? You know, like when you find out that you have something in common with someone that is so rare that you never expect to find another person who shares your unique talent? Nelly and I were in Moorhead’s Gooseberry Park in mid-June when I glanced to my right and saw that the gods of coincidence had smiled upon me yet again. Not ten feet away was something I had never before seen in the flesh, a fellow contact juggler. Nelly noticed my excitement and whispered “go”, in response to my nonverbal query.
“I’m a contact juggler, too,” I declared by way of introduction. We exchanged meaningful glances and wordlessly walked to his equipment bag full of juggling kit and caboodle.
Nelly and Baby Boots looked on as Ashraf and I showed our stuff to ascertain where we stood on the juggler’s continuum. There are always two, a master and an apprentice, and it was clear that I would be the apprentice. My cup ranneth over, my heart sung with delight, and for the first time in my limited experience of juggling in public we had begun to attract a crowd.
Families looked on from the playground, small children stared, and that magical demographic came right up and joined us, the Junior High Kids. The Junior High Kid retains the natural curiosity of the child combined with the boldness of an adult. In addition, the Junior High Kid has not yet been robbed of her sense of wonder, though the jaded teenager who waits in the wings may grow to fear rejection, peer judgment, and not being the coolest one in the room.
They practiced with us, and we passed on knowledge and encouragement while exchanging information regarding the local contact juggling community. As far as we could tell, it was us.
Ashraf described his run-ins with the police and local media last year while contact juggling in downtown Fargo, and I emphasized over and again that I am out running around town with Baby Boots nearly every day and that I couldn’t wait to meet up again to absorb new tricks and share in the joy of rolling translucent spheres on one’s hands, arms, and body.
After an immeasurable amount of time spent juggling around my permanent grin, Nelly reminded me that we should probably get home to begin the baby bedtime process. I gave Ashraf my information and made sure he understood that I would be awaiting his call in the near future.
Where are you, my almost friend?
Baby Boots is my apprentice, as we juggle our way through the Fargo and Moorhead park districts, but I am hungry to learn more, to know a master who will bring me to the next level, who will teach me the art of palmspinning and will prove to me once and for all that manipulating objects is more worthy than manipulating people. If you’re out there, call me.
-Jilted Juggler in Moorhead, Minn.
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