This article is from the Juggling FAQ, by Juggling Information Service firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
"Contact" Juggling is the art manipulating balls so that they roll
across, around, and over your body. In other words, the balls
always remain in contact with your body. Although the term
"contact juggling" is relatively new, rolling a ball across, around
and over one's body is not. Paul Cinquevalli, for instance, a
juggler at the turn of the century, performed a routine where he
wore a green felt jacket that had billiard "pockets" sewn onto it.
He would manipulate billiard balls over his body and land them in
Today, Michael Moschen is the preeminent "contact" juggler. He has
a routine where he manipulates up to four crystal balls in each
hand and gradually lets each ball go until he is manipulating only
one ball. Mr. Moschen is also known for his work in the movie
Labyrinth where he acted as the hands of David Bowie doing his
crystal ball routine (he did the routine blind and with the aid of
a monitor. Mr. Moschen was featured on the PBS Series "Great
Performances" in the early 1990's. This video is entitled "In
Motion with Michael Moschen" and is available from Serious Juggling
and Brian Dube (see vendor information below). More recently, Mr.
Moschen developed a piece for Cirque de Soleil. Mr. Steve Ragatz,
rec.juggler, performs in this piece.
James Ernest wrote "Contact Juggling," and thereby coined the term.
(Moschen prefers "Dynamic Manipulation.") Ernest's book remains the
definitive analysis and explanation of contact juggling, and is also
available from Serious Juggling and Brian Dube. The book is quite
controversial among traditionalists, who maintain that only
Mr. Moschen has the right to perform or write about Dynamic
Manipulation. Mr. Moschen himself seems to have been the first
person to make this claim.
Some individuals also claim that the book takes one of Moschen's
routines and describes it movement for movement without giving
proper credit. Others claim that this is not true. It is
interesting to note that those who make the first claim are almost
never practitioners of contact juggling, and those who make the
second claim invariably are.
Mr. Moschen created quite a stir in 1992 when he objected to the
publication of a review of this book in Juggler's World after the
IJA had invited Moschen to be the honored guest at the '92 festival
in Montreal. Moschen at first refused to attend the festival.
After some reconsideration, he did attend and gave a workshop on