Juggling Shapes

Juggling is a largely mathematical exercise. The height, trajectory or arc of a throw, and the speed at which a ball will fall, can all be described using physics. (Not by me, but I’m sure a physicist wouldn’t have any trouble doing it!) Siteswap, a juggling notation, also describes juggling patterns in a very mathematical way, with the average of the sequence equalling the number of balls juggled in the pattern.

Over the years various jugglers have taken this mathematical aspect of juggling and extended it to include geometry with, most famously perhaps, Michael Moschen’s Juggling Triangle.

Michael Moschen’s Triangle

Moschen’s Triangle, first seen in the 1970s, is one of the most elegant juggling shapes and has been emulated ever since.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Cirque du Soleil’s Totem, in which Greg Kennedy (as a Darwinesque scientist) juggles in a cone. I’ve known of Greg’s cone routine for some time, I know his wife (who runs the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts) and I met Greg briefly for the first time last year when he was in London but I’d never seen him perform his cone routine live before.

Greg Kennedy’s Cone

Seeing someone stand and juggle inside a giant cone made me think of Michael Moschen’s Triangle and also made me think about Sean Gandini’s Cube which I’ve had the pleasure of juggling inside of several times.

It got me wondering whether other shapes had been tried. I didn’t know that Greg had been trying various geometric shapes for years.

Greg Kennedy’s Square

Greg Kennedy’s Orthogonal

… which I think is one of the most intersting shapes I’ve seen.

Of course none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the advent of the bouncing ball. And again, science and juggling come together.

Do you know of other juggling routines using geometric shapes? Let me know below.

You can follow me on Twitter if you fancy.

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