Contact juggling is a style of physical object manipulation that focuses on the actual motion of objects, including balls in contact with your body. While often utilized in conjunction with "ball contact" moves, it's different in that it involves the rolling around of one or more balls without letting them come into contact with your body. While the primary goal of this performance style is to keep you moving without your hands, contact juggling also includes the ability to shift your balance and body position so that you're never totally stationary. In this way, it is slightly different than floor work but very similar to other forms of juggling such as figure skating and jazz.
While you will find most of your primary contact juggling moves mapped out for you on a dance floor, the specific positions and maneuvers tend to be more flexible. One common mistake when performing this style of the move is not rotating the upper body at all. To achieve the same result as a traditional floor work style, it is important to make sure you don't simply rotate your shoulders or arms. It is important to have a full rotation of the upper body to keep the spinning motion going.
Contact juggling is similar to ballroom dancing in that the main goal is to create a continuous arc or circle of movement using the body itself as the source of energy. This style of dancing is often called acrobatics because of the constant changes of direction you require for each routine. It's important to remember that acrobatics is all about maneuvering the body, not the equipment. The equipment allows you to obtain the necessary speed and distance that you need for that moment. To develop your flair for acrobatics, try training with one of the many acrylic balls on the market.
Acrylic balls are made from the same material as plastic, but instead of being two-sided, they are a two-part system. These balls have several layers of colored plastic that are connected. You place the ball you're practicing with inside the palm of your hand and use your thumb and index fingers to roll the ball forward while keeping the rest of your fingers on the ball's outer surface. When you feel comfortable with the way the ball moves, try switching between spinning and palm spinning the ball. Remember that to achieve a smooth rotation; you will need to keep your body in the primary position.
If you are a new contact jugger, you may be intimidated by many balls on sale today. You can easily overcome this feeling by starting with only one ball contact. Once you have learned the basics and have built up your stamina, you can add more balls. However, remember that one ball contact juggling is the foundation for most styles.
Stage Balls: Stage balls are not as stable or smooth as acrylic balls, but they do not have the bounce associated with them. This makes them great for children who are still learning the basics of ball handling. Children may find starting with a few stage balls proper, especially if you have extra ones lying around the house. For juggling, stage balls are less stable because their center of gravity is lower than acrylic balls, which means they will travel flatter. If you are going to start stage balling, think about whether or not you would like to increase your stability as you go along.
Palm Spinning Balls: For many people, the sound of palm spinning is inspiring. These types of balls are great for both contact juggling and palm spinning. There is not a lot of variation between brands and models. Palm spinning tends to have more stability than all the other balls we have discussed so far. If you enjoy the sound of a popping pocket, then this could be an excellent choice for you.
There are a lot of options for contact jugglers to choose from. As we said above, there are some brands and models that are better than others. It's usually a good idea to spend some time experimenting with different brands and models until you find one that you enjoy. Remember that whatever you choose, make sure you practice it before using it for a competition. Contact jugglers who can juggle multiple balls at once are impressive, so don't take anything for granted. Juggle at your skill level and not your ability level!