Performance art exercises for juggling


I like exercised based workshops. It just so happens that in subjects such as theatre or composition many courses are given in this exercise style and therefore there is a lot of material to be inspired by!

Here I collect some of my notes, possibly I might add some more lists in the future.
These notes have been greatly inspired by my little time in a circus school.

For those not familiar with these kind of exercises: You can do these by yourself, experiment and explore to get a wider vocabulary of material. Film yourself, watch it back, find out what works and what not, what you like and what not. But even better, with a group. Play with the same concepts/rules, collaborate, and perform a lot for each other. Give and get feedback, and you’ll become a well rounded performer :smile:

Be welcome to add and comment!


For me, theatre is a lot about relationships. Where you usually might interact with another performer, in juggling you can interact with your props!

Can you make routines about:

Status Who is more important, you or your props?

Initiation Who is following who. Are the props initiating the action, or are you forcing action upon them?

Mood/Personality What happens if your props are happy/dumb/in love? How much can they express themselves without you expressing yourself? Or can you combine your expressions? Go from subtle joyed props to more extreme and extremely happy props, and back.


Again, create routines based on the following concepts. Or like the dancers say, don’t make routines, make phrases

Planes Can you do your juggling on just the frontal plane? On the transverse or sagittal planes? (look them up)

Effort Are your objects heavy or light? Does it take force to move them or do they move by themselves?

Control Do your moves look like you control them? Close to your body and rehearsed? Or free, loose, risky?

Timing Fast, slow, suprise, sustain, rythmical, etc

Space (kinesphere) High juggling, low juggling, props far away, props on the body. Left, right, relative to body.


Stage composition has overlap with many other artforms, such as visual art or dance…
Practice with:

Range Do you juggle in your home (near yourself), garden (pivot around yourself) or world (move around). Move from one to the other

Rest How much non juggling do you combine with your juggling? Start and stop.

Space Can you use the space around you in your juggling? Can you trace lines with balls or recreate patterns with juggling patterns? Emphasise or contrast your environment

Qualities Can you juggle “soft”? “wet”, “sweet”, “cold”, etc. Take inspiration from specific objects, like make a juggling routine that tries to project the qualities of a chair.

Dynamics Can your routine build up? From slow to fast to medium to superfast? Or perhaps with high vs low throws? or easy vs hard tricks?

Ok, that is it for now. I am sure I will come up with more stuff later. Perhaps also in the area of music and acrobatics.