All over the world and since a very long time, people have been practising the art of juggling. It is a physical skill involving the manipulation of objects, e.g. throwing and catching balls in the air. The knack is to use large amounts of objects and to handle them as fast and as often as possible. For a long time juggling was very popular among travelling street artists who performed their tricks on fairs or in inns. Nowadays jugglers can still be seen on street theatre festivals. According to Philip Astley (1742-1814), the first ringmaster, juggling acts were very suitable as interludes between other performances. The jugglers he hired in his circus took turns with horse acts.
In order to find a job, jugglers had to be fine artists and they had to devise an attractive act. For this reason jugglers always tried to surpass themselves and their rivals. In order to reach a higher degree of perfection or to invent an extraordinary act, they needed to practise endlessly day after day. Certain jugglers specialized in heavy objects: they used cannonballs instead of rubber balls. On the other hand, up-tempo jugglers constantly tried to force the pace of their performance.