Increasing Popularity

In 1986, the film Labryinth was released. It was this film that brought contact juggling to the general public. While it wasn’t a success in the box office, it has recently been gaining popularity and has become a cult classic. In Labryinth, David Bowie plays Jareth, the Goblin King. Throughout the film, Jareth demonstrates his magical skill through the manipulation of several clear crystal balls. He rolls them over his hands and arms in some scenes and spins several in the palm of his hand, as you can see in this excerpt from the movie.

Actually, David Bowie did not perform the juggling seen in the movie. With some clever camera work, the juggling was performed by Michael Moschen. In each scene, Moschen stood or crouched behind Bowie and extending his arms beyond Bowie’s body as a stand-in for Bowie’s arms. In all the scenes, Moschen was required to juggle blind, which highlights the amazing skill of this juggling innovator.

In the film’s credits, Moschen is listed as the Crystal Ball Manipulator, as the term contact juggling had not yet been coined. Despite this, the film Labryinth propelled the new form of juggling into the public eye and its popularity begin to grow.