about the diabolo

Reflections about the diabolo

The form of the diabolo has its origins in a ball, a circle in some way. When a ball is cut in two symmetrical halves that are put together again in the reversed sense one obtains a form that reminds of an hourglass: a diabolo.
A juggler “juggles” his objects but it’s said that one “plays” the diabolo. This can be explained by the fact that for a long time the diabolo has been considered a toy, a parlour game which has been played over centuries by children as much as by adults, first in China and later also in Europe. Recently though one can discover the diabolo in traditional circus programs or in variety shows, but the nature of these venues demands a presentation in form of an act based on a spectacular performance.

Our wish is to go beyond these limits and to find possibilities to also work in other contexts.

On one hand we try to integrate our theatrical roots and search for an inner logic (or dramaturgy) in our act or our shows respectively. We want to create a certain intensity and a relation between us and the objects that is not like in theatre based on characters or a story though. There we would have to ask ourselves: how is this character and how and why would he play the diabolo? The character would become more important than the juggling. So we simply reverse this principle and suddenly, without defining them in advance, the characters emerge as if the context would reveal them. The relation to our objects develops through movement and different dynamics, through the space, the rhythm and the way we manipulate them. We do not tell a concrete story though, it’s rather like a dance, a calligraphy in the space full of images and emotions.

On the other hand we analyse the physical characteristics of the diabolo. This way of reflecting lets us discover other possibilities of how to use it and leads us to related objects that also work through the rotation like for example a spinning top.
Then we pass on to the question: how could we develop a diabolo that would work like a spinning top and in what way could we use the gyroscope effect? We put theory into practice, try out, construct, give up, reconstruct and finally build these very specific diabolos that were born in our fantasy.
The result of this research is that we can play the diabolo far beyond the traditional way. The different technical inventions allow to fluently move the object between the vertical and horizontal plane and to use the entire space around the juggling person. The space opens up, the vocabulary diversifies.