Juggling combines object manipulation with body movements. It requires tossing, balancing, leaping, and contortion techniques, as well as spatial skills. Generally speaking, the more extreme the move, the more popular it is with audiences.
Juggling got its start in the Middle Ages as a type of street show in which performers sang, danced, did tricks, and told jokes. By the middle of the 18th century, juggling had become a profession, and jugglers had begun working for circuses. In the 19th century, they also began performing in the then-popular musical theaters, doing routines between acts. By the mid 20th century, the popularity of new media such as television and film was making it more difficult for professional jugglers to earn a living.
At the same time, people living in wealthy societies tend to yearn for adventure, with the result that the number of amateur jugglers has risen sharply in the last 50 years. In the United States and Europe, juggling has its own stable subculture, with magazines, competitions, celebrations, and online chatrooms. In the West, juggling is believed to improve health, concentration, and hand-eye coordination, and to encourage social interactions. Over the last 30 years, the revival of the circuses and the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of the performance arts have provided jugglers with greater access to resources and better career prospects.